Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Uncivil Cold War

A friend suggested (a few days before Furguson which I will not further address) that we have been in a Cold Civil War since 1865. What with Jim Crow, KKK, Separate but not really Equal, outright Segregation, and redlining neighborhoods, religious bans on black participation and mixed race marriage, unnecessary voter elegibility crack-downs, and the current conservative push to refuse economic help to the needy because they are either undeserving black criminals or welfare queens (thank you, Ronald Reagan), it seemed like an accurate assessment.

Unfortunately, the term is not unique and is all over the internet including from Glenn Beck, of all people, who cries crocodile tears for his part in tearing the country apart like some TV Evangelist caught with a woman or young boy. I'm not buying it from Glenn. And of course, he continues to stir the pot by predicting that somebody is going to go crazy and start something to turn us all into Civil War warriors and blow this country apart.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Remember When Government Was Good?

It really wasn't any better than it is now, we just thought it was at times. Like when we wanted to grow a cash crop or even just a little something to eat. Maybe plant a tree?


A friend (from DC, but don't hold that against her) sent me this great postcard showing grateful farmers. Grateful both to God and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation that made much of the West what it is today.

Do you know where your water comes from? The government, on a slightly revised plan inspired by John Wesley Powell, built dams and irrigated vast acreages for water associations and districts that paid back with little or no interest and with inexpensive operation and maintenance costs (i.e., they didn't build that). It was tried with private interests and phenomenal economic disaster on the Rio Grande in New Mexico, helping to inspire Congress to start Reclamation.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Crime and Preachment

This is such a great newspaper find with Mormon Missionaries and possible family both referenced even if not directly connected.
Monmouthshire Merlin & Silurian, 21 June 1856
First the missionaries. There wasn't much information easily to find about Abednego Spencer Williams (1827-1896) born in Blaenau, Monmouthshire, except that he came to Utah in the 1880s, and is buried in Ogden City Cemetery.

There's a bit more for Israel Evans (1828-1896). His story reads like an overview of westward expansion. Born in Ohio, his parents joined the LDS Church and moved to Missouri when he was only five. They relocated to Nauvoo, Illinois after the expulsion from Missouri and then left Nauvoo ahead of the mobs to follow Brigham Young. Israel marched with the Mormon Battalion in the War with Mexico and was present for the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill. Instead of becoming a rich Californian, he went to Utah. He served a four and a half year mission to Wales and led a successful handcart company (only two deaths) to the Valley in the turbulent year of 1857.

The year before, 1856, when Elinor, Jane, John and family left for Utah, Israel helped the Welsh Saints who took the train from Abergavenny and provided a moving account in his journal. He helped the Saints load onto the S. Curling at Liverpool. Elinor had gone a few weeks earlier and sailed on the Enoch Train. John and Jane Vaughan Lewis were likely on that train heading out from Abergavenny and who knows which Vaughans left behind were there to bid farewell:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Music Has Charms

Charmed. My breast no longer savage. Self-indulgence is the order of the evening.

It took me a good few hours to get my iTunes set up on a new computer. There are many other competing, digital stereo systems out there. And I'm stuck with iTunes because of the multiplicity of playlists I spent so much time developing. I'm not starting over. 

The tricky part is to remember to move not just the iTunes music files, but the MP3s as well. And some of them are hard to find. I still can't figure why I had to transfer "skate away" by Dire Straits all by itself before it would work. "Enchante, what can I say?"

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

White War

Oh yeah, baby! The confederacy rises again as predicted!

Talk from an elected Congressman of the republican party, just revealed the whole game!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

An Interesting Glimpse of the Utah War (Eleanor?)

Captain Albert Tracy came to Utah with Johnston's Army as part of the Utah War. He kept a diary that included some great sketches of Utah Territory in 1858-60. He is an obvious Utah "outsider" and not at all kindly disposed towards the Mormons holding every prejudice about them common at the time among the US government and American society at large (hence, the Utah "War").

An Example of Capt. Tracy's Excellent Sketch Work
At one point supposedly to keep peace between the Mormons and the Utes in Utah County (and to keep watch on Bishop Aaron Johnson), Capt. Tracy was ordered to maintain a post at Springville. He gave a grudgingly good description of the city even if he had little respect for its citizens:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

To See the Old and Feeble Dame


Or I could have titled this: "Amateur Historians Need Not Inquire."

It was not a total freak-out. After we were just about to Utah and free from Wyoming's desolation, I turned to my wife and asked:

"Do you think I'm obsessed with Grandma Eleanor?"

"Yes."

"Why do you say that?"