Category Archives: America

Goodbye, Cousin

300px-Doty-42-4THERE ARE LOTS
of us, no doubt. Cousins, that is. As you go back in time, the fewer the people and therefore the increased likelihood that any two people today share a common ancestor.

Such is the case with a roguish character who sailed for America on the Mayflower as an indentured servant, Edward Doty. I am a descendant, thanks to my mother.

So was Dorothy Anne “D.A.” Murphy Van Nest of Scottsdale, Arizona. She died in September at the age of 95, and I learned about her connection to Doty and me from her obituary.

ajh

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Did Grandpa Darling ride the first Ferris Wheel?

In 1893 Chicago hosted the World’s Columbian Exposition. There were many inventors and exhibits. Among them was engineer George Ferris who introduced the world to his soon-to-be iconic Ferris Wheel.

The Wheel stood 264 feet high and had a diameter of 250 feet. Each of the structure’s 36 cars could hold 60 to 65 people. Folks stood in long lines to pay 50 cents each to ride on the slowly spinning marvel.

My great-great grandfather was living in the city, in Little Italy. He was studying to become a dentist. My great grandmother was a toddler.

Oh, how I wish I could sit with them both and talk about their memories of this time.

ajh

I’d like to see the methodology. I find it dubious. Call me skeptical.

curious_too

The results may not be scientific, but they sure were amusing.”

My favorites are West Virginia and Connecticut. Kudos to those keeping “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!” alive. I actually sang the song from Mary Poppins on stage during high school. It was so much fun! A duet with Bethany Wiggins, a crazy Mormon girl.

ajh

$312.32 for a map on canvas of Chicago in 1893! I thought Walmart was supposed to be cheap!

$312 and 32¢

I’d love to have one of these on my walls. But three hundred dollars! Why so pricey?

Sure, it’s nice and big at 36 by 54 inches, which translate to three by four and a half feet. The entire piece is actually a little bigger than that, but the image dimensions appear to be 36 by 54.

I wonder where it is made. China? Wouldn’t surprise me. What is the mark up? What does it cost to produce and how much money is the retailer, in this case Walmart, make off of a sale?

ajh

Ezra’s Farm in 1860

By the Numbers

Statistics from Ezra Darwin Darling's farm in Lime Creek Township, Washington County, Iowa in 1860 provide insight into daily life of an ancestor just prior to the outbreak of the Civil War.

Six bushels of Irish potatoes. Are Russet potatoes Irish potatoes? That’s what I am assuming.

Two hundred pounds of butter! He and Caroline, who I am sure did most, if not all of the churning, had 200 lbs. of butter on hand?!

Ten tons of hay. That’s a lotta hay. And their granddaughter Geneva, my great grandmother, would go on to marry a man named Hay.

Forty gallons of molasses. What’s that for, cooking & baking?

Eight pounds of beeswax. Candles? Soap?

Ezra had 180 acres of land, 40 of which were deemed “improved” and 140 considered “unimproved.” What these mean beyond the basic, fundamental understandings I don’t know. The cash value of the farm was recorded as $1440.

Eight milch cows. Gonna have to look up the word milch.

One working ox. Or given that it reads oxen, is that two?

And one “other cattle.” What’s the purpose of this one? Why a separate listing?

No sheep.

Twelve pigs. Or swine. Man, how I love bacon.

The value of the livestock was listed at $238.

There were 60 bushels of wheat and 300 bushels of Indian corn on hand.

It’s quite the list. Everything was tabulated on June 12, 1860 on his farm in Lime Creek Township, Washington County, Iowa.

There is a precipitous decline in these numbers on the 1870 ag census. Why? It is unclear. But did Ezra focus on other endeavors, such as the post office?

ajh