nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘family history’ Category

time on the shore

with one comment

On this Father’s Day, I remember times spent with my dad.

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When I was a kid, he would take us to the shore near Port Maitland, Nova Scotia, to look for chunks of iron pyrite (fool’s gold) in the rocks.

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time on the shore

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1.

spit of sand

grains in an hourglass

poured through gaps

in a cobble sea

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2.

waves advance

try to tangle me

wash me, turn me

like a sea-smooth stone

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but I know about tides

I move myself inland

each hour

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3.

he watched whales blow here

saw sea horses dance

filled his pockets with sea glass

pitied the sandpiper

sprinkling tracks the waves erase

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I hear the hiss of air

the echoing wail

small stallions prance on my toes

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I close my eyes

forget to move

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4.

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he takes us prospecting

we wedge into crevasses

keen for pyrite gold

cube within cube

embedded in stone

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we always forget the hammer

we chip and scratch with fingernails

reach across rock

dare the waves

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a sanderling cries

quit quit!

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6.

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shorebirds

befriend me

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a dowitcher sews a seam with her bill

bastes salt water to shore

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the sanderling shoos back the tide

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terns

plunge into the ocean

and complain they are wet

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Published as: ‘Time on the Shore’, Canadian Stories 16 (89), February/March 2013

Part of manuscript ‘mnemonic‘ winner of the Alfred G. Bailey Prize, Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick 2016 Writing Competition

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

 

Written by jane tims

June 18, 2017 at 2:42 pm

playing alleys

with 9 comments

Kids in the school yard have played marbles since the late 1800s, when glass marbles were first produced for the mass market.

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When my mom talked about marbles, she always referred to them as alleys, no matter what material was used in their construction. According to Wikipedia, alleys were a specific type of marble. Almost every kind of marble has a specific name. When my son played and collected marbles in the 1980s, some of these terms were regularly heard in our home.

aggie – made of agate

alley – a marble made of alabaster

bumblebee – a yellow and black glass marble

cat’s eye – a marble with a eye-like inclusion

crystal – a clear glass marble of various colours

galaxy – opaque marble with coloured dots

oily – an opaque marble with a sheen or oily finish

onionskin – a marble with surface streaks of colour

ox blood – a marble with a streak of dark red

pearl – opaque marble of single colour and a mother of pearl finish

plainsie – a clear glass marble with inclusion of two or more swirled ribbons of colour

swirly – glass marble with a ribbon inclusion of a single colour

tiger – a clear marble with orange and yellow stripes

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There are lots of other marble types and names.

 

June 21 2016 'playing marbles' Jane Tims

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The language of marbles extends to the various moves in the game:

knuckle down – put hand in position to shoot

keepsies – to play for keeps

quitsies – stop playing without consequences

firing – to shoot a marble

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Such interesting possibilities for the language of a poem!

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Writing about a game of marbles will include all the senses (I think my poem will be from the point of view of a boy playing marbles):

sound – clinking of dishes in the sink; grinding of marbles together in the marble bag

taste – grit of sand stirred by wind across the playground; grit of raspberry seeds

feel – the cold smooth feel of a marble; a chunk of icicle from the roof in December

smell – stirred dust; girls watching the games, smelling of Ivory soap and well water

sight – bubble rising through the glass of the marble; bubbles with rainbows sliding; dew drops on Lady’s Mantle in the garden

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I can hardly wait to write a poem about playing marbles in the school yard!

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Copyright  2016  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

July 15, 2016 at 7:00 am

dancing around the daisy pole

with 4 comments

Perhaps strange to talk about a Maypole in July but Maypoles have been used for summer celebrations throughout the years. In the old stereoscope photo below, published by a company in Meadville Pennsylvania and  St. Louis Missouri, the Maypole is referred to as a Daisy Pole.

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Maypole

A rather blurry scan of a stereoscopic photo, blurry because it is curved for the viewer. The title of the photo is ‘A June Carnival – Dancing Round the Daisy Pole’ 1900

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When my Aunt Jane was young, attending a small school in Nova Scotia, field days were held in June. In her book, she recalls participating in a field day:

… I was in grade 1 … we had a “field day”. My dress was made of blue and white crepe paper and, holding on to the end of a white paper streamer, I danced around a May pole. I remember my great embarrassment as a gust of wind took the streamer out of my hand and sent it high in the air to flutter in the breeze …

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IMG_4470

The decorative Maypole we made years ago to celebrate May 1 every year. Through the years, when I needed ribbon, I occasionally snipped a length from the pole, so there are a few short ribbons!

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July 1 2016 'dancing around the daisy pole' Jane Tims

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daisy pole plan

sketch for ‘dancing around the daisy pole’ … in some ways more lively than the final drawing

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Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

July 11, 2016 at 7:00 am

early schools – the exotic and the common

with 4 comments

In my Aunt’s book about early schooling in Nova Scotia, she tells an amusing story about field days at school:

… I recall another field day when Dr. DeWolfe, Miss Harris, and Miss Baker came with shrubs to our school. The shrubs were ten cents each. My mother had always longed for a weigela and a snowball and we were delighted that at last she could have her wish, for both these varieties were among Dr. DeWolf’s  collection. They were duly planted at my home on the bank of the French River. One turned out to be a high bush cranberry and the other a spiraea, but today we still refer to them as the “snowball” and “weigela” and, I may mention, they have many an offspring throughout our province.

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I must have seen the high bush cranberry and spiraea many times at my mother’s old home, but I don’t remember them in particular. I do remember the gardens, lush with rose bushes, tiger lilies, and grape vines.

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June 17 2016 'an exotic shrub' Jane Tims

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

June 24, 2016 at 6:45 am

Norman Families Living in Missouri in 1870

with 11 comments

In my search for my Great-Grandfather Frank Norman, I became interested in where Norman families were living in Missouri in 1860 and 1870. Frank was born around 1855, so it is likely his family was still in Missouri for the 1860 Census and may have been there in 1870. Locating all the Normans in Missouri also helped me be certain I have not missed any possible Frank Normans in my search.

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In a previous post, I located the Norman families living in Missouri in 1860 on an 1856 map. Today’s post shows the Norman families in Missouri in 1870. Each black dot represents one to three households living at that location in 1870. I have included the table of households at the end of this post, in case this information would help other Norman families in their genealogy searches. I have double-checked the information but please be aware, there may be households missing or incorrect. My next genealogy project is to map the Norman families in Missouri in 1880.

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Norman Families in Missouri 1870

 

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In 1870, there were 148 households in Missouri with people having the surname Norman (in 1860, there were 92). Some of these were families, some with more than one generation in the household, some with as many as nine children. Some were young men or women living or working as servants or laborers with other families. Some were young children, living with foster families or in one case, in an orphanage (Lucy Norman, 12 years old).

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To see the change in the Norman families, compare the 1860 and 1870 map below. The numbers of Norman families have increased due to migration from other states, or because older children have established their own families. Some families or their members have migrated to the cities of Saint Louis or Kansas City.

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By comparing the family lists, the whereabouts of various families can be traced. For example, in Laclede County in 1860 there were two Norman families, including Moses and Betsy Norman who I think may be Frank’s parents. By 1870, this family is no longer in Laclede County or anywhere else in Missouri. Also, I know from other records that their son Benj has died. The other 1860 Norman family (Moses and Lucinda with eight other family members) is now represented by Lucinda and four other family members (Moses died in 1873, so it is unknown why he is not with the family at Census time). I can trace remnants and descendants of this family through to 1880 (Lucinda died in 1891).  There are two other Norman families in Laclede County in 1870, Newton Norman and William Norman. Newton Norman is Lucinda’s son and has his own family.  I do not know the relationship, if any, of William Norman to the Moses and Lucinda family.

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Norman Families Missouri 1860Norman Families in Missouri 1870

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Six of the 1870 Norman families had sons named Francis/Frank. There is also a Frank L (born 1836) in St. Joseph, Buchanan County who is too old to  be my Frank, and an ‘F. Norman of uncertain age in St, Louis.  I think my ancestor was Francis M. Norman, son of Moses and Betsy Norman, living in Hooker, Laclede County in 1860. In 1870, he is 18 years old and if his parents have died, he could be anywhere. Sad sentence for a family historian!!!

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

Family Number (for my own reference) Male (usually husband but also father or son) Age Female (usually wife but also mother or daughter) Age Number Other Normans in House-hold

(* son Francis)

Township County Living with another family
135 Salina 26 Rochester Andrew Cook
139 Laura E. 20 Lincoln Andrew Jackson
124 Alexander 16 Nancy 57 1 Deer Creek Bates
47 Caleb 37 Josephine 35 4 Boone Bates
110 William 29 Julia 19 2 Capps Creek Barry
80 Marion 24 1 Fristoe Benton
7 W. L. 59 Mary 60 4 Cedar Boone
35 James 41 Armina 23 5   * Cedar Boone
138 Maj 21 2 Cedar Boone
22 Enos 48 Nancy 47 6   * Jackson Buchanan
121 Charlotte 63 Center Buchanan Smith
41 Charles 39 4 St. Joseph Buchanan
42 John 39 Mary E. 21 9 St. Joseph Buchanan
55 Frank L. 34 Stacy J. 26 2 St. Joseph Buchanan
68 James 30 St. Joseph Buchanan
69 Jas 30 St. Joseph Buchanan
115 B.F. 27 St. Joseph Buchanan Thompson
141 Mary 16 St. Joseph Buchanan McClean
144 Josephine 13 St. Joseph Buchanan Cunningham
32 Smith 44 Hannah 41 Hamilton Caldwell
71 Fayett 29 Elen 26 4 Warren Camden
48 Caleb 33 Josie 26 4 Dolan Cass
9 George W. 57 5 Cedar Cedar
131 Hillina 32 1 Twnshp 53 Chariton
15 Hiram 52 Juda 52 4 Polk Christian
62 William 33 Sarah 30 3 Polk Christian
91 William 26 Elisabeth 22 Wyaconda Clark
143 Mary 14 Jackson Clark
54 A.M. 34 Fannie 26 Saline Cooper
113 William 28 Eleanor 20 1 Greenfield Dade
27 Eldridge 46 Julia 40 2 Benton Dallas
57 William 34 Lucy 30 8   * Benton Dallas
107 Thomas 21 Adeline 20 Benton Dallas
24 Joseph 47 Phoeba 43 3 Jefferson Davies
117 John F. 27 Sherman Dekalb Tenneson
99 James M.P. 23 Mary F. 23 Findley Douglas Ellison
31 Henry 44 Emilie 24 Boles Franklin
72 James T. 11 1 Miller Gentry Setzer
82 William J. 23 Miller Gentry Sutzer
94 Louis C. 25 Martha F. 25 2 Cooper Gentry
16 James 52 Sarah 40 4 Pond Creek Greene
25 William 47 Mary 41 6 Center Greene
56 Robert 34 Mary 30 2 Wilson Greene
60 Josiah 33 Sarah A. 34 1 Taylor Greene
108 Jesse 29 Susanna 23 Taylor Greene
123 Daniel 17 Malinda 58 Taylor Greene
112 Olon 28 Trenton Grundy Hansen
147 Hattie 12 Marion Grundy Johnson
77 Milton S. 25 Lewis Holt Prie
88 Andy 20 Richmond Howard Patterson
2 Thomas 64 3 Kansas City Jackson
45 Thomas 38 Kansas City Jackson
63 Henry 32 Laura 21 Kansas City Jackson
95 A.J. 24 Kansas City Jackson
96 Thomas 64 3 Kansas City Jackson
105 James 21 Kansas City Jackson Madison
118 Joseph 27 Mary J. 23 3 Kansas City Jackson
3 Thron 62 Mary A. 55 3 Marion Jasper
20 Aaron Vanormond 49 Sarah 44 4 Benton Knox
5 Lucinda 52 4 Hooker Laclede
46 William 38 Mary 33 3 Lebanon Laclede
111 Newton 28 Virginia A. 35 3 Hooker Laclede
102 Joseph 22 Buck Prairie Lawrence Cummings
109 Milford 29 Mary 23 3 Buck Prairie Lawrence
132 Amanda 30 2 Monticello Lewis Howard
33 William 44 Mary 32 Chillicothe Livingston
51 Minnie 12 Chilicothe Livingston Reugger
140 Namie 18 Chillicothe Livingston
142 Basha 15 Chillicothe Livingston Bargdoll
65 Henry 31 Alice A. 25 2 Medicine Livingston
129 Elizabeth 35 2 Blue Mound Livingston
83 George 22 Warren Marion Hanley
134 Nancy L. 26 Somerset Mercer Duree
28 J.B. 45 Rosan 38 7   * Pilot Grove Moniteau
86 James M. 21 Anna 66 Pilot Grove Moniteau
64 J.W. 32 Mary J. 31 2 Willow Fork Moniteau
92 Joseph W.T. 25 Louisa A. 20 2 Clay Monroe
122 Eliza 58 Jackson Monroe Vaughn
18 Allen 50 Catherine 40 4 Danville Montgomery
90 Robert 19 Melissa 23 1 Danville Montgomery
29 William 45 Sarah 35 6 Mill Creek Morgan
13 Thomas M. 53 Julia A. 37 5 Oak Grove Oregon
100 John 23 Nancy 25 1 Oak Grove Oregon
120 George 26 Mary 23 2 Oak Grove Oregon
127 Hester 49 Oak Grove Oregon
38 M.G. 40 Mary 38 6 Piney Oregon
11 A. 54 Roda 36 Marion Ozark
67 James 30 Bowling Green Pettis
74 Jas 26 Mary 24 5 Bowling Green Pettis
75 John D. 26 Calumet Pike Kissinger
116 C.N. 27 Carroll Platte Adams
61 Thomas F. 33 Mary 28 4 Madison Polk
85 William T. 22 Lucretia 52 5 Looney Polk
1 Stephen 64 Mary A. 38 2 Sherman Putnam
43 L.M. 39 Susan 34 4 Sherman Putnam
101 Eph 22 Sherman Putnam Neff
14 George 52 Eliza 46 5 Center Ralls
73 Harry 17 Margaret 14 1 Jasper Ralls Brasher
79 Johnithan 24 Saline Ralls
81 Thomas 24 Mary 23 1 Salt River Ralls
78 Jas B. 24 Sarah 19 Polk Ray
104 Jack 21 E.D. 45 2 Current River Ripley
26 Albert 46 Mary 39 6 Fabius Schuyler
37 James 40 Hannah 66 3 Fabius Schuyler
39 Minor 40 Ellen 34 5 Fabius Schuyler
50 Doctor 35 Martha 25 4 Independence Schuyler
6 James 60 Kelso Scott
128 Caroline 37 1 Kelso Scott Hankerson
23 Charles W. 47 Mary E. 41 4 Moreland Scott
53 William 35 Diana 45 2   * Moreland Scott
70 John C. 30 Ann E. 23 2 Moreland Scott
84 Reuben 22 Harriet 25 2 Moreland Scott
89 James K. 20 Altha 24 Moreland Scott
145 Mary L. 13 Commerce Scott Archer
12 Birkett 54 Carlonie 54 3 Tiger Fork Shelby
40 Thomas 40 Sally 24 1 Osceola St. Clair Barth
8 Daniel 58 Bonhomme Sr. Louis Campbell
17 John 52 Mary 38 St. Louis St. Louis
19 Pat 50 St. Louis St. Louis
21 Daniel 49 Lucy 39 St. Louis St. Louis
49 David 35 St. Louis St. Louis
66 F. ?? St. Louis St. Louis
87 Saml 21 St. Louis St. Louis
93 Leslie R. 25 Mary 26 1 (Eliz 49) St. Louis St. Louis
98 Henry 24 St. Louis St. Louis
103 Michael 22 St. Louis St. Louis Heinsey
119 Dennis 26 St. Louis St. Louis
126 Lizzie 50 St. Louis St. Louis Washington
133 Angeline 30 St. Louis St. Louis
136 N. 25 St. Louis St. Louis
137 Louisa 22 St. Louis St. Louis Nayler
148 Lucy 12 St. Louis St. Louis Winter Orphanage
10 Christ 56 Catherin 56 3 Ste. Genevieve Ste. Genevieve
4 William 62 Sarah 38 2 Castor Stoddard
30 Wm 45 Sarah 38 8 Castor Stoddard
44 Matthew J. 38 Christian 35 6 Castor Stoddard
106 Levi 21 Missouri 21 3 Castor Stoddard
58 Andrew 36 Martha 34 6 Liberty Stoddard
36 Eli 40 Eliz 40 4 Liberty Stoddard
125 Elizabeth 42 3 Liberty Stoddard
146 Elizabeth 42 3 Liberty Stoddard
97 Enos W. 24 Mary E. 20 1 Clay Sullivan
59 John A. 33 Margaret 23 4 (Louisa 53) Cass Texas
34 Alfred R. 43 Cornelia 39 6 Henry Vernon
52 Jacob F. 35 Eliza 33 3   * Henry Vernon
76 George 25 Nellie L. 29 1 Osage Vernon
130 Henry 17 Nancy 33 3 Warrenton Warren
114 W.S. 28 Sarah C. 22 2 Various Wright

Written by jane tims

June 3, 2016 at 7:35 am

Norman Families Living in Missouri in 1860

with 6 comments

In my search for my Great-Grandfather Frank Norman, I became interested in where Norman families were living in Missouri in 1860. Frank was born around 1855, so it is likely his family was still in Missouri for the 1860 Census. Locating all the Normans in Missouri also helped me be certain I have not missed any possible Frank Normans in my search.

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To do this, I searched the 1860 US Census for the name Norman and located each family on an 1856 map of Missouri. Each black dot represents one or more households living at that location in 1860. I have included the table of households at the end of this post, in case this information would help other Norman families in their genealogy searches. I have double-checked the information but please be aware, there may be households missing or incorrect. My next genealogy project is to map the Norman families in Missouri in 1870.

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Norman Families Missouri 1860

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In 1860, there were 92 households in Missouri with people having the surname Norman. Some of these were families, some with more than one generation in the household, some with as many as eight children. Some were young men or women living or working as servants or laborers with other families. Some were young children, living with foster families.

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Four of Norman families had sons named Francis. As I have explained in earlier posts, I have eliminated three of these as possible candidates for my Great-Grandfather.  I think my ancestor  was Francis M. Norman, son of Moses and Betsy Norman, living in Hooker, Laclede County.

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

 

Norman Families in Missouri in 1860 in order of County (from US Census)

Household Number (for my own reference) Male (usually husband but also father or son) Age Female (usually wife but also mother or daughter) Age Number Other Normans in House-hold

(* son Francis)

Township County Family name if living with another family
14 Jas 37 Margaret 35 4 Jefferson Andrew
34 Lewis 47 Martha 26 4 Liberty Barry
35 Joseph 35 Mahala 33 7 Liberty Barry
47 Joel 39 Mary Ann 26 3 Shoal Creek Barry
73 George 68 Rachel 68 Liberty Barry
24 Mary 31 3 Cedar Boone
74 Jas T. 32 Cedar Boone Senor
65 Charlotte 60 Center Buchanan Smith
29 William 43 Eliz 27 4 Williamsburg Callaway
8 Jas 22 Eliz N. 24 Wakenda Carroll
54 C.P. 26 Josephine 18 2 Dolan Cass
12 Louisa 15 Jackson Clark McMillan
31 Charles 9 St. Francisville Clark Wayland
75 Jos 23 Moniteau Cooper Jones
53 Samuel 34 America 38 4 Benton Dallas
25 Joseph 36 Phoebe 32 4 Jefferson Davies
66 Elizabeth 60 Jefferson Davies Downs
30 William 9 Clay Dunklin Smith
76 John 40 Angeline 20 Union Dunklin
9 James 14 1* (F.) Boone Franklin Brauley
44 William A. 36 Mary A. 30 4* (Wm.F.) Wilson Greene
57 James C. 42 Sarah 30 2 Pond Creek Greene
77 Robert P. 25 Mary L. 19 Wilson Greene
61 Aaron (Vanarman) 39 Sarah 34 4 Center Knox
38 Moses 65 Lucinda 35 8 Hooker Laclede
39 Moses 29 Betsy 30 2 * (Francis M.) Hooker Laclede
60 William 14 Buck Prairie Lawrence Grammar
78 J.B. 30 Unknown 25 1 Twnshp 57 Linn
18 B.F. 27 Malinda 24 4 Chillicothe Livingston
79 Elias 30 Lefy 20 1 Chillicothe Livingston
13 B. 46 Caroline 45 7 Warren Marion
80 Giles 27 Ohio Mississippi Knowles
20 A.R. 32 C.A. 29 2 Twnshp 44 Moniteau
21 John 34 Rosanna 29 5* (S.F.) Twnshp 44 Moniteau
22 Alfred 60 Ann 56 3 Twnshp 44 Moniteau
63 Ann 56 Twnshp 44 Moniteau
81 George 21 Twnshp 44 Moniteau
82 Jacob F. 24 Twnshp 44 Moniteau
10 Thomas 14 C.C. 16 Jefferson Monroe Scobee
11 Handkerson 30 Nannie 36 3 Jefferson Monroe
68 Clarissa 45 Marion Monroe Irons
27 Allen 40 Catherine 30 5 Danville Montgomery
28 Barry 35 Dulcina 34 4 Danville Montgomery
64 Susan 69 Danville Montgomery Whitesides/Armstrong
45 Samuel 7 New Madrid New Madrid Fluty
83 William 28 New Madrid New Madrid White
26 Oliver 26 Arraminta 18 2 Nodaway Nodaway
5 Thomas N. 40 Julia A. 25 5 Oak Grove Oregon
6 Benjamin 52 Hester 39 1 Oak Grove Oregon
23 M.G. 30 Mary A. 29 3 Piney Oregon
7 John B. 17 Chlany 32 4 Clarkesville Pike
84 William 45 Eliza 32 4 Pettis Platte
40 Thomas J. 49 Lucina 43 8 Johnson Polk
41 G.W. 43 Eliza 36 6 Johnson Polk
19 L.M. 29 Susannah 26 3 York Putnam
85 Henry 32 Spencer Ralls
1 Samuel 22 Fabius Schuyler
2 Hannah 53 3 Fabius Schuyler
3 A. 36 Mary 28 4 Fabius Schuyler
86 James 29 Anna 19 Fabius Schuyler
87 Minor 26 Ellen 18 1 Liberty Schuyler
49 John 30 Mary 30 4 Mount Pleasant Scotland
59 Hankerson 59 Eliz 50 1 Harrison Scotland
15 Charles W. 37 Ally 72 4 Moreland Scott
16 John 50 Diana 36 5 Moreland Scott
48 Louis 43 Permelia 43 3 Kelso Scott
58 Washington 23 Bennetta 42 2 Kelso Scott
69 Bethia 43 1 Rickland Scott Archer
70 James 50 Kelso Scott
71 Henry 35 Eliza 30 3 Jackson Shelby
88 James 26 Tiger Shelby Graham
33 John 42 Mary 30 1 St. Louis St. Louis
56 Robert 20 St. Louis St. Louis
72 Dan 45 St. Louis St. Louis
89 Betson 63 St. Louis St. Louis
90 John 30 St. Louis St. Louis
91 William 30 Anna 30 1 St. Louis St. Louis
36 W.W. 53 Belinda 40 6 Castor Stoddard
37 William F. 37 Sarah 28 6 Castor Stoddard
42 Eli 32 Eliz 34 6 Liberty Stoddard
43 Elija 32 Elizabeth 32 3 Liberty Stoddard
92 Mathew J. 30 Christian 22 3 Castor Stoddard
46 Thomas 7 Mary 8 North Salem Sullivan Harris
50 Joseph 34 Virginia 34 5 West Locust Sullivan
51 George 35 Alcinda 35 8 West Locust Sullivan
52 Stephen 54 Frances 60 3 West Locust Sullivan
55 James 22 Mary 18 Ozark Texas
32 John 38 Deborah 38 6 Ozark Webster
67 Martha 49 Marshfield Webster
62 Peter 25 Jackson Westport Thoes

 

Written by jane tims

May 18, 2016 at 7:00 am

old schools in the landscape

with 4 comments

In my last few posts, I have focussed on my research toward a new poetry project I will be beginning. I know there are interesting stories to be told about the ‘inside’ of the one room school. Because of my interests in botany and community history, I would like to reflect on the ‘outside’ of the one room school – its surroundings and geographic location.

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I still have to do some thinking about this project. I know that people who attended one room schools will have stories to tell about how the local terrain and landscape influenced their schooling.

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A school’s surroundings would have impacted learning in many ways. For example, the view of a lake from the school window may have caused many a pupil to settle into daydreams.  Interesting fields, hills, and watercourses would provide the teacher with opportunities for nature study.

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The location of the school would also influence recess and lunch-time activities. My Dad wrote about damming a local stream so they could skate in the winter months. The same stream meant fishing in May and June. A nearby hillside would be great for sledding in January and February. Trees in the school yard?  – A place to climb or to hang a swing.

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'willow swing'

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Students walked to school before the 1950s. The study I made of schools in Upham Parish, New Brunswick suggests that students walked as many as three miles to school in the late 1800s. Hills made the long walk to school more difficult. The winds by a lake or other shore land would be bitter on a winter day. Rivers, lakes and wetlands meant a place to hunt tadpoles. A spring by the road? – A cool drink. My Uncle, forced to wear a hat/scarf he hated, used the bridge on the way to school as a place to hide his headgear!

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One room schools were located near clusters of houses and various community activities. The walk to school may have passed a church, a post office or a community store. Hardwood forests meant lumber mills and, in spring, maple syrup and the sugar shack. Good land meant farms; grazing land meant cows to outstare.

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On a drive last weekend, we found an older building along the Saint John River that may have been a school. The Upper Queensbury Community Hall has all the characteristics of a one room school – the steep roof, rectangular footprint, and tall side windows.

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Upper Queensbury Community Hall 1

Upper Queensbury Community Hall near Nackawic, New Brunswick. I will have to make some inquiries to find out if it was a school house at one time.

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A look at a map shows some of the landscape features in the area.

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Queensbury

Map showing landscape features of part of Queensbury Parish, near Nackawic, New Brunswick. The yellow dot is the location of the Upper Queensbury Community Hall which may have been a one room school.

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The Saint John River was nearby, although further than it is today since the Mactaquac Dam (built in 1968) has raised the level of the water. The river’s possibilities for fishing, skating and boating were only a downhill trek away. The terrain is gently undulating, as the names of nearby communities (Day Hill and Granite Hill) suggest. Local geographic points the community children may have known include the many-tiered Coac Falls and Coac Lake (an old road runs past the community hall back through the woods to the lake, about a mile away). The aerial photo (taken near the end of September) shows the red of the cranberry bog – picking cranberries may have been a well-known activity. Sugar maples are common in the area, as are old ‘sugar shacks’. When I interview people who went to the one room school I will have to remember to ask them about their memories of these places.

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Writing poetry about these ideas will be so much fun!

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Copyright  2016  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

May 9, 2016 at 7:11 am

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