17 December 2014
One of the most quoted scriptures during Advent is the message the angles carried to shepherds tending their flocks outside Bethlehem: Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace good will toward men."
Two thousand years later, while some still hope for peace, it seems an elusive concept in so much of the world. And where violence doesn't shadow the hope of peace, the busy-ness of life, angst, greed, and what-have-you tends to steal the peace that is ours for the asking. We must only seek it in the One whose coming was wrapped in its message. Too often, in many churches, we don't even bother with the hope for peace, much less in being peacemakers as is found in the Beatitudes, because we feel somehow the reality of sin and our disconnection with those who do not profess Christ, provides a waiver from our responsibility to this world. A world that needs to know the peace of God....I should hope that we're not so broken a vessel to carry that message.
For a few generations the words "Peace on Earth" hung near the top of my grandfather's barn. His family, who left the Amish church, did not know war until he served in the Pacific theater during World War II. Was it any wonder after his service ended that he should have that message proclaimed from on high? When the farm left the family, my mom noticed the words had disappeared from the barn, so she stopped and asked the owner if he had kept them. He did, and they found their way to our home.
About 10 years ago we used the words, and our kids, to send the message of "peace on earth" on our Christmas cards. When we arrived in the country, I think my mom thought they'd be placed on our barn. Instead, we had the perfect place for them inside our home and they stand as a constant reminder of what our responsibility is in this world: agents of peace, peacemakers, as we've been called to. I think that means giving up our rights, or the need to be right, in so many circumstances. I think it means finding ways to get people talking with each other, to work toward compromise and understanding. It means speaking less, and listening more, and being more inclusive in how we go about doing our Father's will.
So, in this week leading up to Christmas, let's determine to find an inward peace and contentment and then in the year before us, let's commit to being peacemakers, healers if you will, to the broken world around us.
10 December 2014
|1869 bird's-eye view of Michigan City, the Michigan Road is the main angled street not conforming to the grid|
|The Warren Building, under redevelopment as the new Artspace project|
|First Congregational Church, 1881, on Washington Street|
|The former Zorn Brewery complex, c. 1870, in the Elston Grove District|
This is what happens when a community rallies around its historic resources = economic development.
03 December 2014
|Levi Van Reed House, Warren County|
|Sweitzer barn on the Van Reed farm|
After Levi’s death the farming operations were carried out by his sons John and Levi, Jr. The vast estate was divided among Levi’s living children, each receiving hundreds of acres. Levi Van Reed, Jr. inherited the family farmstead which included 240 acres on either side of Old U.S. 41. Levi Van Reed, Jr. was born in 1860, likely at the farmstead. In 1895, the Levi Van Reed, Jr. family retired from farming and moved to Williamsport where they were involved in other business interests.
|Spoon mold on the farm.....just kidding, what a great splash block design!|
26 November 2014
So I'm trying to embrace by English roots now that I've learned my DNA results and I'm a great deal more English than German, and even less so-Irish. I've been running down several branches of my family tree and one that has eluded me is that of the Chapman family who moved into Marshall County during the 1840s. We've heard stories of Dr. Clarke Chapman, who graduated from LaPorte Medical School and rode horseback from his farm north of Argos to make house calls. And through research we found that his father, Ezekiel, lived in Argos as well. And the most fabled of family lore, was that Johnny "Appleseed" Chapman was a cousin who visited their farm. That never quite added up, but I had always hit a brick wall with any information earlier than Ezekiel, who lived in New York state.
But in my recent research I was able to connect a more senior Ezekiel to my Indiana pioneer, which led to a third Ezekiel in Connecticut, which led to the Chapmans of Saybrooke, Connecticut, who founded the town in 1635. Robert I came to America in 1635 from England and founded the town, his son, Robert II, and grandson, Robert III, lived and died in the New England town. The founder's grave is now unmarked, but his son's grave, my great x9 grandfather, is still marked with a stone that has one of the region's famously carved designs-a stylized primitive angel. I shared the photo with a friend and he immediately responded that it looked like the Starbuck's logo. Huh...kinda. I found that most Chapmans trace their roots to Robert I, likely Johnny Appleseed does too....but I haven't found that yet. Several more interesting stories have surfaced as well, but yet a few ancestors continue to elude me.
On this Thanksgiving eve, as I delved into the richness of our country's history reaching back to its foundations, I wonder what we are leaving in our wake. What will those who come after us say of our generation? For nearly 400 years we built, cleared, prospered and can be truly thankful for much. But for what will the generations that follow be thankful to our generation? I hope it's more than limitless Starbucks.
19 November 2014
|St. Stephens Cemetery, Dearborn County, IN|
I took my mom and her sister on a whirlwind genealogical tour across the U.S. 6 corridor in three northern Indiana counties a few weeks ago. In preparation for the trip, I plugged a few names of ancestors into findagrave.com. Yes, it is for-real. I knew that my great x3 grandfather had been born in Bavaria and came with his parents to the United States in the 1830s, first settling in Dearborn County, Indiana. Jacob Ewald followed the love of his life to northern Indiana, while his parents and several siblings remained in Dearborn County. I did not know where his parents were buried, so I plugged in their names and found that the cemetery was just off the beaten path to Madison, which is where my wife and I were planning to spend our anniversary.
|My wife capturing a moment of me paying respect to distant family|
All of the stones in this little cemetery were inscribed in German.
All of them.
|Believed to be a tintype picture of Phillip Ewald, my great x4 grandfather, immigrant from Bavaria|
12 November 2014
Inspired by the PBS program "Finding Your Roots", and trying to resolve an internal debate about some family lore, I simply asked for a DNA kit from Ancestry.com for my birthday this year. A vile full of spit and a few weeks later, my ancestral-origin profile arrived.
My grandfather, sometimes with seriousness, and other times in jest, claimed that we had Native American blood. In my genealogical research, I haven't found that native link-but some lines got blurred in Virginia, so I thought it was possible. When grandpa had us grandkids "on the hook" he'd tell us we were part Blackfoot, to which he'd take off his sock and show us the bottom of his dirty foot. That should have clued me in. More believable was his story that he knew that the first to carry our name in the New World arrived with his brothers from Ireland way back. This didn't add up to what became pretty overwhelming probability that the first of my namesake came from Germany during the Revolution, and dropped the "t" from his name so that it sounded more Anglicized.
|Plight of the Spanish Armada|
|Destruction of the Armada|
|Yup, about as Anglo as they come.|
05 November 2014
03 November 2014
|Versailles State Park, est. 1934|
|Potato Creek State Park, est. 1977|
|Kankakee State Fish & Wildlife Area, est. 1927|
|Tippecanoe River State Park, est. 1943|
|Brown County State Park, est. 1929|
|Clifty Falls State Park, est. 1920|
|Harmonie State Park, est. 1966|
29 October 2014
Bankable cigars. I'm not even sure what that means. But it's patented and belonged to the N. N. Smith Company out of Frankfort, Indiana. In a recent research project in Lebanon, just down the road from Frankfort, I came across a handsome building near its courthouse square that had the company name engraved high above its entry.
I had never heard of the company before, and so I went googling, as I often do just to see what's out there while researching and suddenly a number of photos of old cigar boxes popped up. Mr. Noah Smith's "bankable cigar" was patented in 1917. He built a cigar manufacturing facility in Frankfort in 1919, "the Bankable Building", and then expanded with a second building, remarkably similar to his Frankfort plant, in Lebanon in about 1926. The production capacity of the company reached 125,000 cigars daily. That just seems crazy.
Smith sold his interest to an intermediate manufacturer, until it was sold again to a firm known as the National Cigar Company in 1943. That company began production of a few cigar lines with names tied to Indiana including the "Lincoln Highway" and the "Hoosier Poet" which featured James Whitcomb Riley on the box. The company still exists in Frankfort, running production out of the old Bankable Building: http://www.broadleafcigars.com/tour.htm.
I can't help but think of my grandpa and the smell of cigar smoke writing this one.
22 October 2014
Earlier this year my aunt handed down to me a few family heirlooms, books mostly, that belonged to my Moore ancestors. Of the small collection, the oldest is a chunky little book of Methodist hymns printed in 1829 from the collection of John Wesley. It is well-worn with a leather cover and tiny print. There are a total of 606 hymns packed into this tiny book, of which I know but a small handful-maybe a half-dozen. There is no music, only lyrics, which causes me to wonder what the unknown hymns sound like. It makes me imagine my great x4 grandfather, Andrew Moore, standing and leading his congregation from this little book on the edge of the Indiana prairie in the 1830s.
Scouring the index for hymns I would know, I noticed that they are categorized into themes including birthdays, funerals, and Christmas. And since this is my birthday-time-of-the-year, I thought I would include one of the two birthday hymns in my blog post today. So, in celebrating 46 years in this my 900th post, a hymn I make my prayer.
Hymn 520, verses 1, 3, 6
God of my life, to Thee
My cheerful soul I raise!
Thy goodness bade me be,
And still prolongs my days
I see my natal hour return,
And bless the day that I was born.
Long as I live beneath,
To Thee O let me live!
To Thee my every breath
In thanks and praises give!
Whate'er I have, whate'er I am,
Shall magnify my Maker's Name.
Then when the work is done,
The work of faith and power,
Receive thy favour'd son,
In death's triumphant hour,
Like Moses to thyself convey,
And kiss my raptur'd soul away.
15 October 2014
|The first two (and only two) apples produced from Sycamore Hill Orchard this year-they tasted better than they looked|
|A few of last year's peach crop-none this year|
|2013 vintage grape juice|
|Believed to be the caretaker's cottage steps on the former Vonnegut Orchard|
|Our 2009 trip to the orchard|
08 October 2014
|A view along the Pennsylvania Railroad and Jefferson Street, in Warsaw, in c. 1910. The depot is on the right and the Haines Hotel is on the left.|
|The viaduct at Columbia Street. A plaque in the upper right corner indicates it was built in 1929.|
|Detail of the 1929 bridge|
|Same view as the old post card, but from the opposite direction|
|The Penn Depot, 1893, in Warsaw today.|
|Another possible railroad boarding house, c. 1865, west of Columbia Street.|