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#WeekendCoffeeShare America The Beautiful

August 19, 2017 3 Comments

Believe That

Believe That

If we were having coffee this weekend I would offer you iced tea and some succotash I just made.  I have been listening to a wonderful audio course about this culinary and cultural history of humanity.  I heard the part about American colonists adopting crops from natives very quickly because many crops they brought from England did not grow over here.  Succotash (a word borrowed from a native language) is a stew of corn, beans, onions, peppers, and tomatoes.  It can be made with only corn and beans if need be.  I realized I had those groceries on hand in the fridge so I whipped up a batch.  It is a heavenly, and truly American dish.  Help yourself.  I am working on reminding myself of all the noble and beautiful parts of having been born in the US.  Succotash is one of those.

If we were having coffee I know many of you live in other countries and are wondering what in the world is happening to the government in Washington, DC.  As taxpaying citizens, believe me, we wonder even more than you do.  Some people choose to stay away from news of current events, and honestly I am happy to be working with millennials who virtually never discuss anything current or political.  I don’t think it is because they lack sympathy, but they really lack all the information. I am loathe to bring up any news at work because it is all so shockingly bad.  Who am I to bum them out by letting them in on current events?  I really like my colleagues at work.  Maybe ignoring current events is the secret of their charm.

I wrote this week, but was still a little lame about production.  I did a poem for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto on Thursday.  I wrote a factual biography of my great-grandfather who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.  I also have ancestors who fought for the Union and even worked on the underground railroad.  I am not in any way attracted to these “historic monuments” causing all this dispute.  I don’t think they were such a good idea in the first place, since Americans tend to be fairly ignorant of our own history.  We just don’t need images to glorify people and events nobody even understands.  I know this is not true for all of us, but I am frequently appalled at the total lack of knowledge about geography and history I encounter in Americans.

The one category in which we are still held in some esteem is comedy.  SNL is the world leader that demonstrates that we do still live in a free country.  Some of our freedom is being used to endanger and incarcerate part of the population. Thank God we still have Weekend Update. For any of you who have not seen #sheetcaking by Tina Fey, please enjoy this peek at our still thriving sense of humor.  If we don’t laugh we will cry.

Please join us for the Weekend Coffee Share every week.  Our hostess Diana brings us together from New Orleans her blog PartTimeMonster to share our feelings, our progress, and our digital beverages. Thanks for reading, writing, or commenting this week.

#WeekendCoffeeShare

#WeekendCoffeeShare

William Ellison Taylor, Great-Grandfather

August 15, 2017 1 Comment

William and Lucinda

William and Lucinda

My maternal great-grandfather fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. I have a copy of the military records and pension applications for my maternal  great-grandfather, William Ellison Taylor. He enlisted in the Civil War on April 26, 1861, Company C, 4th Regiment, Alabama Regiment of Volunteers, under the command of Captain N.H.R. Dawson. He was injured at the Battle of First Manassas, Virginia, on July 21, 1861. He was discharged October 22, 1861.  His great-grandfather, Jonathan Aaron Taylor, fought in the Revolutionary War in South Carolina. After the Civil war William and his wife’s family moved to East Texas and bought land. He became a preacher.

William Ellison Taylor

William Ellison Taylor

The following is from Gospel Preachers Who Blazed the Trail by C. R. Nichol, 1911.

William Ellyson Taylor was born in Alabama, November 22, 1839, and was reared in that state. His education was received in the common schools. When the war broke out between the states he enlisted in the 4th Alabama Regiment and went to Virginia. In the battle of Manassas. July 21, 1861, he was wounded, which made him a cripple for life.

Dec. 27. 1864, he was married to Lucinda Armer, who has been his faithful help-meet, and to the present shares his joys and sorrows. To this union six boys and two girl have been born.

November, 1869, he moved to Texas. In August, 1874, Dr. W. L. Harrison preached the first sermon he ever heard. Afterward and and David Pennington became a Christian. In 1877 he began preaching and though he works on the farm, he has preached as he found opportunity. Entering the firgin field he has established congregations in Montgomery, San Jacinto and Walker counties and is now preaching monthly for congregations at Willis, Bethan and Ne Bethel, Montgomery County. When confined for nearly two years through sickness his brethren administer to his every need. All who know Bro. Taylor love him for his intrinsic worth and work in the Lord.

Gospel Preachers Who Blazed the Trail by C. R. Nichol, 1911.

William Ellison Taylor (1839 – 1918)
great-grandfather
George Harvey Taylor (1884 – 1941)
son of William Ellison Taylor
Ruby Lee Taylor (1922 – 2008)
daughter of George Harvey Taylor
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Ruby Lee Taylor
Ruby Lee was named after Robert E Lee.  She changed the spelling to Lea later in her life. My father’s ancestors fought for the Union army and worked on the underground railroad.

Rev. Robert Miller, Presbyterian Patriot

July 3, 2015 15 Comments

Rev. Robert Miller, patriot

Rev. Robert Miller, patriot

My 5th great-grandfather was a Presbyterian minister from Scotland who served as chaplain in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War.  The Presbyterians were active during the war because they had no love for the Brits or their religion.  The following passage gives us insight into his early life:

The following is a sketch of the life of Rev. Robert Miller, which according to Minos E. Miller was written by himself and which was copied from the original by Hugh Reid Miller several years before the Civil War.

“I was born of religious and creditable parents, my father possessed of a small fortune in land not far from where I was born. Early they bestowed an education upon me. At nine years of age I went to school to Mr. Patrick Reid, Schoolmaster, at Aberdeen, and then began to read Latin. Continued at school with some few intermissions till I was about the age of eighteen. I then proposed to apply myself to some lawful calling, for support in the world and to [?] daily bread. Being engaged with a Physician in aldy, he desired my father to send me to school to learn Greek, to qualify more for the business I was engaged in. I therefore went to school; and in the meantime contracted such a desire to stay still at school, my father consented, and after I had read Latin and Greek some time, he sent me to the college, where I continued till I had gone through my studies in Philosophy, after which by the advice of some, I applied myself to the study of Divinity, and attended the Lectures of the Rev. Mr. Mear Mon[?] Professor of Divinity. In which Profession I made such Proficiency, as at last, after trials by him, was approved and presented by him to the Presbytery for future trials; after going through the ordinary course in the Presbytery of Edinburgh.
I pretty early began to think much, and was privileged with the blessing of a valuable gospel minister, as well as a pious example set before by my parents, with many good advices and instructions from both. I went along to a solemn occasion at Glendovan, when I heard Mr. Wardrobe preach upon that text, Eph. 6:13-14 “having done all to stand, stand therefore,”

Presbyterians and the revolution

Presbyterians and the revolution

 

Patriotism depends on the sentiment at the time.  When Protestant thinking set Europe on a path toward political change, the wheels started rolling toward America.  The Brits represented the past and corruption of religion.  Factions create patriotism.  It is an emotional trend that surpasses logic.  My very badass 5th great-grandfather was an example of early American patriotism.  His descendants would fight for the Confederacy against the United States.  After the Civil War those descendants moved to East Texas to start new lives and found a Baptist church. Religion played a strange part in all that patriotic and anti-patriotic behavior.  I still do not grasp how heavy-duty Christians own slaves.  Today patriotism comes dangerously close to fear and suspicion of foreigners and nothing more.

Rev. Robert Miller (1730 – 1821)
is my 5th great-grandfather
Margaret Miller (1771 – 1853)
daughter of Rev. Robert Miller
Philip Oscar Hughes (1798 – 1845)
son of Margaret Miller
Sarah E Hughes (1829 – 1911)
daughter of Philip Oscar Hughes
Lucinda Jane Armer (1847 – 1939)
daughter of Sarah E Hughes
George Harvey Taylor (1884 – 1941)
son of Lucinda Jane Armer
Ruby Lee Taylor (1922 – 2008)
daughter of George Harvey Taylor
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Ruby Lee Taylor

SGT. ROBERT MILLER, CHAPLAIN IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR 1) Sgt. Robert Miller served as a Presbyterian minister, in civilian life. During the American Revolutionary War, he served as a Chaplain. The photo above is from an online pamphlet which is short, and easy to read. It gives a good overview of how the people of the Presbyterian Church in America played a vital role in the American Revolutionary War. It also explains how the Protestant Reformation of the 1500’s in France, led to Protestant French Huguenots emigrating away from France and over to England, Scotland, and other countries in Europe. Later on some of their descendants left Europe and immigrated into America. The Protestant religions in America have always had deep roots to the northwestern area of France, especially the area around the Province of Normandy. This can be puzzling, and complicated. One connection can be seen between the various Protestant religions in the USA, leading back to the work of a young man who was named Jehan Cauvin. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Calvin He was born in 1509 in Noyon, Picardie, France. When he grew up, he lived in Switzerland, where he was known as John Calvin. His religious ideas had a profound effect in many other countries in Europe, such as Germany and the Netherlands. Perhaps this is part of the reason why America has always had such a complicated relationship with France, especially in times of war. The photo of the ebook is entitled: Presbyterians and the Revolution. By the Rev. W. P. Breed. Published 1876 by Presbyterian Board of Publication in Philadelphia. The copyright on this book has now expired, and it is now in the public domain. Source: https://archive.org/stream/presbyteriansrev01bree#page/82/mode/2up/search/pickens *** 2) Here is a link to a short article that provides a good background history for Mecklenburg County, NC and the counties to the south of it in SC during the American Revolutionary War. Rev. Robert Miller was in a part of SC that saw some serious fighting, to the east of Abbeville County. The article can be found here: http://www.sciway3.net/clark/revolutionarywar/1780-Huck_noframes.html The title of this article is “THE 1780 PRESBYTERIAN REBELLION AND THE BATTLE OF HUCK’S DEFEAT” by Sam Thomas, Curator of History, Culture & Heritage Commission of York County. *** 3) There were many different families named Miller who lived in Scotland in the 1700’s, and they are virtually impossible to untangle. Many of these families appear to have adopted the last name of Miller as a means of indicating a political alliance, and they did not originally use the family surname of Miller/Millar. Family surnames were not used in Europe prior to the 1800’s the same way they are now used in modern Europe and in America. People were much more casual about their last names back then, and many families changed their last names in order to indicate the geographical place where they lived, or what political group/clan they were affiliated with at the moment. When Rev. Robert Miller immigrated to America, he visited Bucks County, PA, which was located near Philadelphia, PA and Baltimore, MD. Bucks County was a popular area for Presbyterian immigrants from Scotland and Ulster to settle in colonial America. At least three early Presbyterian settlements were in Bucks County, PA: the HUNTER SETTLEMENT, NESHAMINY, and the IRISH/CRAIG SETTLEMENT. See memorial page number 129350647 for a history of the area, including some links to ebooks. Rev. Robert Miller married a young lady whose parents lived near the Scots-Irish settlement of NESHAMINY, PA. Her name was Jean Pickens. They were married in Paxton Township of Bucks County, PA, which was about halfway between the HUNTER SETTLEMENT to the north, and the town of NESHAMINY to the south. Later on the name of this part of Bucks County, PA changed to Northampton County, PA. After he and his bride married in PA, they joined a large Scots-Irish expedition of colonists who moved down to a new Scots-Irish settlement called the Waxhaws, around the year 1751. His in-laws were part of the same expedition. At the time the Waxhaws was located in Anson County, NC, but later on the boundary survey between NC and SC was determined to be incorrect. At that point the Waxhaws became part of Abbeville County, SC. During the American Revolutionary War, he served as Chaplain in his brother-in-law’s military unit in SC. Presbyterian ministers played a vital role in the war. In addition to playing a role as a Chaplain, many of them were also elected by their men to serve as active duty officers. They were popular leaders, who were good at planning and strategy. *** 4) 300 ACRE LAND GRANT “34. Land plat for ROBERT MILLER for a tract of land containing 300 acres and surveyed by Patrick Calhoun 7 DEC 1762 on the waters of Long Cain in the county of Granville, said Long Canes being waters of the Savannah River and lands bounded by the lands of the Hamilton Grant and by lands of Robert Pickens. “I am sure that this must be the Rev. ROBERT MILLER who came first to the Waxhaws and later to Abbeville on the Long Canes. He was for a time in Tennessee and as a Presbyterian minister. He was married to Jane Pickens sometime prior to 1758. (Land grant indicates a wife and 4 children.)” Author: LEONARDO ANDREA Source: http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/15555824/person/20076042723/storyx/2ac4d7e4-69de-4719-b4f8-c9e7851c3f86?src=search *** RIP Added by: MarthaHopscotch 9/05/2014

Sarah E Hughes, Daughter of the Confederacy

February 24, 2015 3 Comments

Shiloh Baptist Church

Shiloh Baptist Church

My second great grandmother was born in Alabama.  Her parents came from Mississippi and they owned slaves.  In the 1840 census, when Sarah was 11 years of age, her mother was already dead.  Her household contained 4 white persons and 44 slaves. 27 of them were involved with agriculture.  I guess they grew cotton.

In 1845 Sarah’s father died and she married Thomas Armer, my 2nd great-grandfather.  She had 13 children, 8 of whom were still alive in 1900.  My great-grandmother was her oldest daughter. In 1850, when her daughter was 3, she and her husband lived in Lowdnes County, Alabama.  Her husband’s occupation was listed as overseer.  Everyone on the census page is either a planter or an overseer by trade.  This is extremely creepy because they must be growing cotton and Thomas Armer was a slaver overseer.  This was the time in which they lived, but it seems like such an outrage to think about it.

1860 census

1860 census

The Black Panther Party was born as the Lowdnes Country Freedom Organization.  In 1965 the county was 80% black, but not a single black citizen was registered to vote.  Between 1850 and 1965 not that much had really changed.

lowdnes county

lowdnes county

 

By 1860 the family had moved to Old Town Dallas, and  Thomas was listed as a farmer.  No planters are listed on the page with them.  Engineers, physicians, and other farmers are their neighbors.  No slaves are listed in the household.  I think they have moved away from plantation life and started to farm for themselves. When the war broke out Thomas was conscripted to work in the Shelby Iron Works steel mill from 1861-1865.

Shelby Iron Works

Shelby Iron Works

After the war in 1870 the Armers moved to Waller County in east Texas, traveling in ox carts with their extended family.  In 1871 they founded the Shiloh Baptist Church with other veterans of the war in the membership. Thomas died in August of 1900 at the age of 75, leaving Sarah a widow.  She applied for a Confederate pension based on his service:

Confederate pension application

Confederate pension application

 

Sarah E Hughes (1829 – 1911)
is my 2nd great grandmother
Lucinda Jane Armer (1847 – 1939)
daughter of Sarah E Hughes
George Harvey Taylor (1884 – 1941)
son of Lucinda Jane Armer
Ruby Lee Taylor (1922 – 2008)
daughter of George Harvey Taylor
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Ruby Lee Taylor

Sarah is buried with her husband and some of her children at the Shiloh Baptist Church, in Prairie View, Waller County, Texas.

Selma in My Family History

February 7, 2015 5 Comments

I have the Confederate army records of my 2nd great-grandfather, William Ellison Taylor. Both he and his father in law applied and received Confederate pensions in Texas late in life.  They came from the vicinity of what is now Selma, Alabama.  The new movie about Selma has intrigued me although I have not seen it. I was alive to witness those events, and my mother’s family had a long history in Selma about which I recently learned.  In fact, my 3rd great-grandmother owned a large tract of land in Old Town, Dallas, also known as Cahawba.  She moved there from Georgia with her husband when it was the county seat, and maybe when it was still the capital of Alabama.  It was a happening river port with a large warehouse.  The area is now an archeological park with ongoing restoration projects.  Elizabeth lived through the Civil War in Alabama, then moved to Texas with her son and extended family.

 

Old Town

Old Town

 

Cahawba

Cahawba

Elizabeth Langley (1790 – 1885)
is my 3rd great grandmother
Thomas Armer (1825 – 1900)
son of Elizabeth Langley
Lucinda Jane Armer (1847 – 1939)
daughter of Thomas Armer
George Harvey Taylor (1884 – 1941)
son of Lucinda Jane Armer
Ruby Lee Taylor (1922 – 2008)
daughter of George Harvey Taylor
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Ruby Lee Taylor

Elizabeth was born in South Carolina and died in Texas.  Her husband died before the Civil War.  She obtained a land patent from the BLM.  She sheltered her family there during the war.

When the Armer family arrived in Waller, Texas they bought land with gold, then donated some of it to found the Shiloh Baptist Church, where Elizabeth is buried.  I always wonder why they had gold since the men in the family were working in the service of the Confederacy, for Confederate money.  When it became worthless the family must have had some tricks up the sleeves, or been able to sell the Alabama land for gold.  They executed the move in oxcarts.  They went to an area known for cotton farming, but I don’t think they grew cotton.  In fact, the records do not reflect that the Armers owned slaves before the war.  They were part of Confederate society, but either too poor or too religious to own slaves.  In Texas they were preachers and subsistence farmers.

Elizabeth Langley, Texas

Elizabeth Langley, Texas

The parallel between what happened during Elizabeth’s life and the Civil Rights march in 1965 is striking.  This story comes from the informative Facebook page of Cahawba:

In Gen’l James Wilson’s autobiography, he wrote that after meeting with Gen’l Forrest at Cahawba (after the Battle of Selma), they parted ways, and he returned to Selma then crossed the Alabama River and headed his Federal troops toward Montgomery. Here’s what he had to say about the enslaved African Americans that started to follow him: ” a great number of fugitives from the surrounding country flocked into the town and our march to the eastward had hardly begun when it became apparent that new crowds were following us, which made vigorous measures necessary for getting rid of them. The rear guard could keep them behind, but could not prevent them from taking the “ROAD TO FREEDOM.” Wow! The goosebumps started forming when I realized that this ROAD TO FREEDOM was exactly the same route that marchers for voting rights took exactly 100 years later! I can’t think of a better example of Selma’s tourism tag line, “Civil War to Civil Rights.”
FYI. Gen’l Wilson eventually organized, armed and equipped the able-bodied men and found them valuable additions to his force.

This is an amazing story and not a coincidence.  I had not planned to go to Alabama again in my life, but now that they have put so much effort into uncovering the history of my 3rd great-grandmother’s lifetime in this place, I might need to visit.  They specialize in birding, which is pretty cool.  Visitors can participate in guided bird outings.  Civil War to Civil Rights is a very interesting subject, still in progress.

Warriors and Wellbeing

September 18, 2014 4 Comments

In our dreams characters, including ourselves, play grand archetypes. Last night as I dreamed military factions were fighting it out in a prolonged battle. The warrior rarely appears in my dream life so I have considered it as a signal of some kind of change. The dream did not really upset or frighten me. In fact, after a while awake I fell back into sleep and dreamed about the same theme for a while again, which is very rare in my life. I normally do not go back to sleep, but I felt there was a story I needed to finish. Nobody won the war and I believe there were more than two fighting factions, sort of like Syria today. The warrior is an important archetype without which we would all be too vulnerable. Protection is something everyone needs, from within as well as from others.

In yoga the warrior pose is a wonderful strengthening posture. When one masters it one truly does feel like a warrior and a hero. To be a warrior archetype does not always mean to be a soldier or professional in the business of protection. The best attributes of this archetype are skill, strength, discipline and self sacrifice in the conquest over ego. The best warrior is stoic and possesses a tough will to conquer. The worst warrior is indifferent to the suffering of others. The shadow practice of this soldier in the dark is trading ethics for victory at any cost. The hero as well as the heel are contained within the warrior archetype. Loyalty and invincibility are identified with this character. Mercenaries and gunslingers are also part of the tribe.

I wondered today if thinking about my ancestors and the Civil War in the United States might be part of this dream’s arrival.  I have been studying and considering how my family moved from Selma, Alabama to East Texas after the war and bought property with gold.  They traveled by oxcart to get there.   Both my 2nd  great grandfather and his father-in-law were in the war, the older man conscripted to make steel in Birmingham Alabama to provide munitions to the Confederacy.  The Confederate money was worthless after the war,  so I wonder how they managed to have enough gold to buy property in Texas.  Many southern cotton farmers had moved to the area, so the majority of the population was black, as a remnant of slavery and cotton.  My people were religious and donated land for a church in the area.  I have been thinking about what it is like to fight in a war like that and be on the loosing side, then move to a new place.  They had to handle a lot of change and hardship during one lifetime, and the period after the war may have been as difficult as the war itself.

My relationship with this dream is asking me to be stronger and more disciplined.  I have done very little self-sacrifice or tough willed commitment during my time on earth.  I know few soldiers in my real life, and have no contact with war and the risk of loosing a loved one.  As war explodes around the globe I stay relatively insulated until someone new invades Tucson. We all depend on cops, soldiers, and sailors to keep us safe from harm, but I normally give them little thought.  War is hell, and most of us defer that hell to warriors and prefer not to know much about the details.  Historical wars seem to me to be linked to spiritual warfare. How do you relate to the warrior archetype?  Do you take the role of protector in your life?  Who protects you?

Thomas Armer and the Confederate Conscription

June 7, 2013 1 Comment

During the Civil War Thomas Armer was conscripted to serve in the Iron Works at Shelby, Alabama to make arms for the Confederacy.   After the war his entire family moved to Texas with Lucinda Jane and her husband, William Taylor, a veteran who was wounded in the war.  His widow applied for a Confederate pension, just as her daughter, Lucinda, did.  The state of Texas granted both widows pensions to help them survive at the end of their lives.  Thomas donated the land for the cemetery where they are now buried.

Thomas Armer (1825 – 1900)
is my 2nd great grandfather
Lucinda Jane Armer (1847 – 1939)
daughter of Thomas Armer
George Harvey Taylor (1884 – 1941)
son of Lucinda Jane Armer
Ruby Lee Taylor (1922 – 2008)
daughter of George Harvey Taylor
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Ruby Lee Taylor

What Would My Ancestors Do?

December 23, 2012 1 Comment

Sears Cemetery

Sears Cemetery, Barnstable

You do not need to hold a seance to contact the spirits of the dead. You can use a few facts, or many facts if you have them, to query your ancestors. These are not fictional characters of history, but your DNA connection to the past. The novels you have read in your life can not possibly match the drama of the story of your particular historical survival.  Your ancestors handed down to you an ethical will.  Those who left no written document have nonetheless passed values to the future, with less precision. You are now actively creating the history and the ethics you want to survive in the world.

I started to study my ancestry to learn about the ethical will of my people, whoever they were.  My mother had never described her family in any racial terms.  I was taught that the Taylors were, in no uncertain terms, Confederate Rebels.  My mother, Ruby Taylor’s very large family all lived in Texas.  They were involved in religion to a much greater degree than our family living in Pittsburgh. The went to church at least three times a week, including Wednesday.  They did a bit of holy rolling and other practices foreign to me. Indeed, my great grandfather Taylor fought in the civil war and received a Confederate pension in Texas in his old age.  He was a farmer and preacher in the Church of Christ.  This story was the known history of the  Taylor tribe, and even this information was never retold to the Taylors of the 1960’s.

What nobody knew at the Taylor family reunion in Houston on the 4th of July each year in the 1960’s was that our Taylor forefather and his wife’s uncle had been burned at the stake as Protestant martyrs in England.  Now that is what I call a Rebel.  The roots of each family feed the ethical expression (also known as fruit) of the family spirit.  The tongue speaking, chicken frying Taylors of Humble/Houston all shared a particular extreme view of the Bible that freaked me out when I was young. The Pentecostal experience, when I was exposed to it, frightened me.   Now that I know about the stake burning it all makes perfect sense.

My forefathers and mothers in the grave yard pictured above lived in Holland, then sailed to Plymouth to build a shining city on a hill, creating a strong, complex ethical will.  They  had a lot to say about the way they thought all cosmology worked in harmony with government.  They had strong convictions by which they lived and died.  Now that I know more about the lives of these elders in my tribe I have a greater responsibility.  I can no longer look at Thanksgiving as a bunch of stuffing.  I need to discover the meaning of  the Puritan Ethic they created. The values they held are more significant than the physical goods they once owned in old Cape Cod.

On the surface they all seem to use the Bible as an excuse for their own human folly.  Just under the surface is the fact that humans have always indulged in folly to learn the folly of our ways.  What did they learn?  How can we acquire wisdom from their knowledge?

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