Category Archives: Genealogy

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.

Revelations

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.

Baby Boomers: Saving Medicare and Social Security

Baby Boomers, also known as the pig in the population python, are finally getting a chance at a notable accomplishment other than that swine wallow called Woodstock: they are committing suicide in such numbers that they may yet save Medicare and Social Security from bankruptcy.

““We’ve been a pretty youth-oriented generation,” said Bob Knight, professor of gerontology and psychology at the University of Southern California, who is also a baby boomer. “We haven’t idealized growing up and getting mature in the same way that other cohorts have.”  Even as they become grandparents and deal with normal signs of getting old, such as hearing and vision losses, many boomers are reluctant to accept the realities of aging, Knight said.”

Well, boo hoo. Just off yourself without making another big mess for someone else to clean up, okay? In case you’re wondering, I am not a Boomer. Born in 1944, I just missed becoming another porker in the big reptile. Fortunately. And being preoccupied in Viet Nam at the time, I also missed Woodstock, for which I have always been thankful.

Via Vox Popoli.

My old postal service career

I have mixed feelings about the ridiculous federal attempt to save the U.S. Postal Service. On the one hand, I realize it’s an albatross whose wings should be clipped. Nowadays, it’s no more than a redundant hiring hall for Democrats, particularly black ones. And a distributor of junk mail.

On the other hand, I myself once benefited from its participation in the Democrat hiring machine. Best-paying job I ever had as a college student at the University of Maryland in 1966-67. My godmother, who was a minor cheese in the Woodrow Wilson administration (my, goodness, that was a long time ago) found out I was having trouble making ends meet as a part-time supermarket cashier while my other part-time career as a door-to-door Wearever cookware salesman was not prospering.

She wrote me a letter (no email in those days) with a D.C. telephone number, and said to call the number on a certain day at a certain time and to tell the nice man who answered my name. Just my name. He would tell me what to do next. Indeed, the nice man said to wait a sec while he checked something, his hiring list presumably. Then he said to go to a certain address on a certain date at a certain time and be ready to work.

The address was Greek to me. This was in pre-Google days. Even a map wouldn’t have told me what was there. Turned out to be the Georgia Avenue garage of the Postal Service, right across the street from historically-black Howard University. The nice supervisors, all black, gave me a Postal Service saucer hat to wear, told me I’d have to buy a jacket if I wanted one, handed me the keys to a one-ton truck, asked if I’d ever driven one (sure, I lied) a map and my route list.

The only other white boy in the place was my helper that day, to show me the ropes. Turned out he was a U of Maryland football player, an offensive lineman on scholarship, who needed extra money. The job was scooping mail from street boxes into heavy, gray canvas sacks, and dragging more sacks to the truck from office-building lobbies all over D.C. Particularly down around the White House, though the routes changed from day to day.

When the back of the truck was stacked high with the heavy bags of mail, I delivered them to a loading dock at Postal Service headquarters, off-loaded them and went out for more. I usually worked from 5 to 10, evenings. It was sweaty (particularly in the summer but even in the winter) manual labor lugging those mail bags around, but it paid a heckuva lot more than cashier or unsuccessful cookware salesmen.

If I hadn’t been drafted into the Army a week before graduation in June, 1967, I might still be working in some desk job for the Postal Service. Or retired from it, and worried about my friends and their futures.

Our black or Jewish ancestor

I’ve told Mr. B. that he can legitimately claim an African-American ancestor. It would work as an Affirmative Action gambit these days if that should ever be needed. IF, that is, we buy into (or pretend to) the widespread claim that South Carolina planter/slave owner Gideon Gibson was a mulatto.

He was, indisputably as far as my family is concerned, our six greats uncle because we descend from his sister Hannah Gibson and her daughter Marcia Saunders Murphee.

Marcia (nicknamed Massey) married Claudius Pegues III Jr., a disabled Revolutionary War veteran and my four greats grandfather whom my late mother (and subsequently one of her granddaughters) used to establish membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Although if mother knew anything about Hannah and Gideon Gibson she never spoke of them to me. Neither the African nor a possible Jewish connection would have appealed to her, to put it politely.

I prefer the claim that these Gibsons (sometimes spelled Gupson) were, in fact, Sephardic Jews, possibly originally from Portugal. Not that such exalted sources as PBS and Tulane University would necessarily agree. Indeed, large numbers of African Americans claim descent from Gideon and we know what openly daring to disagree with black people will get you nowadays.

But genealogy is very far from an exact science, and other than establishing a link to a person, old (and frequently misspelled) public and private records are at best ambiguous—we have no idea, for instance, whether Gideon called himself a mulatto, or whether some officious British colonial clerk decided he was one based on his skin color, hair texture and/or facial features.

We do know that Gideon carried documents proving he was a free man, because he showed them to the then governor of South Carolina (1740s), which was duly recorded, but the documents could as easily have been his release from indentured servitude—rather common in his time—as any manumission from slavery.

So we are pretty much left to believe what we like. And what I like is the idea that Gideon and Hannah Gibson were not half or less Africans at all but Melungeon Jews, Sephardics in flight (and often in secret) from the Catholic Inquisition which had driven their ancestors from Spain and Portugal.

Although I’m sure the African claim would make a much better Affirmative Action gambit than the Jewish one.