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Cajun Navy Reporting For Duty

August 28, 2017 1 Comment

Getty Image With rescue efforts still underway in Houston following the city getting hammered by Hurricane Harvey over the weekend, many volunteers have taken it upon themselves to help people trapped in homes or on rooftops, as local authorities are inundated with more rescue requests then they can handle. One such group of volunteers have…

via Louisiana’s Volunteer ‘Cajun Navy’ Tells Texans In Need How They Can Request A Rescue By Boat — Real Stories – UPROXX

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)
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.

National Safety Month #McKinney Style

June 8, 2015 1 Comment

The month of June is designated as National Safety Month in the US.  Attention to safe practices and awareness is geared toward making the country safer.  During this year we are faced with graphic evidence that one threat to our safety can be the police.  The teen pool party in McKinney, Texas that turned ugly can only be seen as inappropriate.  An enraged cop tackled a teen girl smashing her face into the lawn, then drew his gun on bystanders.  I feel the fear as I watch these proceedings.  I imagine what my own feelings might be if I was taken down by an irrational armed cop.  This reality does make me fear and loathe what police do in my country.

The Department of Justice and the White House sponsored a task force to make recommendations for 21st century policing.  The report names 6 pillars on which to focus:

  1. Building Trust & Legitimacy
  2. Policy & Oversight
  3. Technology & Social Media
  4. Community Policing & Crime Reduction
  5. Training & Education
  6. Officer Wellness & Safety

There is a wider gap each day between the cops and the communities paying for police protection.  It is not an easy task to build trust when we observe this kind of event on a regular basis.  Law enforcement officers are hired to prevent crime and keep the peace.  When they look like the most criminal among us, we are right to question the authority we have given them.  I don’t know how to reverse this trend, other than doing what you can to love your neighbor and treat him as you want to be treated.  That includes all of us.

Stories or Scenes? #ROW80

February 9, 2015 7 Comments



My poetic week was full of images of the deep south and history. I studied ancestors from Alabama who moved to Texas after the Civil War, which conjured up all kinds of images. There are descriptive written accounts of the places and events, especially the battles. The river flood plain where my people settled was deadly with cholera and disease. This may be the reason the father of the family died so young, but there is no evidence.  I become very wrapped up in the general as well as the specific information I find about my ancestors.  I imagine daily life as well as how the big events must have taken place.  After their town became a ghost town my mother’s family loaded up ox carts and moved to Texas.  There is a lot of water and low land on their route, and roads were not established everywhere.  Elizabeth Langley must have been full of stories by the time she died at age 96.  I have no pictures of her, but her image is forming in my imagination.  She was no stranger to mosquitos, and she must have had a strong constitution.  She is one of these people in my family tree who perfectly represents a certain time in history.  She has the makings of a very interesting character in a story.  I have decided to follow my fellow writers and make a draft of a story.  I am not ready to outline, but for once I plan to draft, edit, edit, and add, rather than finish and publish whatever this will be.  It may be a short story, or I might be able to make it rhyme…like Evangeline. I thank you all for showing me that I could use some extra steps to create better written works. I have faith that this will work.

Elizabeth Langley, Texas

Elizabeth Langley, Texas

Scarlet O’Hara she clearly was not,

Her life was difficult, tragic, and hot

My range of subjects has been narrow but evolving, which is all I expect of my budding poetic voice. I have a new feeling about the poems, which is kind of a documentation of my progress as a writer.  The worse they sound now, the more potential there is to see them improve over time.  Sometimes I think of truly terrible rhymes, and hope to start using them instead of the trite kind of thing I do at this moment.  I play around with bad rhymes in the pool, and later when I am dry they have gone to the place where bad rhymes hide. I need to work on this.  I plan to write the daily poetry to keep the practice going while I write scenes or descriptions of Elizabeth Langley’s life.  It was so long I may need to pick a short period to cover in the story.  I might choose reaction to the end of the Civil War, which was a big deal for all involved.

I believe the best thing I have discovered through this challenge is poetry written by others.  I listen and read poetry daily now, and think that alone is a wonderful upgrade to my life.  Some work makes me laugh, and some brings out curiosity.  I am thrilled to see so many different forms used to express poetic thoughts.  It is liberating to find so many free style as well as  highly formatted ways to go about painting with words.   There is no right or wrong, but some have more impact than others.  This week the UA Poetry Center will offer two readings I plan to attend, one in house and another next Saturday at the Tucson Botanical Gardens.  The Valentine reading at the gardens is on birds.  We will receive a packet of poems about birds, and they will be read and discussed.  They have designed the perfect valentine for me!!!


Mama Jewel, Queen of East Austin

July 25, 2014 5 Comments

I am a visitor in the neighborhood of East Austin, Texas for a couple of weeks. On the first day of my visit I was walking down my street and met Jewel Thomas Lusk sitting on her front porch. She is the neighborhood watch, the historian, the social director, and godmother to some of the kids around here. If you live here you know her, or at least she knows all about you. I like talking to her about the way the neighborhood developed. She has lived here for more than 58 years, so she is well informed on the subject.  I wanted to interview her on video but she would not give her consent.  She has a strong accent and told me she does not want anyone making fun of her.  She also has a job working at a law office once a week and does not want any kind of publicity to mess up her deal with the lawyers.  I do understand, but I still wish she had agreed to talk to the gentle readers.

She is a Baptist who enjoys dressing up sharp and singing on Sundays.  This weekend there is some big to do a the Tabernacle that will include all the Baptist churches around here.  She is planning to wear a fancy green outfit with a brimmed hat.  I do wish I could see her all dressed up because I am sure it is impressive.  She also enjoys Coors silver bullets, which she informed me she was responsible for finally getting in this town.  We had a little difference of opinion about when Coors actually arrived in Austin, but sometime in the 1960’s is correct.  This beer was highly prized and personally imported ( that’s right, imported) from Colorado, which was the only state where you could buy it.   Jewel told me she used to buy it in Ft. Worth and bring it down here, but was finally able to convince the mayor of the city to help her bring Coors to Austin. I have no doubt that this story is true.  She can literally tell you everything about everyone who has lived around here.  I do hope somebody will talk her into recording her stories on video so that they will not be lost.

When I went to college here I was 17 and could not get into bars to hear music…with one exception.  The black clubs on 6th Street did not discriminate against the white youth, and let us into their clubs.  I got to see BB King and Bobby Blue Bland one night playing about 10 feet in front of us.  We were 4 or 5 teen white chicks in an all black club having a wonderful time.  No problem.  I can’t remember if they served us alcohol or not, because we were not really drinkers, just BB fans.  Jewel and I reminisced about those clubs and that music for a while, and I wondered if she and I had ever danced together back then.  She still likes to dance, but says for dancing she switches to Crown Royal because beer is not the thing for dancing.  She is a remarkable woman, representing a front porch attitude that has faded with time….but not on her corner of the world.  I am grateful to be her neighbor for a couple of weeks.  She is the essence of cool.

I Love Dead People

July 17, 2014 4 Comments

Oakwood Cemetery

Oakwood Cemetery

My own fascination with dead people is neither religious nor political. I study my own ancestry to get a broader understanding of history and how I came into being. When I travel I love nothing better than to check out  cemeteries to meet the locals and see what they have been doing. I am lucky right now to be situated between two very old and very large grave yards.  All of these people have died in Austin, Texas over the span of hundreds of years.  I notice what similar features the plots and monuments have in common, and then notice what makes each grave distinct.  The designs and the grand expenditures tell one part of the tale, but if you let yourself imagine what their lives were like and how they made the journey here history becomes a real human story.  Some might think graves are macabre, but to me they are clues to the ongoing conditions of cultural change.  The dead at Oakwood express themselves in a few ways:

The handshake:

The private yard:

The Texan:

I learned that some of the important people in history in Oakwood have QR codes on the grave to give you the entire story of their lives.  I did not have my phone with me today, so I will go back and try this super smart way to get more out of a grave yard visit.  The grounds are lovely and well maintained.  I count this one as a top destination for those of us who love graves, topped only by all the people who fell off the Matterhorn who are buried in Zermatt (still the best I have seen), and the one in Salzburg at the monastery.  Y’all come and discover these dead Texans for yourselves.  They are cute and friendly.

Travel Time

July 16, 2014 2 Comments



Time may be finite, but I notice that it can expand and contract based on circumstances. When I am home I always have some day to day chores waiting for me. Being busy is not my style, but I do cross items off the to do list in a regular fashion. Planning is big for me, but it often leads to changing plans.  I drive very little by choice, so on line shopping is a big friend of mine when I am not supporting local businesses.  My routine includes time with friends, my dog, and my neighbors as well as tending the garden and running the house. I find excitement in studying my ancestors, history, culture and the arts.  I rarely need to go anywhere to stimulate my imagination and creativity.   I had a long career as a travel agent, so I am very able to make choices and plans that suit my fancy in terms of a destination.  I like to spend my holiday time involved in activities I either can’t do at home, or just don’t do at home.  Some of my favorite vacation features are:

  • Natural bodies of water..of any kind, with a strong preference for hot springs
  • Sporty, creative community
  • City life..I like nature just fine, but I don’t want to stay in it
  • Shopping of an unusual, artistic nature
  • Music
  • Museums, art, science, anything
  • Historical societies
  • Graveyards
  • Interesting cuisine and agriculture

My budget for both time and money is set free during holiday times.  I look for new ways to spend both that I have never done.  I do a lot of research before i visit a place.  I usually have a long list of possible places I want to go, and then let the weather be the deciding factor.  I need some rainy day plans as well as some perfect day plans.  My main goal in traveling is to flow into  a new schedule, a new culture, and a new rhythm based on what I discover.  I usually do some reconnaissance on foot to see what the neighborhood has to offer before I set out in a car.  I study maps and read reviews to help me decide what to investigate.  It is a perfect combination of very well informed and not obligated to anything.  I am looking forward to doing this for the next to weeks in Austin, Texas, live music capitol of the US.  I hope my gentle readers will enjoy the trip as you come along for the ride.


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

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