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Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve 1860-1865

1860 NEW YEAR'S EVE 1865
as recorded by
James Madison Hall

Monday Dec. 31st 1860. Still in Galveston [Texas], and in consequence of the cold which still continues, was unable to transact but little business. I took a few oysters however and at night visited the Theatre, and after which I went to my old friend Archy Ruthven's where I partook of a fine supper, and saw a regular scotch gather, with many fine songs. The meeting was conooked? to drink the old year out & the new one in, but in consequence of my temperence pledge I felt out of place and retired early. Thus I close my chronicles of daily events for the year 1860, now past and gone, and God only knows whether I will be permitted to live to keep one for the incoming year. weather very cold but clear. [Liberty County, Texas]

Tuesday December 31st 1861. To day I am busy in the store acting as salesman. The [rail] cars arrived from Beaumont [Texas] bring 7 more of the long looked for cannon, three of the seven being Columbiads and weighing as follows: 13,224. - 13,226. & 13,228. lbs. weather clear and pleasant. 

Thus I close the records of daily events for the year 1861, and whether God will permit me to live, to keep the records of another year, is more than poor mortal man can know, but trusting in his mercy I shall enter upon the trials of another year, with hopes of future success & prosperity through his goodness & favor. [Liberty County, Texas]

From Google Books -- Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. Series I, Volume 17. Gulf Blockading Squadron from 16 December 1861 to 21 February 1862.

Texas. December 31, 1861.— Steamer Mary Hill returned from San Jacinto at 11 a. m., with 115 cords of firewood for the Government. She was ordered by Colonel Nichols to proceed to Virginia Point and there to discharge the wood. At 11:30 steamer Stell arrived with Captain [Charles M. ?] Mason's company on board from Pelican Spit. Returned to the spit at 3 p. m. Steamer Carr left at daylight, having received orders to tow the dredge boat from Velasco to Virginia Point. The two first guns of fourteen destined for Galveston arrived to-day from Liberty on the steamer Ruthven. The guns left New Orleans in September and have been on the way from New Orleans to Galveston three months. . . .

Wednesday December 31st 1862. Today Sam [i.e., Samuel Houston Sharp -- my 2nd great-grandpa] & I cut up and salted down the pork that we killed yesterday. I paid Cheste & Ann 3.50 for their service in helping to kill & salt down the pork. Dr. Murchison & Mother [i.e., Mahala Lee Sharp Hall nee Roberts -- my 3rd great-grandma] came to see Nellie [i.e., Sam's wife, Mary Alexandrien Sharp nee Lemaire -- my 2nd great-grandma] who is still very sick, but they did not remain long. Mr. Pennington's time as Miller having expired he surrendered the mill keys to me and left for his home. weather clear and cool. 

Thus I close my jottings of daily events for the year 1862 now past & gone, and whether God will permit me to live to keep the events around me of the incoming year is more than I can know, but trusting in his mercy I shall enter upon the duty which is pleasing to me and may be profitable to my family and myself hereafter. [Houston County, Texas]

Thursday December 31st 1863. This morning the ground was covered over two inches deep with snow. Father [i.e., J.J. Hall], Mother [Mahala] and Mr. Thomas Sharp [?] all left, the two former for home, and the latter for the wheat region [?]. Sam [Sharp] & I ground 6 bushels of corn & 10 bushels of wheat. In the evening the boys commenced work after their Christmas holliday. Weather clear and bitter cold. the mill pond being frozen entirely over one inch thick, and it continued to freeze all day even in the sunshine. At night it froze all the little woman's [i.e., Margaret Hall Stewart nee Sharp] eggs in my room although I kept a large fire in it throughout the entire night. It is decidedly the coldest spell of weather that I have ever experienced in the State of Texas after a residence of 28 years. 

Thus closes my notes for the month of December and also for the year 1863 just passed and gone and now numbered with the things that were. whether the Almighty will spare me to chronicle the daily events of the incoming year is more than I know but trusting in Him I shall enter upon the pleasing task, which is useful as a reference and may be profitable to those who have an interest in me. [Houston County, Texas]

Saturday December 31st 1864. To day I paid Dr. Murchison 310 lbs. of flour for 62 lbs. of wool purchased from him last fall. Hick ground 20 bushels of corn and 5 bushels of wheat. Weather clear & cold with a frost & freeze at night. 

Thus I close my jottings for the month of December and for the year 1864 which has just passed & gone and now numbered with the things that were. Whether the Almighty will spare me to chronicle the daily events of the incoming year is more than poor mortal man can foresee or know but trusting in his goodness I shall enter upon the pleasing task which is meaningful as a book of reference and may hereafter be profitable to those who have an interest in my affairs after I shall have shuffled off this mortal soil and been reaped to the bosom of my ancestors. [Houston County, Texas]

Sunday December 31st 1865. To day I am engaged in making out bills of lading for the Steamer Kate & Sloop Luna, both of said boats are still here. Mrs. Beale [i.e., Nellie's mother, Elizabeth A. Lemaire Beale nee Waring -- my 3rd-great-grandma] came over and spent the day. Jimmy had another chill and fever. Frank is still improving. Weather cloudy with occasional showers of rain. 

Thus I close my notes for the month of December and for the year 1865 which has just passed and gone and now numbered with the things that were. Whether the almighty will spare me to record the daily events of things passing around me for the incoming year is more than mortal man can know but trusting his goodness and mercy I shall enter upon the pleasing task which to me is useful as a book of reference and may hereafter be profitable to those who have an interest in my affairs. [Liberty County, Texas]

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

1704 Will of Captain Thomas Sprigg of Maryland

On this date in our family history . . . the 29th day of December . . . in the year 1704 . . . the will of Captain Thomas Sprigg . . . which is dated 09 May 1704 . . . is proved in Prince George's County, Maryland . . . this Captain Sprigg is a 9th great-grandpa to the Keeper of this family history blog . . . the exact date of his death is unknown to me at this time.

As of the date of this posting, Volume 8 of the Maryland Historical Magazine -- published in 1913 by Maryland Historical Society -- is available online via Google Books. The following information regarding Captain Sprigg is from that publication.

SPRIGG FAMILY. Christopher Johnston.

Thomas Sprigg, the ancestor of this family, was born in 1630 and died in 1704. In a deposition, made in 1665, "Mr. Thomas Sprigge" gives his age as 35 years (Prov. Court, Lib. FF, fol. 91), and in another deposition, made in 1694, his age is stated as 64 years (ibid., Lib. W. R. C., no. 1, fol. 696). His will was proved 29 Dec. 1704. . . . The following is a brief abstract of his will.

Thomas Sprigg Sen'r. of Prince George's County— will dated 9 May 1704, proved 29 Dec. 1704 (Pr. Geo. Co., Lib. 1, fol. 23).

Mentions daughter Sarah Pearce; son Thomas Sprigg; daughters Martha Prather, Eleanor Nuthall, Elizabeth Wade, and Anne Gittens; Thomas Stockett and my grandson Thomas Stockett; Eleanor Stockett; my son Thomas Sprigg and my sons-in-law James Wade, Philip Gittens, and Thomas Prather executors. The name James Wade is evidently a clerical error for Robert Wade. No James Wade appears in the records, and the following extract is conclusive:

5 January 1704/5, bond of Robert Wade, of Pr. George's County, as one of the executors of Thomas Sprigg, late of said County deceased, in the sum of £600 sterling; sureties Philip Gittings, Thomas Prather, and Samuel Magruder all of Pr. George's County (Test. Proc., Lib. 10, fol. 18). . . . 

    Friday, December 25, 2009

    A Christmas Card for You

    Christmas Day 1860-1865

    Y'all do realize, don't you, that today is only the 1st of the 12 Days of Christmas? 12th night falls on the 5th of January, and Epiphany marks the end of the season on the 6th (and you just thought Christmas was almost over!). Anyway ...

    Here I will share another little historical tidbit from the years of the war between the states . . . as recorded by James Madison Hall (1819-1866) . . . who is the Keeper of The Journal . . . which is the source of the following info . . . this J.M. Hall was the stepson (as well as son-in-law) of my 3rd-great-grandma, Mahala Lee Sharp Hall nee Roberts (1816-1885) . . . and I first learned of the existence of this journal in January of 2000 from a half second cousin twice removed, Esther Marjorie Biggers nee Hall.

    Tuesday Dec. 25th 1860. I am still in Liberty [Texas], and this being Christmas we closed doors, and set in for a regular bender. I took my Christmas dinner with my friend James Wrigley, which by the by was a splendid affair, and reflected credit on his amiable wife. There was a feast of reason and a flow of soul, together with a fine flow of champaigne etc. etc. Many times I toasted the loved ones at home, and thus passed the day very pleasantly, although it was cold, cloudy and drizzling rain during the entire day.

    Wednesday December 25th 1861. Today being Christmas, no kind of business was done. The Steamer Ruthven arrived & departed. We had a fine flow of egg nogg to ward off the dullness of the times. weather changeable & very warm for the season of the year. [Liberty, Texas]

    Thursday December 25th 1862. Today I remained at home with the little woman [Margaret A. Hall Stewart nee Sharp, Hall's wife as well as his step-sister, & Mahala's daughter] and babies and enjoyed a fine Christmas dinner with several nice egg noggs gotten up in a style as only the little woman knows how to fix them. I contracted with Mr. Thomas Dailey for 1000 lbs. of pork at 14 cents. The drafting of the militia came off in Crockett and Sam Sharp [Hall's step-brother, & Mahala's son, & my 2nd great-grandpa] was drawn to serve under the three months call for the protection of our coast. weather cloudy and warm, with occasional showers of rain. [Houston County, Texas]

    Friday December 25th 1863. Today being Christmas all order of business was suspended, and we all went in for a regular jollification. I had with me to partake of our Christmas dinner, Father [Col. Joshua James Hall], Mother [Mahala], Capt. Peacock, Mrs. Bird, Mr. Leaverton, and sundry others besides the home folks. the egg nogg flowed freely and all went off as merry as a marriage bell. . . . Weather changeable & cool. [Houston County, Texas]

    Sunday December 25th 1864. Today Sam Sharp & I with the children in the little wagon, Nellie [wife of Sam, & my 2nd-great-grandma] & the little woman in the buggy, all drove down to Mother's [Mahala] where we spent our Christmas. We had a fine dinner & a good eggnogg. We passed the day very pleasantly. Weather cloudy & rather warm. [Houston County, Texas]

    Monday December 25th 1865. Today I am very busy at the warehouse loading the steamer Kate & sloop Luna. we put 135 B/c. [bales of cotton*] on them, when they left for Galveston. The only thing I had in way of Christmas festivities was a first rate dinner which was gotten up in the little woman's happy style. Weather variable and warm, for the season, with occasional showers of rain. [Liberty, Texas]

    Thursday, December 24, 2009

    19th Century Christmas Eve

    On the 24th day of December in the year 1865 . . . The little woman drove up town and purchased divers and sundry toys to be distributed to the children to night by way of presents from St. Nicholas put into their respective stockings.

    The quotes above and below, regarding Christmas Eve during the years 1860 through 1865, are excerpts from a daily Journal kept by James Madison Hall (1819-1866). 

    During this time period, Hall was married to a 2nd great-grand-aunt of the Keeper of this family history blog, who was delighted to find in these daily recordings multiple mentions of some of her 2nd and 3rd great-grandparents, as well as other kith 'n kin.

    Monday Dec. 24th 1860. I am still in Liberty and at work in the store, doing but little business. The steamer Swan left for Galveston to day, leaving me behind. I am however passing my time quite pleasantly, weather cool, cloudy & rainy. [Liberty, Texas]

    Tuesday December 24th 1861. Today I am engaged in the ware house. I made the boys kill and salt down 1060 lbs. pork. weather clear & cold. I patrolled at night. [Liberty, Texas]

    Wednesday December 24th 1862. To day I drove my horse Gladiator and buggy down to Mothers [i.e., Mahala Lee Sharp Hall nee Roberts, my 3rd great-grandma, and stepmother as well as mother-in-law to JMH] and brought up a basket of glass ware. In the evening the little woman [i.e., Margaret A. Hall Stewart nee Sharp] drove down to her Mothers [Mahala] and back to try the horse and buggy. I purchased from Mr. Renfro some fodder & peat. weather cloudy, warm and showery. [Houston County, Texas]

    Thursday December 24th 1863. To day the boys are still at work on the stables. I sent John over to Rives; still after the demijohn & wallet also for some whiskey but he did not get any in consequence of the still house having been having been robbed the night before. I ground 12 bushels of corn, and Sam [i.e., Samuel Houston Sharp, my 2nd great-grandpa, as well as stepbrother AND brother-in-law of JMH] ground 3 bushels of wheat. In the evening Capt. Peacock and I rode down to Fathers [i.e., Col. Joshua James Hall] and back. Times are quite brisk at the house preparing for Christmas dinner.* Weather changeable & cool with occasional showers of rain. [Houston County, Texas]

    Saturday December 24th 1864. To day the boys assisted me at the mill we ground 4 bushels of wheat & 23 bushels of corn. Weather cloudy & cool with occasional showers of rain. [Houston County, Texas]

    Sunday December 24th 1865. To day I am very busy at work at the warehouse. We shipped 146 B/C [i.e., bales of cotton] by an extra train of the T.&N.O. R.R. for Houston. The little woman drove up town and purchased divers and sundry toys to be distributed to the children to night by way of presents from St. Nicholas put into their respective stockings. Weather variable and cool. [Liberty, Texas]

    Image of Thomas Nast's St. Nicholas from
    Harper's Weekly, December 1865

    *Preparing for Christmas dinner during this time period would most definitely have included gathering the ingredients for making egg nog ... and since today, the 24th day of December, just happens to be National Egg Nog Day, I am including a receipt for egg nog that is similar to one I found in a cookbook from the years of the war between the states.


    • 12 separated Eggs
    • 1 cup granulated Sugar
    • 1 cup Bourbon
    • 1 cup Cognac
    • 1/2 tsp. Salt
    • 3 pints Heavy cream
    • Grated Nutmeg
    Mixing instructions:
    Beat yolks until light in color. Slowly add bourbon, cognac, while beating at slow speed. Chill 3 hrs. Add salt to whites, beat to peaks. Whip cream until stiff. Fold whipped cream into yolk mixture, then fold in the beaten egg whites. Chill one hour. Serve with nutmeg sprinkled on top. For thinner mixture add 1 or 2 cups of milk.

    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    1894 :: Christmas Wedding

    Sweethearts Join Hands in 1894 Christmas Wedding

    A copy of the following newspaper article turned up in my files -- source unknown. I assume it probably came from my 1st cousin once removed, Georgia Faye (Henry) Kaseberg (1925-2001), as she was always so good about giving me copies of whatever finds she made.
    • Bride :: Ella May Hamilton nee Henry :: born 26 October 1875 in Grayson County, Texas :: died 14 December 1967 in Rockdale, Milam County, Texas :: a daughter of my 2nd great-grandparents, William Paschal Henry (1836-1912) and Josephine Wingfield Henry nee Davis (1842-1899)
    • Groom :: James David Hamilton :: born 19 September 1872 in Kentucky :: died 03 May 1922 in Rockdale, Milam County, Texas after coming in contact with a high-powered electric wire following a storm :: son of Joseph David Hamilton (1832-1905) and Mary Katherine Hamilton nee Hughes (1842-1906)

    Bethlehem Community
    To the Messenger:
    December 24 [1894].

    Once more I come, heralding the news from old Bethlehem. Since my departure it seems that marriage bells have been substituted for [Christ]mas bells. I have attended weddings for the past two weeks and still have several invitations left.

    Last Thursday night [i.e., 20th December 1894] both young and old began to congregate at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. W.P. Henry Sr., [my 2nd great-grandparents] for the purpose of witnessing the marriage ceremony between J.D. Hamilton and their daughter, Ella, conducted by Hon. W.D. Wells of Rockdale, with J.B. Henry and Miss Cornelia Bowling, Hubert Phillips and Miss Elma Rettig as attendants.
    After which the entire crowd was ushered into the dining room, where they partook of a most wonderful, excellent and appetizing repast.
    Well Mr. Editor, as I have an invitation to attend a wedding at Mr. and Mrs. Thos. Phillips, I will close by giving a list of presents. Enclosed please find some of the wedding cake.
    The presents were as follows:

    • Mr. and Mrs. Thos. Phillips, table cloth
    • Miss Della Phillips, glass set
    • Miss Isa Phillips, set of casters
    • Mr. Hubert Phillips, syrup pitcher
    • Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Rettig, cake stand
    • Miss Elma Rettig, fruit dish
    • Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Bowling, fruit stand
    • Miss Nona Bowling, fruit dish
    • Miss Cornelia Rettig, head rest
    • Mrs. Lizzie Baumgartner of Iowa, photograph case
    • Mrs. M.F. Antony, set goblets [i.e., Margaret Frances Antony nee Davis (1833-1912), sister of Mother of the bride]
    • Messrs. Wallace Moody and Jno. Gore, pair towels and syrup pitcher
    • Mrs. S.H. Sharp, dusting brush [i.e., Emma Sharp nee Henry (1872-1944), sister of the bride, & twin sister of my great-grandpa]
    • Mr. J.B. Henry, set cups and saucers and spoons [i.e., Jerome Bonapart Henry (1870-1956), brother of the bride]
    • Mr. and Mrs. W.P. Henry Jr., price of present [i.e., William Paschal Henry, Jr. (1868-1941), brother of the bride, & his wife, Annie Mae Henry nee Calvert (1874-1950)]
    • Mr. L.O. Stewart, cake plate [i.e., Louis O. Stewart (b. June 1873), a 1st cousin of Berta Mary Sharp (1873-1955) who is the future wife of a brother of the bride, & my great-grandma]
    • Mr. and Mrs. W.P. Henry Sr., plates, knives and forks, salt and pepper stand, glass set, pair linen towels, table cloth, set glasses and lamp [parents of the bride, and 2nd great-grandparents of the Keeper of this geneablog]

    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    Christmas of 1888 - John Greenleaf Whittier

    On this date in our extended family history . . . the 17th day of December . . . in the year 1807 . . . John Greenleaf Whittier is born in Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts . . . this future poet found his way into the extended branches of our family tree by way of the fact that . . . his great-grand-uncle, Nathaniel Whittier (1658-1722) . . . was married in 1710 to Mary Brackett (ca.1670-1742) . . . who is a double 1st cousin 10 times removed to the Keeper of this family history blog, i.e. . . .

    • Mary's father is Anthony Brackett (ca.1636 - 21 Sept 1689) . . . who is a brother of Thomas Brackett (ca.1635-11 Aug 1676) . . . who is a 9th great-grandpa of the Keeper of this family history blog . . . 

    • Mary's mother is Ann Mitton . . . who is a sister of Mary Mitton . . . who married the previously mentioned Thomas Brackett . . . and is a 9th great-grandma of the Keeper of this family history blog . . .

    New York Times
    . December 18, 1888. Whittier's Birthday. Quietly Celebrated at his Farmhouse at Oak Knoll. Danvers, Mass., Dec. 17. -- At the quiet farmhouse at Oak Knoll, on the outskirts of the town of Danvers, there was a pleasant family circle to-day, and one of the most beloved of New-England's famous sons received congratulations on his eighty-first birthday. 

    Here, surrounded with the tender care of the Misses Johnson and Mrs. Woodman the poet, John G. Whittier is quietly passing the Winter. Today being the anniversary of his birth The Time's representative called to pay his respects. 

    The poet was found in his library, his erect figure and bright but kindly eye and the warm pressure of the hand gave but little token that more than fourscore years had passed over his head. A slight defect in hearing and snow-white hair and beard are the outward symbols of his ripe years. . . . 

    Whittier would write of The Christmas of 1888 as follows . . .

    Low in the east, against a white, cold dawn,
    The black-lined silhouette of the woods was drawn,
    And on a wintry waste
    Of frosted streams and hillsides bare and brown,
    Through thin cloud-films a pallid ghost looked down,
    The waning moon half-faced.
    In that pale sky and sere, snow-waiting earth,
    What sign was there of the immortal birth?
    What herald of the One?
    Lo! swift as thought the heavenly radiance came,
    A rose-red splendor swept the sky like flame,
    Up rolled the round, bright sun!

    And all was changed. From a transfigured world
    The moon's ghost fled, the smoke of home-hearths curled
    Up to the still air unblown.
    In Orient warmth and brightness, did that morn
    O'er Nain and Nazereth, when the Christ was born,
    Break fairer than our own?

    The morning's promise noon and eve fulfilled
    In warm, soft sky and landscape hazy-filled
    And sunset fair as they;
    A sweet reminder of His holiest time,
    A summer-miracle in our winter clime,
    God gave a perfect day.

    The near was blended with the old and far,
    And Bethlehem's hillside and the Magi's star
    Seemed here, as there and then, --
    Our homestead pine-tree was the Syrian palm,
    Our heart's desire the angels' midnight psalm,
    Peace, and good-will to men!

    See also ::

    A little smile, a word of cheer,
    A bit of love
    from someone near,
    A little gift from one held dear,
    Best wishes for the coming year...
    These make a Merry Christmas!

    John Greenleaf Whittier
     17 December 1807 ~ 07 September 1892

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    Advent Calendar :: Other Celebrations

    Illustrations from mid-19th century issues of Godey

    On this date in our extended family history . . . the 15th day of December . . . in the year 1863 . . . Josephine Martha Hall is born in Houston County, Texas. Little Josephine is the 3rd child, and 2nd daughter, born to James Madison Hall (1819-1866) and his wife, Margaret Annot Sharp (1840-ca.1878). Margaret is the sister of Samuel Houston Sharp (ca.1839-1885), who is a 2nd great-grandpa of the Keeper of this blog about our family history.

    Tuesday December 15th 1863. Today Sam and the boys finished the floor in the mill forebay and let down the gates to catch a head of water. The little woman was taken sick and at 11½ o'clock a.m. was delivered of a female child. She may truthfully be said to be a woman of ready conception and easy delivery. there were present Mrs. Bird, Mother [i.e., Mahala Lee Sharp Hall nee Roberts], Nellie [i.e., Mary Alexandrien Sharp nee Lemaire] and myself, assisted by Rachael a negro woman. I sent for Dr. Murchison, who came but as usual too late to be of any service in his profession, he remained for dinner and then left for home. Weather cloudy with occasional showers of rain and a hard rain at night. . . . Thursday December 17th 1863. . . . The little woman is doing very well after her confinement. Mother is still here attending to the new responsibility, whom we have this day named Josephine Martha Hall. . . .
    The above information about little Josephine's birth is from entries in an 1860-1866 daily Journal kept by her father, J.M. Hall. Regarding the Christmas immediately following the birth of his 2nd daughter, Hall penned the following words :-

    Friday December 25th 1863. Today being Christmas all order of business was suspended and we all went in for a regular jollification. I had with me to partake of our Christmas dinner Father [i.e., Col. Joshua James Hall], Mother, Capt. Peacock, Mrs. Bird, Mr. Leaverton, and sundry others besides the home folks. the egg nogg flowed freely and all went off as merry as a marriage bell. To close the scene at night the negroes had a ball in the yard by moon light. they touched the light fantastic ? and were as happy as happy could be. . . .

    Even with all the sorrow that hangs,
    and will forever hang, over so many households;
    even while war still rages;
    even while there are serious questions yet to be settled -
    ought it not to be, and is it not,
    a merry Christmas?
    Harper's Weekly, December 26, 1863

    Dreaming of a White Christmas

    I'm dreaming of a White Christmas . . .

    This divided back card was made in Germany, and bears a one-cent postage stamp. The card is in the private collection of the Keeper of this family history blog, and sends wishes to the recipient for a Happy New Year in 1915. This collage incorporates further expressions of celebration -- Merry Christmas -- Happy Anniversary -- Birthday Wishes -- which also ties it into the theme for today's entry for the Advent Calendar and the COG (see below). And in keeping with the white theme for the Festival of Postcards, even the recipient's surname -- Frost -- calls to mind the (non)color of white!

    Postmark ::
    Youngstown, Ohio
    December 31
    1030 pm 1914
    Addressed to ::
    Mrs. Wm. Frost,
    168 Wooster Ave.
    Akron, Ohio.
    Message ::
    12-31-1914. Dear Sister:
    A Happy New Year to you all.
    And many choice blessings
    is the sincere wish of your Sister
    Yours at hand this a.m. "Emma"

    This post incorporates two Season of Christmas collages with supporting information, and was prepared for the following 2009 community events in the geneablogging world :-

    • The current topic for Thomas' Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories as well as the 86th edition of a Carnival of Genealogy (hosted by Jasia at Creative Gene) is Other Holiday Happenings, e.g., birthdays that occur during the season of Christmas (see below). Other events in my family tree during the month of December, including birthdates and death dates of deceased family members, and anniversaries of an assortment of our kith 'n kin, are posted > HERE < on a daily basis.
    • The topic for the 6th edition of Evelyn Yvonne Theriault's Festival of Postcards is White, which I have illustrated by using a mostly white postcard from the year 1914 (see above).

    Sunday, December 06, 2009

    Shades of the Departed

    The December issue has hit the stands! Go check it out . . . Shades of the Departed . . . the Holiday Edition! 

    Click on the collage to go view the magazine, and leave a comment for footnoteMaven telling her how much you appreciate all her hard work!

    FYI, that's my two younger sisters in the newspaper clipping in this collage, as well as in the dere santey claus collage (page 20) in the Shades magazine. If you have any questions about anything I did in that collage, please do not hesitate to ask.

    See also :: Shades, the Premier Issue

    Shades is published at Since I am still using a dial-up connection at my home, I like to download Shades the Magazine, and then view it page-by-page in PDF format.

    FYI . . . if you are unable to view Shades of the Departed while using Firefox (as is the case for the Keeper of this family history blog), please try viewing this page in Chrome . . .


    Thursday, December 03, 2009

    1843 :: Sterne visits Elisha Roberts

    On this date in our family history . . . the 3rd day of December . . . in the year 1843 . . . Elisha Roberts (1774-1844) has a visitor at his home in San Augustine County, Texas . . . this Elisha is a 4th great-grandpa of the Keeper of this family history blog . . . and this visit is documented in a diary that was kept by Nicholas Adolphus Sterne (ca. 1801-1852).

    Sunday the 3d December 1843 at 7 A. M. got into the FerryBoat at McLanahan's Store and went down the Sabine landed in the Swamp on the left Bank of the Palo Gacho had to wade out. (and nearly Swimming) to get to dry Land-- paid Mr Cook $3.00 for our last nights Expences and ferriage-- very cheap-- waded trough mud, water, and morass-- to Elisha Roberts's where we were once more comfortable and at home.

    Regarding the area of the Republic of Texas referred to here, I found the following in Texas: the rise, progress, and prospects of the Republic of Texas (1841) at Google Books :-

    Advent Calendar :: Tearbottle Ornaments

    They are the roses in December;
    you remember some one said
    that God gave us memory
    so that we might have roses in December. . . .
    the people I have cared for most
    and who have seemed most worth caring for
    -- my December roses --
    have been very simple folk.
    ~ James M. Barrie ~

    Fourteen years ago [1996] I had not yet bought my 1st computer. The pages I typed during my Father's last days, and following his death -- e.g., the page shown here -- were done on a portable typewriter.

    It was December 1996, our first Christmas season without the patriarch of our family, Forrest Lee Pounders (1927-1996). It had been almost a year since Dad died in January . . .

    On that cool, crisp Christmas morning, we drove to the little country cemetery to visit Dad's grave. Mom had planted antique rosebushes shortly after Dad's death -- The Fairy rose -- which was introduced by J. A. Bentall in England in 1932 (the year of Mom's birth) -- and I wanted to gather some flowers for drying for the special project shown here. The delicate rose blossoms and tiny rosebuds sparkled with frost that morning -- as if sprinkled with stardust from the Star of the East.

    You have collected all my tears and preserved them in Your bottle! You have recorded every one in Your book. ~ Psalm 56 ~

    I refer to the family keepsake ornaments shown here as tearbottles. These opalescent glass globes contain dried rose petals from Daddy's memorial service, as well as the dried roses from his grave. The sweetly scented blossoms are combined with a sentimental mixture of rosemary (for remembrance) and wormwood (for sorrow). And all are nestled in a soft bed of prisma stardust blended with glittering ice crystals . . .

    Silently one by one
    in the infinite meadows of Heaven
    blossom the lovely stars
    the forget-me-nots of the angels.
    ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ~

    Originally written for the
    2009 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories
    Freshened up a bit and reposted for the
    2010 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories

    Wednesday, December 02, 2009

    Wordless Wednesday :: Bob and Ann

    Robert & Ann (Howard) Henry 

    Robert E. Henry (1905-1976)
    Ann Rita Josephine Henry nee Howard (1904-1994)

    Free Quick Page (QP) made by Jen & found at

    Tuesday, December 01, 2009

    1953 Christmas Tree

    Dear Grandma and Grandpa Henry, Thank you for my new tricycle. I want summer to hurry so I can ride it outside. I love you. X O X O X Vickie

    On the radio in 1953, we might have been listening to Bing Crosby singing White Christmas, or Eartha Kitt singing Santa Baby, or 10-year-old Gayla Peevey singing I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

    And mayhaps we watched A Christmas Carol on Kraft Television Theatre on the small black and white television in the living room.

    NBC's 1953 broadcast of the Christmas-themed "Amahl and the Night Visitors" was the first sponsored program to be broadcast in color. And, of course, there was the string of variety specials featuring the likes of Perry Como, Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, and Bob Hope.
    When we were kids, Daddy usually went out and cut down the tree that would adorn the living room in our little home. I can remember going out with him at least once to choose and chop down a tree from the pasture out in the country, and bring it home to Mom. I just love that we have this black and white image of one of our Christmas trees from the early 50s.

    Mom spent a large number of her growing-up years living with her paternal grandparents in this house in central Texas. She remembers that they strung popcorn for decorating the tree that usually sat in a little entry-way near the front door of the house.

    Mom recalls desperately wanting a pair of roller-skates during the early 1940s. Her father had remarried and was still living in Massachusetts. Due to metal shortages during the war, roller skates were not easy to find. She remembers being told that her father was relentless in his search for this gift for her, and that he was somehow able to find and secure the object of her desire -- the roller skates were delivered to her in Texas.

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