Category Archives: Genealogy

Pruning the China roses

Unlike hybrid tea roses, which stand erect in a line like soldiers at inspection, antique roses are bushy. Even the climbers are pretty bushy. And when you prune them, as I did our three Chinas this afternoon, you don’t have to be finicky.

Lopping off a third of the bush is the rule. Now we’ll sit back and expect our antique rose bushes to start blooming like crazy in March. Earlier if we’re lucky. And continue, at intervals, the rest of the year. I’m tempted, however, to dig up Louis Phillipe whose red blooms have always been too sparse to satisfy me and replace it with the Bourbon antique Souvenir de la Malmaison.

Had a Souvenir back in ’07, I see in my archives, whose pictures unfortunately did not make the forced transition from Yahoo to WordPress in 2013. But in ’09 the neighbor on the other side of the fence laid down a bunch of herbicide to kill something and it leeched through the soil and wiped out Souvenir. Then a replacement got run over by the landscaper’s mower and finally the neighborhood deer (courtesy of the city council which refuses to do anything about them) got in the backyard and ate it down to nothing. They think roses are candy. The deer, not the politicians.

Karma, you say? It was, after all, to commemorate my Mississippi great, great grandmother who mentions her’s in her pocket diary of the 1850s. She was a slave owner. Well, we all have our faults. So I’m going to try again. Maybe.

At the very least, I could follow the lead of Austin gardener Pam Penick and erect a bottle tree. Since bottle trees supposedly were invented by Southern slaves, maybe there’d be some redemption there. Maybe even enough to spare a new rancho edition of Souvenir de la Malmaison from assorted catastrophes. Eh?

Roughneckin’ in the patch

What I personally know of roughnecking wouldn’t fill a thimble. J.D., however, says as a kid he slept in the Doghouse while his father and other male relatives roughnecked the oil rigs. He pointed me to this good article in, of all places, National Review. Worth a look.

Reminded me of my dear grandfather who managed the oil trucks for the old Magnolia back in the ’30s, around Laredo, Alice and Freer. He cowboyed for a while near San Angelo but he was never a roughneck. I always understood that he admired some of them, though.

Via Mouth of the Brazos.

My great grandfather and great grandmother


Sort of a belated Father’s Day tribute. Edward P. & Mary Lenora Stanley in a copy of a tintype photo taken about 1870. He was a circuit-riding Methodist minister and farmer who’d lost a leg in the May, 1864, Battle of the Wilderness as a private in the Minutemen of Attala, a company in the 13th Mississippi Infantry Regiment—the founding regiment of the famous Barksdale’s Mississippi Brigade.

Beating on a teakettle

Miriam compares her grandmother’s Yiddish to “No Blood for Oil” and yelling “Racism” at anyone who criticizes Obamalot (more now than ever before).

“This is what bubbe called ‘hocking a chinek,’ which I discovered after arduous research, means, beating on a teakettle…”

I’m not sure why, but beating on a teakettle makes me think we’re all good and truly doomed. I knew we were in trouble before, but this just makes it  a whole lot worse.

Via Miriam’s Ideas.


Try this English vocabulary and pronunciation survey and see if it doesn’t place you accurately in a specific region of the country: It put me in the Deep South, specifically Alabama, with a bit of Georgia thrown in.

I would have thought my military upbringing would have Midwesternized me more, but I guess not. With parents from Mississippi and Texas, I suppose it was inevitable I wouldn’t talk like people in the Midwest.

Of course if English is your second or even third language, like Mr. Goon, the placement won’t be accurate except to show you which region’s patois you have ingested.

Via Mouth of the Brazos.

The Tail of the Dragon

Many years ago, grasshopper, I drove winding U.S. Route 129, near Deals Gap, North Carolina, entirely by chance. I just happened to have included it on my route for visiting a cousin I hadn’t seen in a decade or so.

Fortunately I didn’t have an accident in the rental car, which I recall was a “floaty” land-yacht of a Buick sedan. I didn’t know I was in for 318 blind curves in 11 miles. I’d driven a series of hairpin turns on mountain roads before, in West Virginia, for instance, but this was really excessive.

Maybe motorcyclers didn’t ride it then, because I don’t recall meeting any.

But they do it now, in droves, and some of them wind up on the Tree of Shame.

Via Instapundit.

A Rebel soldier’s message to President Lincoln

Rocky Lockley, a reader of my Civil War blog about my great grandfather’s 13th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, emails with a photo of an extraordinary find.

He and a friend recently dug up this old bullet when they were relic hunting near known Civil War camps in the vicinity of Brucetown, northeast of Winchester, Virginia. The 13th Regiment camped there in October, 1862, after the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam).  Lockley explains:

“An Enfield bullet was recovered that at first glance seemed just like all the others except it had its nose cut down to be more like a snub-nose. When this bullet was being cleaned up with water and a toothbrush the engraved letters started coming out.

“After calming down a little [Lockley saw that] the letters formed a name and a message. G.M. Mott was carved from bottom to top on one side and “To Old Abe” was carved on the other!! After searching the internet for less than 5 minutes I had a hit that showed George M. Mott, Company E [The Alamutcha Infantry], 13th Mississippi, had been a part of the entire war.”

After more research, Lockley found a photo of Mott’s tombstone, showing that he was a medical doctor when he died in 1906 in Sabine Parish, Louisiana.

Independent historian H. Grady Howell’s muster listing for the 13th shows Mott entered the war as a private and had been promoted 2nd sergeant when Lee’s Army, of which the 13th had been a part, surrendered in 1865.

Independent historian Jess McLean, author of the only compendium of the men who served in the regiment, found that Mott was a 21-year-old student living near Marion, Mississippi, when he joined in the spring of 1861 as a sergeant. He apparently was later demoted to private before rising in rank again.

Mott is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, two miles south of Converse, Louisiana, which is south of Shreveport.