Thursday, January 14, 2016

Progression of Life

Last August I came across a poem called "Alzheimer's Poem" that really touched my heart.  I found that the poem is actually titled "Do Not Ask Me To Remember" and written by Owen Darnell.  I located a copy of the poem on the Alzheimers . net blog   

My mother suffered from dementia before passing away in September of 2008. My brother, sister and I battled this disease for her the last couple of years of her life.  We don't know when it started or if she even understood what was really going on.  There were times that she seemed herself and other times, nothing made sense.  I could get so angry inside.

Here is "Progression of Life"  that I wrote in February, 2012. 
Life! It doesn't slow down for anyone. The progression is the same - we are a child, a young adult, middle-age, retired, old-age and then we ............. We can't control the progression. The progression may be short or it may be long. Oh, we can sometimes do things to control the speed of the progression; but the progression is still inevitable.

As a young child, do you remember when an old relative passed away? You know, the great-great uncle that you couldn't remember ever seeing before. He's just an old man - sort of spooky, too. He just doesn't look real lying in that pretty shiny wooden box with the satin pillow and cover; hands folded gently across his waist. The smell of roses consumes you. You really don't feel good and just don't want to be there, but your mother holds your hand close to her side as she talks to other unknown relatives. Her voice is quiet and soft. You feel safe with her by your side.

As an older child, a young child of one of your mother's friend's dies. You go with your mother to the funeral. You don't know too many of the people there, but you understand their sadness. You also feel the sadness seeing a child lying in that pretty shiny wooden box with the satin pillow and cover; with hands gently folded across his waist. The fragrance of roses is familiar. It's sort of scary seeing a child like yourself and you stand close to your mother - and you feel safe.

You grow up and start a life of your own. Through all the ups and downs, your mother is always there to lend encouragement, advice and yes, sometimes a little financial help. She never tries to run your life; she is just your support when you need her. You feel safer just knowing that she is close by - you are still her child. She is still your mother.

The progression of life continues and then it hits you. Your mother is at the old-age phase. She's acting different. Oh, she has always been a little eccentric, but this is different. She talks about things that aren't real. She forgets to pay bills. She is not taking care of herself. She thinks people are going to take her stuff. She thinks other people are you......... We children start talking about what we need to do. There are no good choices for our mother. In order for her to be safe, we are going to have to take her happiness from her. The happiness that she had worked so hard for. The happiness that she so deserved. But, she can't live by herself surrounded by all her pretties and possessions. The hallucinations have taken over.

She walks downtown and sits on a bench outside the Subway waiting for her son to pick her up. There were no plans for her son to pick her up. Her son gets a phone call from the nice sheriff. Her son goes into town to pick her up and take her back home. She knew he was suppose to pick her up.

Decisions were made. She was not happy. While she stayed with me, there were good days and there were bad days. Sometimes we could talk and remember the good times. A lot of the times we argued over stupid stuff - she didn't want to take her medicine, she didn't want me throwing her trash away. She wanted to save everything. She would lock me out of the bedroom. I tried not to get angry, but there were times that I was so angry inside. I tried not to be because I knew she couldn't help it. I just wanted her to be like she use to be. I wanted her to be my mother. I wanted my mother back!

Before I would go to work, I would turn on the TV to CNN. I never understood why she wanted to watch that all day. She could get so upset over politics. I would bring her breakfast and lunch to her. Then, made sure she took her medicine. She stayed in the bedroom with the door closed during the day. She didn't like my dog and my son was also there. She just felt safer in the bedroom. I would lean down and give her a hug and kiss before leaving for work. She would always tell me I looked pretty. One morning she said, "If I can do anything for you, just let me know. I don't have much, but I will help you."

I think it took me awhile to realize why I would get so angry with her. I was angry because I was losing my mother and it was happening right before my eyes. I couldn't control it. I was losing the person that made me feel safe and loved me no matter what. She wasn't fighting the dementia so she could keep being my mother. I wanted her to fight the dementia - wasn't I giving her a pill to help slow that progression down?

Mothers always consider their children still their children no matter how old they are. I had not thought of myself as a child for years. Actually, I'm not sure I ever thought of myself as a child. But, like we never stop being a mother, we also never stop being a child. The anger was really coming from the child in me. The child was losing her mother, the loving, protective (and, sometimes eccentric) mother that made her feel safe and loved no matter what.

She really couldn't help that the dementia had taken over. There was no fight left to fight. It was just the progression of life...............

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Barker House in Edenton, North Carolina

Leaving Nags Head, NC on Sunday, we headed west to Edenton, NC which is just a little over an hour's drive.  We took US-64 / NC-94 to NC-32 / NC-37, the scenic route.  After checking out the Roanoke River Lighthouse, we walked over to The Barker House before heading to the 'Nothin Fancy Cafe & Market' restaurant - southern cooking at its best.

The Barker House was a cozy white frame house with porches furnished with white wooden rockers off the first and second floors overlooking Edenton Bay.  I'm going to admit at this point that I do get confused over when one body of water ends and another one begins so I am attaching a map of the area from Nags Head to Edenton.

The Barker House was built in 1782 by Thomas & Penelope Barker.  After hearing of the Boston Tea Party, Penelope Barker, along with 50 women held their own Edenton Tea Party and all signed a petition promising to boycott British goods on October 25, 1774.  This was one of the first acts of political involvement of women in the New World.  The petition was published by a London newspaper along with a political cartoon supporting the colonists in which women are pouring tea out of the tea caddies while the British tax men stand in the doorway.  Titled "The Patriotic Ladies of Edenton," the original is in the British Museum.  An enlargement hangs in the Barker House.  

"Taking Tea" is very important at the Barker House and is served on the third Wednesday of every month.  Party sandwiches, breads and cakes, sweet treats and other appetizers are provided by the ladies of Edenton.  I had to buy the cookbook with some of these fabulous old family recipes used for tea time.  The recipes were compiled by the ladies of the Edenton Historical Commission.  Here are some of the things we saw walking around the house.  It was so interesting, I wish I had taken more pictures.  

While the house has three floors, it is quite small, but is actually larger than the initial home built in 1782.  You can walk around at your own pace, but was not able to go to the 3rd floor. There were several volunteers offering tidbits of information on the history of the home, family and town.  Genuine friendly southern charm.  I love to listen to older ladies speaking with a beautiful southern accent.

The Barker House does have a facebook page if you would like to check Edenton out The Barker House Facebook Page 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Raise Your Hand, Mom!

Back in the late 1980s, I use to go to auctions to purchase glass pieces for my collections.  There are very few auctions that have Greentown glass for sale except around Greentown, IN.  I found that there was going to be an auction in Anderson, IN and they had a Teardrop & Tassel green pitcher.  The auction was on a Thursday or Friday morning - can't remember which.  My son, Robbie, who was about 4 or 5 years old at the time would go to auctions with me.   I collected carnival glass, too and he knew the pattern names as well as I did (he was so much fun).  I had never been to this auction house before so we left a little early just in case I got lost.

I'm sure we put the Patsy Cline cassette into the cassette player, Robbie's favorite is Walkin' After Midnight, and off we went.  No problem finding the place and I had plenty of time to look around.  The building was a huge, tall barn-shape building with a row of windows up around the ceiling.  When you walked in, there were some steps that you walked down to the auction area.  On the other side of the entrance was a food concession area.  The sun was out and it was going to be a nice day.  There were rows of tables with all sort of glassware that was going to be auctioned off, so I went to see the Greentown pitcher that I wanted.

Now, there were some older men standing around the entrance talking.  Appeared that they weren't all that interested in the auction items.  Probably just there with their wives who were.  Now, when Robbie was a little boy, he was pretty friendly and did not know a stranger.  He loved to talk...........So, off he went over to where the men were and joined in their conversation while I went looking.  Soon, it was time for the auction.  Robbie and I found a couple of chairs towards the back and sat down.  There were 3 older ladies sitting next to Robbie.  Robbie always behaved at auctions and paid attention to what was going on.

About 30 minutes into the auction, the auctioneer held up a Daisy & Button crystal clear large relish dish.  When he held it up, the sun shining through the window made that dish sparkle like you would not believe.  It looked gorgeous but it wasn't something that I would have bid on.  Well, Robbie saw that Daisy & Button crystal clear dish sparkling from the sunlight shining through those upper windows and yelled "Mom, raise your hand!  Raise your hand!"  He didn't take his eyes off the dish, he was so excited.  I could see the older ladies smiling.  Of course, I had to buy it and I wasn't going to let anyone outbid me either.

After the bidding, the runner brought the Daisy & Button crystal clear relish dish to us and gave it to Robbie.  He just sat there and looked it over and showed it to the ladies sitting next to him.  He was so excited and proud of that dish.  The love in my heart for my son was bursting that day.  And to top it off, I also got the Greentown Teardrop & Tassel green pitcher.  We were happy campers driving home listening to Patsy.

I use that Daisy & Button crystal clear relish dish on holidays and I think I tell the story every time I use it.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Reuben Williams Remembers 'Bellings' in Kosciusko County

While researching Rachel Saul Fawley, sister to my great, great, great-grandfather Edward Saul, and her life in Kosciusko Co, Indiana, I came upon an article written by General Reuben Williams (1831-1905) called 'Early Times in Kosciusko - Incidents and Anecdotes of Pioneer Days and the Early Settlement of this Region' written in 1901.  General Reuben Williams had served in the Civil War and afterwards, established the "Northern Indianian" newspaper now known as the "Warsaw Times-Union."  Rachel had married Rev. David Fawley in 1846.

Reub Williams had been writing about what the young 'pioneer' lads did for amusement in their early years and remembered that he had neglected to mention 'belling.'
"In some of the earliest of these sketches, I alluded to several of the amusements that were fashionable in the early days, if, indeed, such a word would apply to anything the pioneers did at all.  Whatever amusement they enjoyed was always of home manufacture, or invention, for the reason that, unlike the present day, nothing came to them to enlighten the ceaseless round of hard labor.............In enumerating some of them a few weeks ago, I omitted to mention the 'charivari' or the celebrating of a newly wedded pair by "belling" - a feature that has almost ceased, only sporadic cases coming to light in these times now and then,  Usually "bellings" were participated in to a great extent by the uninvited to the wedding proper, and while in early days there was an occasional groom, or a father of the bride who resented the oft times too rough and too hilarious proceedings, yet there were many principals in the wedding of sixty years ago who would have felt slighted did not a "belling" follow.  In fact, "bellings" in early days were participated in, not only because it was the custom of the pioneers, but in order to work off the surplus of good spirits common to the young people of the period and I remember a good many 'charivaris' that myself and Marion Warner participated in.  I went with him on many occasions, but he would go even though the parties lived ten miles away.  I have known a number of these "bellings" to end in a racket, a fight or two, some black eyes, and even one occasion an enraged bride's father went so far as to send a bullet from his squirrel rifle into the crowd, very fortunately only slightly wounding one of the belling party in the arm.  
We must remember that most weddings took place at the bride's home.  This was Indiana back in the early 1800s and there weren't the big churches that could hold a large party of people.  The people that actually attended the marriage ceremony were the immediate family and back then, the family size was usually quite large.  There just wasn't the room for friends and neighbors of the bride and groom.  Reub Williams went on to describe his first "belling."
"I remember when one of the Fawley boys was married - - David, if I remember correctly, and now a man considerably older than the writer -- and of course the party had to be belled.  I accompanied as a lad the detachment that represented the then village of Warsaw to the place of the wedding -- a log house about five miles west of this city -- where we were to be joined by all of the country boys for miles around.  The late Elijah Tusing -- a whole-souled, jolly young man of that period -- was selected as 'captain' of the combined forces, and as this was one of the first "bellings" I had ever participated in, it was a novelty to me.   
 Anything that would make a noise -- the louder and the most dismal, the better -- was used, and I remember cow bells of all sizes, home-made triangles, sleigh bells, horns of all sizes and even to "mother's" six-foot dinner horn, (I wonder if there are any of my readers who can remember how some women could make that old dinner horn sound the signal for meals so melodiously and so loud -- that it could be heard on all the adjoining farms?) horse-fiddles, shot-guns, single-barreled pistols -- it was before the revolver had appeared -- but of all the inventions for making a noise so loud and so hideous that even its memory still grates on my nerves at this late day!  
The box sat on its bottom and a man at each end of the rail would pull and push backward and forward, the resined edge of the rail coming in contact with the edges of the box, similarly treated, and as the two box edges gave out a different tone as the rail was drawn back and forth, the screeching was not only heard miles away int the night time, but it certainly was the most discordant, dismal, hideous sound conceivable."
Wait, did he say his first 'belling' was for a David Fawley's wedding?  Now, there were a lot of Fawleys around....remember that our Rev. David Fawley first came to Kosciusko County, IN with his parents and siblings in 1844.  David was 20, the oldest and had 8 brothers; maybe 9.  But, our David married Rachel in Ohio and not Kosciusko County so I don't think it could have been 'David' and must have been one of his brothers.  And since Reub Williams was born in 1831, he could have been a teenager or young adult when any of the brothers married.  All I can say is that I am sure glad that this tradition is no longer practiced.

Here is a link to the complete article by Reub Williams published December 21, 1901: Early Times in Kosciusko County  I really enjoyed reading his articles - Reuben Williams seemed quite a character himself.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Rachel Saul - Just The Wife of David Fawley

I was working on the Saul family tree and imputing the information about Edward Saul's children.  I decided to enter the information about Edward's siblings before going to Edward's children.  Edward Saul (my great, great, great-grandfather) was the oldest of 7 children born to Samuel and Anna Saul.  Edward's sister, Rachel Saul, was born about 2 years after him and in 1846 at the age of 18, married a Rev. David Fawley.  She died at the age of 62.

Rachel and David had 12 children and had moved from Ohio to Kosciusko County, Indiana in 1848 after the death of their first child who was about a year old when she died.  Their second child was just about 4 when he died.  Their 10th and 11th children were twins and one died when she was about 6 years old just 4 days after the 12th child died who was about 6 months old. The other twin died just before she turned 20.  Needed to check out this Rev. David Fawley..........

David Fawley was born in Brocks Gap, Rockingham Co, Virginia in 1824.  When he was 10, he and his family moved to Crawford Co, OH and there grew to manhood.  In 1844 he and his family moved to Kosciusko Co, IN in Harrison Twp.  After a little more than a year, David returned to Ohio where he married Rachel Saul in Fairfield Co. in 1846.  Their first child, Margaret, was born in 1847.   Their second child, Samuel, was born in 1848.  The older child, Margaret, died in 1848 about 6 days after her brother, Samuel, was born.  David then moved his wife and baby son to Kosciusko Co, IN.  Another child, Mary ElizaCatherine, was born in 1850.  Samuel died in 1852, just a month before his 4th birthday.
Elder David Fawley  -  In 1848, with his wife and one child, our subject returned to this county, coming with a team and wagon, which required eight days to make the journey.  They were obliged to camp out at night and follow the trails and Government roads.  In 1873 he located upon his present farm in Harrison Township, and has been a successful farmer.  In 1860 he was ordained to preach, having united with the Old School Baptists, since which time he has been a zealous laborer in the Masters vineyard.  He is the present pastor of a church located upon his own farm.  Being of an unassuming and retiring nature, he has always refused office, although frequently solicited to be a candidate.  He owns 191 acres of good land, with modern buildings, and it is considered one of the best farms in the township.  Politically he affiliates with the Democratic party. 
(From the Biographical and Historical Record of Kosciusko County, Indiana published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1887 - page 222).
"Providence Primitive Baptist Church - organized October 5, 1850 by five members:  Abraham Truex, Sarah Truex, Elia.s.O. Pittman, Sarah Pittman ad Jacob Francis.  Primitive Baptists trace their American origin to the early colonies.  The English Baptists from which these Primitive Baptist emerged were often referred to as Particular Baptists.  They held to a very strict form of Calvinistic doctrine.  The acrostic TULIP is often used to describe the main doctrinal points.  T:  represents the Total Depravity of man.  U:  is the Unconditional Election of those God chooses to save from Hell.  L:  represents the Limited Atonement Christ's sacrifice on the cross provides for only the elect.  I:  indicates that God's grace in drawing the elect to salvation is Irresistible.  P:  stands for the ability God gives the elect to Persevere in God's saving grace to their deaths and ultimate glorification in Heaven.  Elder David Fawley served as pastor from 1861 to 1874 and then in partnership with other Elders until 1879."  (from Genealogy Trails website - Indiana - Elkhart County - Providence Primitive Baptist Church and Cemetery of Elkhart County)

The next 6 children, after Mary ElizaCatherine, born to David and Rachel all lived to adulthood.  Then Rachel gave birth to twins on 5-13-1866, Minerva and Saloma.  Six years later, Rachel at the age of 45, gave birth to their 12th and last child, Rosa on 9-27-1872.  Rosa died 4-5-1873. She was about 6 months old.  Then 4 days later, one of the twins, Minerva, died 4-9-1873.  She was around 6 years old.  The other twin, Saloma, died on 1-12-1886, 4 months before reaching her 20th birthday.

Rachel died 5-16-1890.  She was 62.  The last child (31 yrs old), James A. W. was getting married June 8, 1890.  She had seen the death of 5 young children.  The other 7 were grown and no longer living at home.  

The Rev. David Fawley remarried 10-18-1890.  That is 4 months after his wife's death, the wife he had been married to for 44 years and bore him 12 children.

Elder David Fawley died March 28, 1904.  According to his obituary written up in the Primitive Monitor by Elder George Bretz, a few years earlier, David had made him promise to come and speak to his children and friends upon his death.  Here are a few excerpts from this eulogy.
His wife and half of his family went before him to the eternal country.  Six of his children, five of whom are members of the Primitive Baptist Church, and his second wife, with many grandchildren, are living to mingle their tears together and speak f their great loss......................  
But while he was a good farmer, a good citizen and neighor, the greatest events of his life were his spiritual experiences and sweet ministry.  At the early age of fourteen years he became concerned about the condition of his soul before God, and fourteen years later found peace in the wounded side of our dear Redeemer.............He began preaching in 1857 and was ordained in May, 1860..............
He was mighty in prayer and exhortation, I was present at the waterside when his daughter-in-law was to be baptized by me, and had him speak in prayer.  He forgot all but heaven, which seemed so feelingly near us all.  My soul was never so stirred under any man's prayer - a prayer heaven-given and by heaven heard.  In his appeals to his brethren to stand firm in the old paths, and for them to take heed to their ways, he was so tender, so melting!
After his death I was wired to come and I did so under a sense of my weakness and imperfection.  The precious words of the dying apostle came to me:  "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."  they seemed so appropriate, and I spoke from them to a crowded house, although the weather was inclement.
His death was a triumph overall, and we humbly bow in submission to the great and good God.  God bless his devoted widow, his godly children, his dear, sorrowing church, and the hundreds he comforted in life.                                             Geo. A. Bretz
There are so many questions and I will never find the answers.  For some reason, my heart goes out to Rachel.  I think she must have lived a very sad life.  How did the children die?  The oldest child died when Rachel was about to give birth to another child.  Margaret died 11 days before Samuel was born. The youngest child died 4 days before one of the twins died.  Was Rachel unable to keep the children in line?  Were the children behaving ungodly?  Were they crying?  Were they sick?

After the first child died, David uprooted her and traveled to another state, away from the grave of her first born, away from her family - the Sauls.  Rachel was only 20 at the time;  still a child herself.  After reading the obituary, it was obvious that the church members had put Elder David Fawley on a pedestal; he, after all, was the 'dying apostle' and I seriously doubt that anyone would have questioned his words or actions.
I could not find an obituary for Rachel.  My heart goes out to Rachel for all the heartache she must have endured.  She was just the wife of David Fawley.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Distressing Accident - A Father's Love

On September 5, 1827, thirteen years after the death of their mother;  two sons, Leonard Saul, Jr., age 20 and Joseph Saul, age 19, were working with their father in digging a well, when all three were killed by what is known as damps or poisonous gas.  Leonard Saul, Sr , was 51 years old.  Leonard Saul, Sr, had remarried 3-30-1824 and left behind an infant son, Aaron Sahl born about May, of 1827.

The September 5th accident happened near Columbus, Ohio.  The following article was published in the Norwalk Reporter and Huron Advertiser, out of Norwalk, Ohio on September 22, 1827 titled 'Distressing Accident'
On Wednesday the 5th instant, a few miles from this place, Mr Leonard Saul, and his two sons unfortunately lost their lives, by descending into a well filled with damp, or carbonic acid gas.  The well had been commenced sometime before, and at the time this melancholy accident happened was about 30 feet deep.  They had not yet came to water.  A son-in-law of Mr. Saul's was let down in the well in the afternoon but had not reached the bottom before he desired to be drawn up again, exclaiming that he could not stand it to stay down in the well.  One of Mr. Saul's sons then descended who fell lifeless at the bottom.  Another of his sons followed to see what had happened to his brother, who quickly shared the same fate.  Mr. Saul then prepared to descend, anxious to learn what had befel his sons;  and was in vain cautioned as to the result of such rashness by his son-in-law.  He had been let down but a few feet before he fell out of the bucket to the bottom of the well - joining in death his unfortunate sons.  The bodies were drawn out, and some means used to resuscitate them, but in vain.  So strongly was this well charged with the deleterious gas, that a light let down only a few feet, was instantly extinguished.  Mr. Saul was a respectable citizen of about 50 years of age - his sons were just entering the prime of life.  A little prudence on their part might have saved the lives of these unfortunate men.  A well charged with damp can be told by its extinguishing a candle let down in it;  and the deleterious gas may be destroyed by burning straw in the well, or some other combustable.                                                                                                            O. S. Journal,                                 
Leonard Saul, Sr (Johann Leonhard Saal) born in 1776 in Hochst-Odenwald, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany was my great +5 grandfather.  To view the Saul family tree, visit the page Saul

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Most Peculiar Couple

I find the old wedding and obituary write-ups from the 1800s and early 1900s very interesting and fun to read.  The write-ups were much more detailed about the person and/or event than they seem to be today.  I found the obituary write-ups for my great, great, great grandparents are quite entertaining.  William M. Northcutt and Lucinda Gardner were married on September 21, 1853.  They shared a long life together in Union Twp, Hendricks Co, Indiana, she was 75 when she died a couple of years earlier than William.  He was 85 when he passed away.  He was a farmer and Lucinda kept house.
They had six children, Ambrose Dudley Northcutt, their third child, was my great, great grandfather and is pictured to the left.  Quite a handsome man.

Our lineage is:  William M. Northcutt -- Ambrose Dudley Northcutt -- Bertha Northcutt Weisenauer -- Cliffie Weisneauer Shockney -- Joan Smith Beheler and then me.

The youngest two daughters born to William and Lucinda died as infants - one was about a month old and the other died at birth.

Lucinda Gardner Northcutt died October 28, 1911.  She was 75 years of age. Her obituary was written up in the Danville Gazette November 2nd.  It read as follows:
Mrs. Lucinda Northcutt, wife of Wm. Northcutt, died at her home three miles northeast of this place Saturday night from the infirmities of age.  She was 75 years old and leaves a husband and three children, Dudley Northcutt and Mrs. Sarah French, residing in this community, and James Northcutt of Kansas.  Three children are dead.  Mrs. Northcutt had lived in this vicinity since she was twelve years old, coming here from Rush county.  She clung to many of the pioneer ways.  One of her peculiarities was that she would never wear any article of head dress other than a sun bonnet.  She will be remembered in this community as a kind neighbor, ever ready to help others in time of need.  The funeral was preached at the home Monday morning by Rev. John Northcutt, and the remains were interred in the Poplar Grove cemetery.
William M. Northcutt passed away on July 15, 1913.  He was 81 years old.  The write-up by the Danville Gazette on July 17th read as follows:
Wm. Northcutt, 85, living northeast of Lizton, died Tuesday and was buried at the Poplar Grove cemetery yesterday afternoon.  In many ways deceased was a peculiar character.  He never rode on a railroad train and although he lived within three miles of an interurban line he never saw an electrically propelled car.  He had not visited Indianapolis since the early sixties.  During war times he was a southern sympathizer to some extent and one day while in Indianapolis he was roughly handled on account of his political views.  He vowed he would never visit the capital city again and the vow was not broken.  His wife died about a year ago.    
 I hope you enjoyed meeting William M. and Lucinda Northcutt.