Monthly Archives: October 2014
I think if you were to ask him, my nephew, Riley Birky would tell you that there are two things he likes to do most…football and dirt biking….and not necessarily in that order. You don’t have to look very far to find that out. Most of his Facebook posts are pictures of motorcycles, and posts from his friends about how great his team did at the most recent game. So far this year, Riley’s team at CY Middle School is having a very good year. Every post after the game tells of what an amazing team they are. I suppose that if all the guys on his team like football as much as he does, then they get a lot of practice time in. When you love the game, practice is fun…it’s like play, and nobody minds it at all.
Riley’s love for motorcycles probably comes from the same place as most guys who love them. I think it could start as early as their toy cars. Most of them also have toy motorcycles. It seems like they always go together. Add to that the fact that my brother-in-law, Ron loves to ride four wheelers and motorcycles. Riley and his little brother, Tucker are growing up around that, so it’s no wonder that they both love them, And it gives Ron someone to hang out with when he rides too. I’m not so much a big fan of motorcycles myself, but each person has their own ideas, and for Riley, motorcycles are great.
With all the macho stuff Riley likes to do, I think it is a good thing that he had a little brother to play with him too. Riley and Tucker are best buddies. Tucker thinks Riley is the best thing since sliced bread…or at least since candy bars. And if Tucker is having a bad day, Riley is always there to make things better. Add to that the fact that they both enjoy the same things…like their dog, riding on the motorcycle with their dad, and baking cookies with their mom…if they don’t eat all the cookie dough that is. I can’t say that I blame them when it comes to eating cookie dough though, I mean seriously, who wants to wait for them to bake anyway.
Riley has changed over the years since he, his mom, brother, and sister joined our family. He has gone from being a little kid to a very grown up young man. Nevertheless, he has never lost the love and companionship he feels for his little brother. Tucker thinks so highly of him, and it would be a real shame if Riley ever decided that Tucker was a pain in the neck. I think that would break Tucker’s heart for sure. Today is Riley’s birthday. It’s very cool that this one fell on a Saturday. Happy birthday Riley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Machelle Moore has been married to her husband, Steve for fifteen years now, but when she first met him, the one odd thing she noticed was that just abut everything he had was labeled SRM. I’m not sure if Machelle knew why everything had SRM on it, but when her sister, Susan came to his place, she immediately asked what that was. He said that it was his initials,. The girls thought that was funny, so to this day, they call him SRM. When he was born, his family called him the 10 Guy, because he was born on 10/10, and weighed 10 pounds. No wonder he’s so tall now.
Steve is very into guns, and his dream is to have a gun building business someday. He and my Uncle Bill would have gotten along great, as they are both gun nuts. Steve doesn’t hunt, even thought he likes guns and the mountains, but I can relate to that. I would much rather hunt wildlife with a camera than a gun. I am not against hunting, but I just don’t think I could do it myself.
Steve loves the mountains. He is very much a homebody, and doesn’t like traveling very much, but for the mountains, he will make an exception. In fact, for the mountains, he will almost be the first one out the gate. When Machelle’s parents were getting a new trailer, Machelle wanted to buy their old one. Steve didn’t think he wanted to do that, but she insisted. Once they had it, and they could go camping in the mountains, Steve was sold on it. I suppose he thought she was going to want to travel all over the country, but when he found out that she wanted to go camping in the mountains, he was totally on board. He likes to leave it up in the mountains all summer, and then go up every chance they get. For someone who didn’t really want a trailer, he has sure changed his view. Steve did make and exception this year, when he and Machelle did travel to Yellowstone Park this summer, and all I can say is, “Steve, what happened? She got you out of town!! Are you going to be ok, after such an awful experience?” Ok, just kidding. I know you all had a great time. You aren’t a total hermit, just a mountain man, and Yellowstone Park is in the mountains.
When I first met Steve, he was a clean shaven young man, but these days…like most mountain men, he likes to sport a beard. That and the love of the mountains really does make him a mountain man in my book. I honestly think he could be one of those mountain men who move out to the wilderness, and come to town once a year. That isn’t to say that Steve is anti-social, but he really doesn’t like to travel, and if Machelle was ok with it, I think he would be one of these people who cold like that lifestyle. I can relate to that sometimes. Bob and I love to hike in the mountains, and when you are out there, you are very free from all the hustle and bustle of the city. Sometimes that might feel really nice, but I don’t suppose I would like it on a daily basis. Steve, on the other hand, just might. Today is Steve’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!! I’m glad you are a good sport. Have a great day!! We love you!!
When we think of war, we usually think of planes and tanks, bombs and guns, but lately I have been wondering just what the life of a foot soldier was like. My grandfather served in World War I, and after reading a little bit about what it was like for the men in the trenches, I find myself feeling very thankful that my grandfather was a cook. I don’t know how he got that position, considering that so many soldiers were needed, and the number needed grew daily, or even hourly, I just don’t know how he was so blessed to be a cook. Grandpa Byer was always such a gentle, soft hearted man, so I have a really hard time imagining him in a position of having to kill someone. I read that when new foot soldiers came to the front, many lost their lives on the first day, because they got into the trenches, and got an overwhelming urge to peek out over the top to see if the enemy was coming. The instant they peeked over the top, a sniper’s bullet would rip through their head, killing them instantly. The commanding officers began telling the new men to keep their head down…no matter what.
World War I was supposed to be a war that ended quickly, but that isn’t how it happened. Going in, it was expected that the whole thing would end after one big movement…shock and awe, I suppose, but the other side had a different idea, and the soldiers were forced to hunker down for the long haul. In the end, the war lasted from the fall of 1914 to the spring of 1918. There was movement in the beginning as the Germans marched through Belgium and France on their way to Paris, but then while the lines did advance and retreat, there was not a lot of movement until the war neared it’s end.
I can’t say that I have much insight into the ways of war, other than what I have been told or have read, but it doesn’t take much imagination to be able to picture those fear filled kids hearing the gun shots all around them, just hoping they can keep their wits about them long enough not to do something stupid that could cost them their lives. I don’t think war has changed so much in recent years either. My brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg told me a little bit about his war experience during Operation Desert Storm. Ron was a foot soldier, and he told me about marching across the desert, stepping over the bodies of the enemy’s dead soldiers, and getting to the point where something like that no longer made him feel like he was going to be sick. For me, it is hard to imagine how much death you would have to see to put you in a place of being able to just step over a dead body and march on.
Almost every war has it boots on the ground part. They are often the first soldiers in the war, and they have to pave the way for those who will follow. They are a tough, almost street smart…or is it trench smart…soldier, who knows what to expect from guerilla warfare, or at least as much as anyone can know what to expect before they go to war. It occurs to me that a soldier going into a war is a completely different person than a soldier coming out of a tour of duty. You simply can’t spend time around all that death, not knowing if you will ever leave that place, and not be completely changed by it. No wonder so many of our soldiers come out of their tour of duty with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. These men came into the war as kids, and came out feeling like old men. That is not the way they imagined their post high school years, but when you are serving your country, your high school/boyhood ideas have to be set aside to make way for the skills and mindset you must have to survive the life of a foot soldier.
I have always known of my family’s relationship to Princess Diana, and I also knew about the Knox family’s relationship to James Knox Polk, who is Bob’s 2nd cousin 5 times removed, but in more recent years I have come across, or as one family member put it, tripped over a line of presidents on my side of the family as well as Bob’s. It seems that both of us are related George HW Bush, my 15th cousin once removed, and George W Bush, who is my 15th cousin 2 times removed. We are also related to, although in a roundabout way, Andrew Jackson, the husband of aunt of wife of 1st cousin 6x removed of my husband, Bob…I know, that one is a little bit complicated.
I did not know of the Spencer connection to, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and George Washington. I also did not know of the Knox connection to the family history to Kentucky Frontiersman Daniel Boone, Benjamin Harrison, a signer of the Declaration of Independence; his son, William Henry Harrison, 9th President of the United States; his great-grandson, Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President of the United States and…President George Washington. At this point, I don’t know at what level we are related to these, but I am finding out that Bob’s family history and my family history are intermingled in several areas. Now that I have some of this information, I look forward to putting these people into my family history, so I can find out how we are connected and who else might be in the family.
I have also found out that on the Spencer side of the family, Henry and Isabella Lincoln Spencer, who lived in the 1400’s, had a very large influence on the United States, as well as England, through their offspring. And, I have found out that John and Jean Gracy Knox, who lived in the 1700’s, also had a large influence in American history through their offspring. It is very strange to me to look at the people in history, knowing that at the time they had children, they had no idea what impact those children and their descendants would have on the world. To be an American president or a signer of the Declaration of Independence, made these men very well known throughout history. Even a frontiersman from Kentucky who probably never gave any thought to what the future of our nation might be at the time he was doing his part to go down in history, has managed to become an endeared character in all the history books, as well as, in television shows and movies. Who would have ever thought that could happen?
It’s odd to think that, depending on what we do with our lives, any one of us could stand out in the history of the nation and the world. Little did anyone think of the future when they began whatever cause they held close to their heart, and yet, just a short time down the road, they have become a household name, written in every history book, with parks, schools, museums, and airports, named after them. I wonder if they had any inkling just how big they were going to become. It is mind boggling just to think back on it now, and I’m not them. Of course, they didn’t really know how big they would be at the time they were becoming so big. Still, the presidents had to have known at the time they were elected that they had joined an elite group of men, and that would never change from that point on. Good or bad, right or wrong, the decisions they made from the first day of their presidency to the last, would be on record as either a testament or detriment to the man. I think that, in itself, would be a daunting thought, but in reality, they couldn’t think about that much when the decisions that affect a nation are in their hands. Just like their predecessors, they are a part of a long line of presidents, and some of them, are a part of my family.
It’s funny how the most unrelated remark can take you back in time by years in a matter of seconds. Last night at bowling, we were getting ready to leave, and there was a couple with a little baby, who was very unhappy. Upon hearing the crying, my daughter, Amy said, “That is one unhappy baby!” At that moment, I was transported back 18 years in an instant…back to when my granddaughter, Shai Royce was a little baby. Amy bowled on a league with Bob and me at that time, and our little Miss Shai really didn’t understand why her mom and grandma sometimes had to hand her off to someone else while we bowled.
I will never forget the crying. She acted like it was the worst trauma in the world. While we were only away from her for a couple of minutes, and she could clearly see us while we bowled, it was not enough. Shai, being our only granddaughter and clearly a bit of a drama queen for most of her life, liked things to go her way, and her way only. It’s funny really, because when she was at home or at my house, she did not require constant holding, just at the bowling alley. I guess we should have played peek-a-boo with her a little bit more often.
There were other times that Shai became clearly unhappy too, but as I think back now, they often occurred in situations where there were a lot of people, and she didn’t know them very well. I guess she was one of those babies who had a real stranger danger instinct going on. Or maybe she just loved her mommy, daddy, and grandparents a lot, so she didn’t want them to be very far away from her. This is not so uncommon in babies to go through times in their first or even their second year, where they only want to be with their parents and grandparents. It’s just a personal preference.
When Shai was sitting on my lap or Amy’s lap at bowling, she was a very happy and content little girl, and she had a smile that could just melt your heart. Her whole face lit up with delight when she smiled. She was just such a joy when she was happy, but when she was unhappy about something, or downright sad, look out, because everyone in the room was going to know about it. Shai was one of those babies who had the ability to screech in anger, and she did not care who heard it…in fact, the more people who knew it, the better she felt. I think she thought that the squeaky wheel is the one that gets the oil, and she decided that she liked that idea.
Our little Miss Shai is not nearly the drama queen she used to be in those days. As she has grown up, and especially in the last few years, she has turned into a strong, capable, responsible young lady, and I am very proud of her. She enjoys a self confidence that many girls her age just don’t have, and she is not afraid of anything. I know that she will do well in whatever she sets her mind to. With her background of making her wants and needs known, she will always come out on top…even if taking her to the bowling alley was a bit of a trial in those days gone by.
Yesterday, while Bob and I were on a walk, I heard a small plane overhead. Both Bob and I looked up and searched the sky until we found it. It occurred to me that it doesn’t matter if it is a bird, a small plane, a jet, or especially a hot air balloon, we always look up. It’s funny, because we hear cars, kids, dogs, trains, and even music around us all the time, but we don’t always look. We might look if the car or motorcycle is really loud, but just as often, it makes no difference to us. We aren’t really very interested.
I don’t think that it is because the things we see and hear on the ground are any more common than the things we see and hear in the sky are. Maybe we just feel the freedom of the air, when we watch something soaring across the sky. I personally love to fly, and I would love to ride in a hot air balloon too. Birds fascinate me …especially the pigeons that circle the downtown Casper area. When I feel like I am tied down with responsibility, all it takes it to sit and watch the birds awhile, and I feel better. The birds lift some of the weight of responsibility and I feel lighter. Now I can’t say for sure that feeling free is the reason that we look up when we hear a noise in the sky, but it could be one reason.
I suppose that if we lived in a big city, I would not think so much about planes in the air, since there are probably far more of them than we get in Casper, Wyoming. Still, I have to wonder if they would get excited about seeing a bunch of hot air balloons over their city, the way we do here. Or maybe it’s just me. I suppose that it is entirely possible that other people don’t look up when a plane, balloon, or bird fly over. I have been known to think a little bit differently about things, so maybe other people don’t give it a second thought. Nevertheless, I love to watch the planes fly overhead, look with wonder when a hot air balloon goes over, and even wonder where the birds are headed when I see them flying above me.
And just in case I didn’t look enough like I live in a dream world, I will tell you that I also look at the clouds. I love to see what pictures God might have painted in the sky with them. The moon and stars are also attention grabbers, because of the beauty they have been given. I like to look for satellites at night, or shooting stars, when the sky isn’t to light. The blood moon that is coming in a couple of days will be the second one this year and I am making plans to be up and watching the sky. Maybe it is just me, but I have a tendency to think that it’s not. I think a lot of people are curious about the things that happen in the sky and in space. I have a feeling that we are a bit like little kids in that way. When we hear a sound in the sky, we always look up.
The Noyes side of Bob’s family was a family of prominence. The American side of the family begins with the Reverend William Noyes who was born in England in 1568. While William remained in England all his life, two of his children and a distant cousin left England and immigrated to America, settling in the Massachusetts area. The occupations included ministers of the Gospel, doctors, and commissioned army officers. One interesting fact is that in nearly every generation, there were two siblings who married siblings from another family. I have seen this is many families, including my own, and it makes me wonder if part of the reason is that there were fewer people around with children of suitable age to marry the children of a family. This might have been the case, especially when families began to move out west. In the history of the Noyes family that points out these siblings marrying siblings of another family, I find that Dr James III married Ann Sanford, who was the daughter of Governor Peleg and Mary Sanford, and his brother, Colonel Thomas Noyes married Ann’s sister, Elizabeth Sanford. While this is a bit unusual, it does happen, and there is nothing wrong with it. The fact that it happened about once a generation is a bit more unusual, but I guess it could be that these siblings had similar taste in mates.
One of the main reasons that some of the Noyes men moved to American is the same as the reason that many of the first settlers came to America…religious differences with the Church of England. The United States has always been a country that prides itself of personal and religious freedoms. James, who is my husband, Bob’s 7th great grandfather, and who was born in England in 1608, married Sarah Brown, and they immigrated to America, and shortly thereafter, he became one of the founders of Newbury, Massachusetts, where he and his wife settled. He was a minister of the Gospel there for twenty years, and was very well liked in the area. His memory is still precious there to this day.
The Reverend James II, who is my husband, Bob’s 6th great grandfather, and who is the second son of James I and Sarah, followed in the footsteps of his dad, as a minister of the Gospel. His biggest claim to fame is that he bore an active part in the founding of Yale College, and his name was the first of “Ten of the principal ministers in the colony, nominated and agreed upon by general consent both of the ministers and people to stand as Trustees or Undertakers, to found, erect and govern a college.” He was selected to be one of the first trustees and founders of Yale. By this time he was an old man and lived in a remote part of the county, but his influence was considered essential to the undertaking. During his ministry he is noted to have baptized one thousand one hundred and seventy-six persons.
Deacon Noyes, who is the fifth son of Reverend James Noyes II, and Bob’s 5th great grandfather, married Dorothy Stanton, which is part of the reason I have to wonder in there is a connection between my dad’s half brother’s mother, Edna Stanton, and Bob’s family through Dorothy Stanton. My grandfather, Allen Spencer, and Edna Stanton Spencer had a daughter, who they named Dorothy, and that along with the name Stanton, gives one reason to wonder. I am encouraged a little bit in my search, in that the Noyes family kept good family records. I hope this will be a useful when it comes to a possible connection between the Stantons of the Noyes family, and the Stanton of the Spencer family. Whatever happens, I find that the Noyes family were honorable people of distinction. They were active in their communities, loved and respected, making them a great American family.
Most people know that Princess Diana married Prince Charles, and for a lot of people that is the extent of the Spencer ties to the British Aristocracy. That assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. The Spencer family is one of Britain’s preeminent aristocratic families. In the family line, there have been knights, baronets, and members of the royal family. Hereditary titles include dukedom of Marlborough, earldom of Sunderland, as well as Spencer and Churchill viscountcy. Of course, the two most well known members were Sir Winston Churchill and Princess Diana, with the current addition of Princes William and Henry, and now George.
So the question remains, how did this family rise to wealth, or were they born into it? The answer is that the Spencer family rose to wealth from humble beginnings. A close relative of Henry Spencer who died in 1478, was John Spencer who in 1469 had become a feudal lord of Wormleighton in Warwickshire and a tenant of the now famous to most people, Altrop in Northamptonshire in 1486. His nephew, Sir John Spencer, who died in 1522, first made a living trading in livestock and other commodities. He was able to save enough money to purchase both the Wormleighton and Altrop lands, and the estate of Altrop with its moated house and several hundred acres of farmland. The family grazed sheep on the land. As time went on, he purchased more and more land. He then rebuilt the Altrop house in 1508 and it became the family home for the next nineteen generations. By the 16th century the Spencer family had entered Parliament in the person of Sir Robert Spencer (1570 – 1627) who represented Brackley in Parliament. He was made a Knight of the Garter and created Baron Spencer of Wormleighton in 1601. During the reign of King James I, Sir Robert Spencer was reputed to be the richest man in England.
There were those in the British aristocracy, such as the more established Howard and FitzAlan ancestors, who didn’t approve of the Spencer’s rise to wealth through sheep herding, and who tried to act more officially aristocratic, but they were shot down in a heated debate when Lord Spencer replied, “When my ancestors, as you say, were keeping sheep, your ancestors were plotting treason.” I’m sure this did not go over well, but apparently, they were not able to dispute that accusation, and so the subject was dropped. There have been countless other Spencers in the British Parliament, as well as the House of Commons. The Spencer family has been influential in much of the lawmaking in England, as well as in the area of British economics.
I guess I don’t quite understand why the other aristocratic families didn’t like the way that the Spencer family rose to wealth, but I think that in the area of wealth and politics, the old money and old political families often don’t like having new upstarts invading their supposed territory. I don’t think it is much different in any country. The wealthy families tend to like their power and prestige, and really don’t want to share those things much. I seriously doubt that they ever gave any thought to where their own wealth came from. Later, after the upstart families are established, they simply have to accept it. It reminds me of the unsinkable Molly Brown on the Titanic. The established money didn’t like her marrying into her money. They didn’t feel like she belonged, but she didn’t care, and she was nevertheless a force to be reckoned with, so they had to treat her with respect. That is what has had to happen with the Spencer family, and now, their aristocracy is no longer questioned by any of the British aristocratic families.
As I was working on my family history this week, I find myself, once again, running into brick walls. These walls were not created by the normal lack of information in Ancestry or any other source that I use, but rather too much information. How could that be, you might ask. Well the problem is that in my family as in many families, there are certain names that were well liked and used often. I realize that handing down a name is usually a show of love and respect for the person from whom the name originated, but in the Spencer family they went a little overboard. There are so many people with the same names, that it becomes totally confusing.
In one family whose dad is named Thomas, and the family had ten children, there would usually be a Thomas among the children. Now that makes sense to me, but when those ten children had children, invariably there would be one Thomas from each child. So now, you have a total of twelve Thomases is the family. If each of those ten grandsons names Thomas had ten children and had a Thomas among them, you would now have one hundred and two Thomases. If the next generation continues the tradition…well, you get the picture. It is a family that is overrun by Thomases. Now, add to that the fact that names like John, Robert, William, Allen, Thomas, Michael, and Christopher, were also names that were prevalent, and remembering this family’s love for passing down names, and you can see how hard it would be to find the right one, when you are looking for a specific connection.
No wonder my parents chose to give their children names like Cheryl (the least unusual name among us), Caryn, Caryl, Alena, and Allyn. While I have come across other Karen Spencers and other Caryns in general, I have yet to find another Caryn Spencer or Caryn Schulenberg. Now, I don’t say that it is impossible, and I realize that down the road a ways, there could be another, but it is rather unlikely. When I had children, I followed the tradition of my parents on my oldest, child, Corrie, but not on my youngest child, Amy. Still, with their last name being Schulenberg, I never found another one. They have both long since married, and their last names are a bit more common, so it is possible for them to find another Corrie Petersen (although probably not spelled the same) or Amy Royce (which I have found).
Corrie broke from tradition, and named her sons common names, Christopher and Joshua, but the last name spelling could still make it easier from an genealogy perspective, but Amy stayed with the tradition by naming her children Shai and Caalab. While Shai has found another person with a similar name, the last name was spelled Royes. She has found other Shais in general, because it is a more common name in Hebrew, but in her realm of the genealogy world, I doubt she will find another one, unless she passes the name down. Caalab will be hard pressed to find another one too, unless he passes down his name as well…simply because of the unique spelling of his name. There may be other Caleb Royces in this world, but probably not another Caalab Royce, unless he is a son or grandson of this Caalab.
I think that most of us, who have unusual names, really like that fact, because it makes us unique. And from a genealogy standpoint, the future searchers for their family history will likely be grateful for those unusual names, because it is much harder to end up with the wrong one in your family tree. People don’t have to figure out which Thomas, Robert, or Christopher this one is. Periodically, I have wondered what it would be like to have a more common name like Karen Smith or something, but I have always decided that I really like my unusual name…both of them in fact. They are what makes me quite unique, and in the family tree, people know they have found me, because I am the only me that exists.
My great grandfather, William Malrose Spencer I, was a hard working man, who had a lot of stress in his life. It is my understanding that he was a stern man, which was probably common for the times, but my guess is that he was a Type A personality. These days, we know that high stress and a Type A personality are sure fire ways to an early grave. I can’t say that my great grandfather died what would be considered an early death in 1922, but these days, it certainly would be considered young. He was 64 years old, when he dropped dead of a heart attack right after hauling a bunch of logs up to a fence so they could be used for repairs around the farm.
On first glance at the picture of him with his cows, I saw a strong man taking care of his animals. But this picture was taken just a short time before Great Grandpa’s death. How could a man look so strong one day, and be dead of a heart attack just a short time later. Upon closer examination, I noticed that he was smoking a pipe. I suppose that his smoking could have contributed to a heart attack…especially when added to his Type A personality and high stress lifestyle. So many things that can contribute to an early death, were virtually unknown to people just a few years ago.
These days, while we don’t always pay attention to the experts on health issues, we are told what things can be detrimental to our health. Quite possibly, if my great grandfather had known what things he was doing that were likely to lead to a heart attack, he would have lived his life a little differently. These days too, we know about things like CPR, aspirin, blood thinners, and heart medications. Any one of those things could have prolonged his life…even after the heart attack. Unfortunately, none of these things was available…or at least not in the current forms that we have these days. So when the heart attack happened, Great Grandpa was simply gone in the blink of an eye. It is entirely possible that when the attack happened, he was alone, and that nothing could have been done when he was discovered, but just as many people in those days have had their heart stop and no one knew what to do, so they died even though there were people with them. While mouth to mouth resuscitation was first introduced in 1740 to save a drowning victim, CPR was not developed until 1960. Before that, if there was no heartbeat, it was all over.
It seems so sad to me that people back then died when there was often a simple way to resuscitate them and save their life. People simply didn’t know it. Those techniques had not come about yet. I’m sure that when people learned of those things later, they felt a twinge of sadness over the loss of a loved one who might have been saved has they lived in a different day and age. I know that as new technology comes about now, I feel sad for those who could have been helped by it, but there is nothing that can be done now. It was how things were in that time.