Wednesday, September 30, 2015


It is said that all roads lead to Rome. Well, if that is so then they also go the other way. I leave Rome today for home.  Even though I love to travel, it is always great to go home.  The following quote  speaks to that feeling.  " No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow."
- Lin Yutang 

Here are a few other quotes to share.

"Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers.  The mind can never break off from the journey."-Pat Conroy

"I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list."- Susan Sontag

"I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world." - Mary Anne Radmacher Hershey

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. - Mark Twain

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." - Augustine of Hippo

"Travel makes one modest.  You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world." - Gustave Flaubert

"A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions." Oliver Wendell Holmes

"There are no foreign lands.  It is the traveler only who is foreign." -Robert Louis Stevenson

And most importantly:

"Life is short. Live passionately." - Unknown

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Pompeii - September 27, 2015

This is a big day for me. Right at the top of my bucket list is seeing Pompeii.  I am going to have the experience of visiting the excavated ruins of Pompeii in the foothills of Mount Vesuvius in southern Italy.  I read a historical fiction novel this summer titled Pompeii: A Novel by Robert Harris. It was a good preparation.

The fictional part of the story is about a young water engineer, Aquarius,  in charge of the immense aqueduct serving the coastal towns on the entire bay of Naples. This is a 60 mile aqueduct that brings water from the mountains to nine towns around the bay, including Pompeii.   Some readers and reviewers are captivated by the description of the Roman engineering, water distribution systems, and the construction and maintenance of the aqueducts.

Me? Not so much.  For me, the beginning of the novel was a bit tedious, but the description of the explosion was astounding.  Here are a few of the facts I learned from this well researched book.

A cloud of ash and pumice 12 miles high shot from the central core as if from a canon. The exit velocity of the magma was approximately 1,440 km per hour (Mach 1).  The thermal energy released during the A.D. 79 eruption was about that of 100,000 times that of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. This information is from -Dynamics of Volcanism.

One of the parts of the book I found fascinating was when the young engineer convinces the admiral of the Roman Fleet, Pliny the Elder, to give him a fast ship to Pompeii. While on the ship, Minerva, pumice and rock began raining down and they had to go below deck.

"The incessant hammering of the pumice, sharp to begin with as it rattled on the timber of the deck, gradually became more muffled, as pumice fell on pumice, sealing them off from the world.  And that, for him was the worst thing-the sense of this mass slowly pressing them down, burying them alive."

The Minerva and its crew did eventually smash upon the shore near Stabiae. Another description later..."It was grayer than the earlier pumice - denser, larger, as if several pieces had been fused together - and it was hitting the ground with greater force.  The shower of frothy white rock had been unpleasant and frightening but not especially painful.  To be struck by a piece of this would be enough to knock a man unconscious." And later yet..."All around them was a fury of noise - the heaving sea, the blizzard of rock, the boom of roofs giving way."

By getting to know the characters of the fictional story, one understands the confusion that must have surrounded the people of Pompeii and surrounding areas.  Whether to run, to stay, or to ride out the horror makes me think of the people in New York City on September 11, 2001.  In A.D. 79, just like on 9/11/2001, there were undoubtedly those heroes who ran toward the disaster in hopes of providing rescue for others.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Wedding Day

Genealogists and genealogy bloggers are encouraged to write about the lives of the family members of today. After all, in 100 years, we will all be gone and our descendants will be trying to figure out what our lives were like back in olden days of 2015.

Today is wedding day for one of the descendants of Sarah Jane Swartzel Withrow.  She is my go to grandmother when I want to place someone into the family pedigree. Sarah Jane is the 4th great grandmother to today's bride, Jill.  Of course, Jill, is descended from thousands not just Sarah Jane.  On my Facebook timeline I posted a quote that seems appropriatate.

Suddenly All My Ancestors Are Behind Me.  "Be Still" They Say. "Watch and Listen.  You Are the Result Of The Love Of Thousands."

Thousands of loves. And the love of Jill and Matt will make this family line continue on and on into the future.

Best wishes and love to Jill and Matt.

This is wedding day for another Matt. This Matt is not part of my family tree, but his mother is family in my heart. His mother and I were teaching together on the February snowy morning that he was born.  I opened my front door early that morning to find a plastic wrapped set of books and lesson plans. This dedicated teacher about to be a new mother had made her husband make a detour to my front step on the way to the hospital.

Best wishes to Matt and his bride, Katie.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

September 24, 2015

While searching around for some punctuation clarification for one of my posts, I came upon this most interesting piece of information.
September 24 (every year) is National Punctuation Day. Honestly, if you didn't know this (as I didn't) you are now far more knowledgeable. As odd as you think this post might be, I can name a few of my readers who will find this as interesting as do I. See National Punctuation Day to see how to celebrate this day.

You might just say if this excites me that I don't get out enough. Au contraire!  Today I am scheduled to be in Matera, Italy. We will be exploring "Sassi di Matera," an ancient town known for its cave dwellings, both modern and ancient.  This location is used by filmmakers as the setting for ancient Jerusalem.  The Passion of the Christ (2004-Mel Gibson) was filmed here among many, many other films. Due out in 2016 is an upcoming film, Ben-Hur (Timur Bekmambetov). I didn't know there was a remake coming, but I will certainly be watching for it.

I would also be interested in how you celebrated National Punctuation Day. Leave me a comment.  If I were home I would probably want to take a leisurely stroll as suggested, paying close attention to store signs with incorrectly punctuated words and then stop in those stores to correct the owners. However, since I will not be home but in Italy, I guess I will have to restrain myself. My Italian just isn't that good.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wordless Wednesday (flowers)

One of our experiences on this adventure is viewing the flowering gardens and the Greek Amphitheater in Taormina, Sicily. I do not have an amphitheater at my house, but I do have flowering gardens. These photos seem just right for Wordless Wednesday.



Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday With Margie

At this point in my adventure, I will have visited a family farm in the countryside of Sicily.  I grew up on a farm as did many of my ancestors. However, we didn't make ricotta cheese. We stuck to corn and soybeans. Sometimes there were fields of oats and hay. 
Our next stop was a medieval palace where a countess welcomed us.  I don't think there is a chance of connecting genealogically with the nobility of Sicily. So, I left my pedigree charts at home. 

I have learned about the Valley of the Temples ruins. It is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world
and modern day Agrigento, Sicily used to be the Greek city of Akragas. In its glory days, it was one of the most important and most culturally-advanced Greek cities in the Mediterranean.
Now I find that interesting!
Not only is it interesting, but now I don't even need to go to Greece. More time for genealogy.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

September 19

Readers might notice that my Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule is a little off. In the next couple of weeks, a post might come anytime. Don't be surprised. There might be a few more or a few less. By October, this irregularly should be back to normal.

Today is the 46th anniversary of the birth of my paternal grandmother's first great grandchild. Did you follow that?  Nina Frances Borden Wright was born September 19, 1900 in Cook County, Illinois. My father was her oldest child, and I was her oldest grandchild. How appropriate for her first great grandchild to be born on her 69th birthday. This great grandchild is also known as daughter to her father and me.

Birthday Celebration of 1978
My Grandma Nina and her first great grandchild

                      Happy Birthday Mrs. G.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Out of Here or Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego aka Margie

My adventure has begun. Below are a few pictures copied from the Collette Travel brochure.




Can't wait to see them in person! If you don't know where my adventure is taking me or if you can't figure it out from the photos, just keep checking in. If my scheduling feature works, all will be revealed. If not, just know...I Will Be Back.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Review Mondays With Mary

Review of Mondays With Mary

Here is my mother, Mary, with her two grandmothers and her sister Thelma also known as Pat.  Next to Mom on the left of the photo is Estella Smith (maternal grandmother)  followed by Laura Grisso (paternal grandmother).

Currently, there are over a dozen Mondays With Mary posts.

Which is your favorite?

Did you possibly miss one?

Would you notice anything different if you read them again?

What does Vern think of soggy pie crust?

What is the purpose of "walking beans"?

Where is the mastodon tusk now?

I hope you enjoy reviewing Mondays With Mary.

Find the posts under the Index Page tab at the top of this blog or with this link if you are reading on email.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Phillips Friday (continued from 9/04/2015)

While reading the information from Revolutionary Soldiers of Warren County, Pennsylvania, I spent some time looking up names of the officers who Esquire Phillips mentions in the report of his service. 

If you are a Revolutionary War buff or even just a good history student, you know who Col. Wm. Ledyard was.  If you are like me, you have forgotten if you ever knew.  Col. Wm. Ledyard was in command of Fort Trumbull and Fort Griswold in Connecticut when Fort Griswold was attacked and fell to the British under the command of Benedict Arnold. (Now, there is a name we all know). The Americans were far outnumbered according to American accounts of the battle. Ledyard and his poorly armed militia of 157 held off the British force of 800 for nearly an hour. According to one of the articles I read Ledyard ordered his men to cease firing and to lay down their arms after the British stormed Fort Griswold.  A Tory, Major Bromfield or Brownfield demanded to know who commanded the fort.  Ledyard replied "I did, sir, but you do now," and offered his sword.  The British officer took the sword and stabbed Ledyard to death. The date was September 6, 1781, in Groton. A massacre of the Americans followed, in which nearly 100 were killed or wounded   (Information found in Wikipedia) There is far more to this story, but I will let you do your own research if interested.

Esquire Phillips served under Col. Wm. Ledyard as his Waiter. Esquire writes, ".....served under Col. Ledyard at Fort Griswold 6 mos [sic].  I believe that Col. Ledyard commanded in the Fort across the river at New London and I was backwards and forward between the Forts, with Col. Ledyard frequently."

My guess gives me the estimate of spring of 1779 when Esquire was next discharged to go home. Later in 1779, he married Anna Gates. He says he was called back after the capture of Fort Griswold. He writes, "I helped at that time to take care of the sick and wounded also to bury the dead."

This Phillips line has certainly intrigued me. I have traveled in some of the areas where my husband's 4x Great Grandfather Esquire served in the Revolutionary War. If only I had known some of this information when my husband and I visited Groton, Connecticut a few years ago to see our son, the 5x great grandson of Esquire Phillips.  They both served their country in that location... just 200+ years apart.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wordless Wednesday (Photo Album)

Today's Wordless Wednesday is going to look at the Photo Album at the top of my home page. Since I discovered just yesterday that the email version of my blog does not show the tabs at the top of the home page, I made a direct link for my readers.  Just click on the Photo Album link.

As I will explain there, I added a few more pictures for today. I still have many to add, but that will be for another Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Helpful Hints Hopefully

If you read this blog by receiving it in email, there is another step involved to see the Index PageAt the end of the post, see the word Cousins which appears in blue because it will link back to the home page. Once on the home page, notice four tabs at the top of the page.

Home     Photo Album    About Me       Index Page

Click on Index Page, read introduction, select a post to review or two or three. All titles are set up to link directly to their post. Might there be a glitch? Is this technology? Let me know if a broken link can be found. Actually, let's make this a contest. Who can find a broken link?

Tomorrow, I am going to do a review of the Photo Album. It will include the direct link on that post for your convenience.

Monday, September 7, 2015


While I am busy traveling in the next few weeks, I have organized a review for my readers. You can take the teacher out of the school building, but you can never take the teacher out of the teacher. Or something like that!

At the top of this post is a tab labeled Index. Check out the introduction to this Index. It will explain the index and will be a static feature at the top of my blog.

If I have a chance, I might even get a blog written while on my adventure.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Esquire Phillips- Revolutionary Soldier

 O.K., so let's go tree climbing or back in time whichever one helps you follow this linage. The maternal grandmother of my husband was Ina. She was Ina Marie Reeder Augustus daughter of Minerva Jane Marsh Reeder and Edward Maurice Reeder. This week's Wordless Wednesday shows Great Grandpa and Grandma Reeder standing in front of a house that still stands in Jefferson, Iowa. This was probably in the 40's.

Minerva Jane moved to Jefferson, Iowa from Illinois when she was a teenager around 1876. There she met and married Edward Reeder. She was the daughter of Celestia and Richard Marsh.

Both Celestia and Richard were from Pennsylvania where they were married and had their first four children, one being Minerva Jane. They moved to Illinois in 1860 when Minerva was a baby.

Celestia was the daughter of Elijah and Ellen Thompson Phillips. She was also their oldest child.

  Celestia's father, Elijah, was the eleventh son of Esquire Phillips who was born in Prescott, Connecticut on 3 Aug. 1760  (or possibly 1759) and died (age 87 years 7 months) in 1848 in Pine Grove Township in Warren County, Pennsylvania.

The book Revolutionary Soldiers of Warren County, Pennsylvania has a section on Esquire Phillips, 4x great grandfather of my husband.

Born: 3 Aug. 1759/1960
Entered service 1 November 1775 ( about age 15 or 16))
Served as waiter for Capt. James Averill
Capt. Averill commanded a company of Militia of the Regiment of Col. Douglass
They moved to Providence, R.I, to Greenwich to Newtown, to South Kingston and to North Kingston.  The British were in possession of Rhode Island at this time.
Discharged April 1776
Re-enlisted "the following spring" in the same company as Minute Men for the term of one year.

The following are Esquire's words:

     "Soon after the company was organized we were ordered to march to Stonington Point, where we joined Col. Gallap's Regt.  [sic] as Col. Douglass was made a General.  We remained at Stonington Point two mons [sic], and were frequently sent out with scouting parties.  The Corps to which I belonged was called the Rangers.  After two months we were ordered to march to Little White Plains on North River near New York.  We arrived there after the battle that was fought there.  We were sent out with a scouting party and fell in with a party of British and Tories at the Great Swamp a few miles distant.  We had a skirmish with the British and made prisoners of about 70 British and Tories, and got 150 head of cattle and sheep.  We marched with the prisoners to Norwich Town in Conn.  Were then ordered back to Little White Plains, which was our headquarters.  Was there two months.  We were then ordered to march to New London, and were stationed there the remainder of the year until we were discharged.  Our entire service was exceedingly hard and severe during the whole year."
Esquire's service ended only to start again.  He says in his pension papers that he returned home and remained for three days. He then went as a substitute for Elijah Phillips as a private soldier. Many years later, he had a son named Elijah (Remember, the father of Celestia) Maybe this son was named for an uncle or cousin. Maybe this is the Elijah Phillips for whom he was named.  This service period for Esquire was at Fort Griswold in the company commanded by Capt. Avery. The commander of Fort Griswold was Col. Wm. Ledyard.  After 3 months he was discharged and went home.  The day before he arrived at home his father, Jonathon, was drafted for a 3 months tour in the Militia. Esquire took his place and returned to Fort Griswold, served, and was discharged when the 3 months expired.
Now isn't it fascinating to read an ancestors actual words. It is too bad when we study American History, we can't do it through the eyes of our ancestors. Those patriots in the books are just names we learn and usually remember. But the patriots that shared their DNA with us, give a whole new perspective to the Rebellion and the sacrifices they made for us... their descendants.
But wait! The story of Esquire Phillips Revolutionary Service is not finished. The story will continue next Friday.  See you then.  I guess this has turned into Phillips Friday.
Excerpt from The Revolutionary Soldiers of Warren County, Pennsylvania


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wordless Wednesday (Reeder Grandparents)


This couple is my husband's great grandparents: Minerva Jane Marsh Reeder and Edward Maurice Reeder.  I do not know the year of this photo. Edward Reeder died in 1949 so it was before that date.  I went in search of the house where they are standing and this is what I found.
At least, I think this is the house.
Photo taken August 26, 2015