Monthly Archives: December 2018

While most of the economy in Southeast Texas depended on agriculture, cattle ranching, and the lumber business in the 19th century, things were about to change. The presence of oil was known, but untapped until 1901 when the oil industry would change the landscape of the region. Uses for oil date back many years. In the 1500s, the Spanish used oil from seeps near Sabine Pass for caulking their ships, and to the north, settlers near Nacogdoches used seeping oil for lubricants before 1800. There were numerous discoveries in east and central Texas in the later 1800s, especially at Corsicana in 1896. Attempts were made to drill wells at Spindletop 1893 and 1896 and at Sour Lake in 1896, but they had no successful oil production along the Gulf Coast until the Lucas Gusher came in on Spindletop Hill on January 10, 1901.

Spindletop Hill was a salt dome oil field, that was located in the southern portion of Beaumont, Texas. People had long suspected that oil might be under the hill as the area had been known for its sulfur springs and bubbling gas seepages that would ignite if lit. Then in August, 1892, several men including George W. O’Brien, George W. Carroll, and Pattillo Higgins formed the Gladys City Oil, Gas, and Manufacturing Company to do exploratory drilling on Spindletop Hill.

By September 1901, there were at least six successful wells on Gladys City Company lands. Wild speculation drove land prices around Spindletop to incredible heights. One man who had been trying to sell his tract there for $150 for three years sold his land for $20,000; the buyer promptly sold to another investor within fifteen minutes for $50,000. One well, representing an initial investment of under $10,000, was sold for $1,250,000. Legal entanglements and multimillion-dollar deals became almost commonplace. An estimated $235 million had been invested in oil that year in Texas; while some had made fortunes, others lost everything.

Following the success of the oil industry at Spindletop Hill, many people, including my grandparents, Allen and Anna Spencer would make their way to Texas in search of a better life. They would settle on the oilfields near Ranger, Texas. They didn’t find any oil fields, so their income came from his work for other people in the oilfields. These days people working in the oilfield business make good money, but as near as I can tell oilfield workers averaged about 90 cents an hour in 1919, which would be about $11.74 an hour today. That’s pretty poor wages, especially for the oilfield, but I suppose people didn’t realize how valuable they really were. Needless to say, the oilfield was not the place my grandfather would choose to make his living, and eventually they returned to Wisconsin where he went to work for the railroad.

After an earthquake, especially a big quake, you start looking for damage or reports of damage. You will invariably find damage, unless the quake occurred in an area that is completely unsettled or in the ocean. Still, you have to look well beyond the epicenter of the quake…sometimes as far away as 6,000 miles. A big quake can shake things up for many miles. On December 16, 1811 a series of Intraplate earthquakes began, that shook apart the area of the New Madrid fault in present day Missouri, around the Mississippi River. Intraplate earthquakes are often confused with Interplate earthquakes, but are fundamentally different in origin, occurring within a single plate rather than between two tectonic plates on a plate boundary, like the Interplate earthquake does. The specifics of the mechanics by which they occur, as well as the intensity of the stress drop which occurs after the earthquake also differentiate the two types of events. Intraplate earthquakes have, on average, a higher stress drop than that of an Interplate earthquake and generally higher intensity,meaning they can bring more damage. These Intraplate earthquakes continued until February 7, 1812. The first earthquake on December 16th had its epicenter in northeast Arkansas and measured up to an 8 on the Mercalli intensity scale. This earthquake was followed by another six hours later, and two more on January 23rd and February 7th, respectively. The third quake caused warping, magma eruptions, fissuring and landslides. While these were unusual events for the area, the were far from the most unusual events related to this series of quakes.

After the February earthquake, it was reported that the Mississippi River began running backwards, and event that lasted for several hours and caused two temporary waterfalls to develop. The upthrusting of land caused the formation of Reelfoot Lake 15 miles south of the epicenter while the crushing of quartz crystals underground created flashing lights that lit up the sky. Boatmen on flatboats actually survived this experience and lived to tell the tale. Incredibly, the earthquakes could be felt over 50,000 square miles. That is shocking when you think about the fact that the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which was deadly enough in its own right, was felt over 6,000 square miles.

The New Madrid earthquakes were the biggest earthquakes in American history. While they occurred in the central Mississippi Valley, they were felt as far away as New York City, Boston, Montreal, and Washington D.C. President James Madison and his wife Dolly even felt them in the White House, and church bells rang in Boston. From December 16, 1811 through March of 1812 there were over 2,000 smaller earthquakes in the central Midwest, and between 6,000-10,000 earthquakes in the Bootheel of Missouri where New Madrid is located near the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. In the known history of the world, no other earthquakes have lasted so long or produced so much evidence of damage as the New Madrid earthquakes. Three of the earthquakes are on the list of America’s top earthquakes: the first one on December 16, 1811, a magnitude of 8.1 on the Richter scale; the second on January 23, 1812, at 7.8; and the third on February 7, 1812, at as much as 8.8 magnitude.

In addition to the Mississippi River running backwards, there were numerous other strange happenings too. As the area experienced more than 2,000 earthquakes in five months, people learned that most of the crevices opening up during an earthquake ran from north to south, so when the earth began moving, they would chop down trees in an east-west direction and hold on using the tree as a bridge. Unfortunately, there were also “missing people” who were most likely swallowed up by the earth. Some earthquake fissures were as long as five miles. Another strange event, though not totally unusual was the sand boils that formed. A sand boil is sand and water that come out onto the ground surface during an earthquake as a result of liquefaction at shallow depth. The world’s largest sand boil was created by the New Madrid earthquake. It is 1.4 miles long and 136 acres in extent, located in the Bootheel of Missouri, about eight miles west of Hayti, Missouri. Locals call it “The Beach.” Other, much smaller, sand boils were also found throughout the area. Small pellets up to golf ball sized tar balls were found in sand boils and fissures. Known as Seismic Tar Balls, they are petroleum that has been solidified, or “petroliferous nodules.” Lights flashed from the ground, caused by quartz crystals being squeezed. Generally known as Earthquake Lights, the phenomena is scientifically called “seismoluminescence.”

Water thrown up by an earthquake was lukewarm. It is speculated that the shaking caused the water to heat up and/or quartz light heated the water. The skies turned dark during the earthquakes, so dark that lighted lamps didn’t help. The air smelled bad, and it was hard to breathe. It is speculated that it was smog containing dust particles caused by the eruption of warm water into cold air. Sounds of distant thunder and loud explosions accompanied the earthquakes. People reported strange behavior by animals before the earthquakes. They were nervous and excited. Domestic animals became wild, and wild animals became tame. Snakes came out of the ground from hibernation. Flocks of ducks and geese landed near people. I’m sure that some of these events could be viewed as normal during n earthquake, but certainly some of them or even the mere numbers of these phenomena could be viewed as very strange, and I don’t know that there has ever been a more strange earthquake before or since.

Following the Crash of 1929, which occurred on October 29, 1929, people quickly found that the jobs they thought were secure, were not only not secure, they were gone. That day became known as Black Tuesday. It was the day the stock market took a huge hit, as investors traded some 16 million shares on the New York Stock Exchange in a single day. Billions of dollars were lost, wiping out thousands of investors. The Great Depression followed the crash of 1929…banks failed, businesses closed, city streets were desolate, families lost their homes, and unemployment in rose to nearly 25%. The crash was the culmination of many years of economic instability. In the middle part of the United States, the depression occurred during the drought season. The farmers quickly lost their lands, because their crops died out, and many became migrant workers. They traveled around the country, hoping to find work for all members of the family in exchange for a meal or a place to sleep. Husbands and fathers traveled great distances from their homes in search of any work that they could find. There was no work…anywhere. Times were just about the worst they could possibly be.

Architects, bankers, engineers and educators suddenly found themselves standing in long unemployment lines, competing for menial, basic jobs with pay that was barely enough to put food on their tables. Men who had defined themselves by taking care of their families, being the breadwinner, struggled with the emotional depression that came with the economic depression. As men traveled farther and farther away from home looking for jobs, they are forced to find lodging in public housing or shelters, waking up to begin job hunting again the next morning. Husbands and fathers who had previously earned enough money to feed and clothe their families were forced to stand in bread lines to receive free food so their families would not starve.

People became so desperate for work. As men went from town to town, they were met with billboard signs telling them to keep going, because there was no work in the town. Men with families even got their children involved, carrying signs asking why no one would hire their dad. Then men started wearing their resume on cardboard placards that they wore as they walked along. It seemed incredulous to the men who had been in higher paid jobs, that they could no longer find work…even with their qualifications. Signs like one saying, “I know 3 trades, I speak 3 languages, fought for 3 years, have 3 children and no work for 3 months. But I only want one job,” appeared everywhere. Times couldn’t possibly get worse. While there’s no consensus about the exact end of the Great Depression among economic historians, the unemployment rate remained high for the rest of the 1930s, even as the banking crisis eased up. One major event, however, shifted the focus of the country away from the Great Depression. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, millions of men and women would join the work force as the US entered World War II.

My great grand niece, Reece Victoria Renae Balcerzak is a little girl who has coma a long way is just one year. Looking back on her first year of life can take her family from the deepest fear of loss to the greatest thrill of victory. Reece was originally due February 17, 2018, but on December 1, 2017, things went wrong in a scary way. While Reece’s parents, Katie and Keifer, were sitting on the couch talking about the future and the precious little life Katie was carrying, her water broke. They rushed to the hospital, where the staff prepared them for a ride in an ambulance to the airport, and a trip on Life Flight to Denver where they were taken to Presbyterian Saint Luke’s Hospital. They had such different plans for this time in their lives.

On October 5, 2017, Katie and Keifer found out that their bundle of joy was going to be a girl. They couldn’t have been more excited, and now on December 1, 2017, they couldn’t have been more scared. After all, Katie was just 28 weeks pregnant. Birth now was just too soon. Keifer later wrote, “Presbyterian Saint Luke’s Hospital has been an amazing place. The Doctors and Nurses are top notch and treat us like normal human beings. We have been told that they hope to keep Katie pregnant for another 5 weeks before she will be induced. However, it’s very scary because with her water being broken we all know she could begin labor at any given time. After Katie gives birth our baby girl will be here until her original birth day of February 17, 2018.” The goal of five more weeks was not to be, and on December 14, 2018, Reece made her entrance into the world. She was born at 2:23pm, weighing just 3 pounds 11 ounces. She was just 17¾ inches long.

That unplanned arrival marked the traumatic start to little Reece’s life, but her story did not end there. Reece received amazing care at Presbyterian Saint Luke’s Hospital. The are like God’s miracle working network for babies, preemie or just sick. A very long 60 days later, Katie and Keifer left Presbyterian Saint Luke’s Hospital, with very mixed emotions. They wanted to go home, but as any parent of a preemie will tell you, that carries with it the worry over your child. Nevertheless, before long, Reece’s sweet smiles and her darling personality soothed their worried minds, because it was obvious that their little girl was going to be just fine at home too. Reece has made amazing progress, and while she may still be a bit smaller than average, she is a happy, healthy one year old. Today is Reece’s 1st birthday. Happy birthday Reece!! Have a great day sweet girl!! We love you!!

I’m not a huge fan of winter, but recently I saw something the mentioned how quiet it seems when it’s snowing, and I started thinking about the fact, that it really does seem quieter when it snows. I thought it must be some sort of illusion, or more likely, the lack of the Wyoming wind blowing, that made my world seem more quiet. Still, my curious mind had to find out exactly what the answer was. I’m not super into scientific experiments, but this seemed like a good one to check into. Maybe it was just me thinking about that, but maybe it wasn’t. Maybe other people wondered about it too.

As it turns out, it wasn’t just me…and the world really is quieter when it snows. That isn’t something you really see when watching a blizzard on television, and maybe there are some exceptions to the rule, but the reality is that snow absorbs sound waves. When it’s snowing, there’s plenty of space between snowflakes, meaning that there is also less space for sound waves to bounce around…so I’m not imagining it. The world actually gets more quiet when it snows. Bernadette Woods Placky, a meteorologist and director of Climate Central’s Climate Matters program says, “When snow falls, it does absorb some of the sound waves.”

To further add to the quiet, as snowflakes stack up, there is more space left between them, compared to the surface of liquids like water. “With all that space, sound is unable to bounce off snow as easily as it would off water,” Woods Placky says. As a result, the sound gets absorbed, and somewhat like the way a soundproof room absorbs the sound, so you can’t hear what is going on inside, the snow pulls the sound into itself, and we don’t hear it very well. Of course, things like less people outside and on the road also account for the quiet. Traffic stalls tremendously during and after a snowstorm, due to icy roads and the dangers it presents to drivers. Many animals, especially birds, also aren’t out as much. They have to adapt to snowy weather that makes their environment colder and their food more difficult to find. They hunker down to conserve energy.

Whatever the reason for the quiet we hear during a snowstorm, I have always felt like it was a beautiful thing. I don’t like the cold, and I don’t like the icy roads, but just watching the snow, fall quietly to the ground, and listening to the quiet that it produces makes it would of those wonderful experiences that you have to slow down and take the time to notice, or you will never have the full peace that happens when the world gets quiet.

Time waits for no man, and it doesn’t slow down or stop while we grieve a loss. As a child and on into adulthood, it never occurred to me that I would live one single day without my dad. I can’t say why I thought that, because in retrospect, it was not really a logical way to think, but then are matters of the heart ever logical. It doesn’t matter if you are talking about romantic love or the love you have for parents or siblings. They should just never leave you, whether that is logical or not.

Nevertheless, as illogical as it seemed to me, my dad, Al Spencer went home to be with the Lord eleven years ago today December 12, 2007 at precisely 12:00pm. The world seemed so empty when we left the hospital that day, and I found myself wondering how it could be that the world and time kept moving when everything for my dad stopped at that moment. Again these were not the thoughts of a person in a rational state of mind,but rather a person who had just lost a beloved parent. I knew that my dad was in Heaven,because he had always believed in Jesus as his Saviour, but he was no longer here with us…his wife, Collene Spencer; daughters, Cheryl Masterson, Caryn Schulenberg, Caryl Reed, Alena Stevens, and Ally Hadlock; and their families, and that was what made the whole world…just wrong.

As the years go by…faster than any of us ever dreamed they would, we cherish the memories of our dad more and more,because they are all we have…because our dad and our mom are in our future now. My thoughts go back to the many times my girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce and I had lunch at their house. It’s odd, I suppose that those lunches are what comes to mind, but they have been coming to my mind a lot these past few days. I remember going over to their house at lunch. Mom would make her specialties, Stuffed Tomatoes or Chicken salad with Shoe String Potatoes. As we gathered at the table to eat, the conversation covered everything from our families to how our jobs were going. Mom and Dad didn’t care what we talked about, they just wanted to be a part of our lives. Mom and Dad were always all about family. They loved their kids, grandkids, great grandkids, and great great grandkids. They felt so blessed by the family they started beginning back in 1954. Family was all they ever wanted. Family was everything. I still can’t believe that my dad has been in Heaven for eleven years today. We love you Dad, and miss you very much. We will see you in Heaven one day.

My nephew, Barry Schulenberg has always been a hard worker. From the time he was a little boy, he worked hard to help his grandpa, Walt Schulenberg with anything he was working on. It didn’t matter what his grandpa was doing, Barry wanted to do it too. In fact, Barry once told his mom, Jennifer Parmely that he was going to quit school so he could help his grandpa. He was going to work on and drive trucks. The reality is that Barry did grow up to drive and work on trucks. His own vehicles are pickups, and he works on the trucks for the State of Wyoming. He hasn’t changed a bit since he was a little boy.

Barry has always been the kind of guy that you can count on.He helps his brothers and his uncles with projects they are working on. They have a great network of assistants, and that makes for a very good team of people. This year Barry has been helping his Uncle Ron Schulenberg in cutting and splitting the mountain of wood it takes to heat their home for the winter. Barry has also been working on insulating his garage. As a mechanic, Barry spends a lot of time in his garage, and staying warm while working is vital.

While Barry is hard working man, he is not all about work. He and his wife Kelli love to travel and they have gone on many trips. They like to attend concerts, and to go hiking. They also like snow shoeing and skiing. A favorite place to go camping is in the Big Horn Mountains, but they also enjoy a number of spots in Colorado. This pas summer, they took a vacation to Yellowstone National Park and several areas of Montana, took in a concert and had a great time relaxing.

A year ago, after losing their beloved Black Labrador, Dakota, Barry and Kelli decided to take the plunge and get another dog. They went to see what was available, and came up with a male Border Collie/Australian Cattle Dog mix that they named Scout. When a dog is a puppy, you don’t always know how they will turn out, but Scout and Barry are best buddies. Scout loves Kelli too, but he likes hanging out with Barry a lot. They “work” together on whatever Barry is doing, because Scout is a little bit like his owner. He just wants to hangout and ride in trucks. He would probably work on them too…if he knew how. Today is Barry’s birthday. Happy birthday Barry!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

In 1536, Henry VIII decided to conquer Ireland and bring it under crown control. From that time forward until 1920, all of Ireland was a part of the British Isles. The British Isles is a geographical term which includes two large islands, Great Britain and Ireland, and 5,000 small islands, most notably the Isle of Man which has its own parliament and laws. Today, only Northern Ireland remains, as part of the United Kingdom.

For the most part, the Irish War of Independence, also called the Anglo-Irish War, was a guerrilla conflict and most of the fighting was conducted on a small scale by the standards of conventional warfare. Although there were some large-scale encounters between the Irish Republican Army and the state forces of the United Kingdom. The Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary (ADRIC), generally known as the Auxiliaries or Auxies, was a paramilitary unit of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) during the War. It was set up in July 1920 and made up of former British Army officers, most of whom came from Great Britain. Its role was to conduct counter-insurgency operations against the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The Auxiliaries became infamous for their reprisals on civilians and civilian property in revenge for IRA actions, the best known example of which was the burning of Cork city in December 1920. The Black and Tans officially the Royal Irish Constabulary Special Reserve, was a force of temporary constables recruited to assist the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) during the war. The force was the brainchild of Winston Churchill, then British Secretary of State for War. Recruitment began in Great Britain in late 1919. Thousands of men, many of them British Army veterans of World War I, answered the British government’s call for recruits.

The war continued on and by November 1920, around 300 people had been killed in the conflict. Then, there was an escalation of violence beginning on Bloody Sunday, November 21, 1920, fourteen British intelligence operatives were assassinated in Dublin in the morning. Then, in retaliation, the afternoon the RIC opened fire on a crowd at a Gaelic football match in the city, killing fourteen civilians and wounding 65. A week later, seventeen Auxiliaries were killed by the IRA in the Kilmichael Ambush in County Cork. In retaliation, the British government declared martial law in much of southern Ireland. The centre of Cork City was burnt out by British forces on December 10, 1920. Violence continued to escalate over the next seven months, when 1,000 people were killed and 4,500 republicans were interned. Much of the fighting took place in Munster (particularly County Cork), Dublin and Belfast, which together saw over 75 percent of the conflict deaths. Violence in Ulster, especially Belfast, was notable for its sectarian character and its high number of Catholic civilians.

When most of us think of outer space, we think of a place that is quiet and still, like floating through a vacuum. I suppose that some of that is true, but while things do float around in space, they can also crash into other things floating in space. I don’t know if collisions in space make a sound, but I suspect they do. I don’t know how two objects can collide quietly, but maybe the sound does occur, and then doesn’t carry. Whether there is a sound or not, those space collisions are not soft hits, and damage can occur.

After NASA first put the Hubble telescope in orbit in 1990, scientists realized that the telescope’s primary mirror had a flaw called spherical aberration. Basically, the outer edge of the mirror was ground too flat by a depth of 2.2 microns. That is about as thick as one-fiftieth the thickness of a human hair. I don’t know how that could make much difference, but this aberration resulted in images that were fuzzy because some of the light from the objects being studied was being scattered. While this was not caused by other objects in space, it had to be repaired anyway. The Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement, or COSTAR, was developed as an effective means of countering the effects of the flawed shape of the mirror. COSTAR was a telephone booth sized instrument which placed 5 pairs of corrective mirrors, some as small as a nickel coin, in front of the Faint Object Camera, the Faint Object Spectrograph and the Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph. The fix worked, and while this was not the only repair job done on the Hubble Telescope, it was the first.

NASA arranged a repair mission SM1, or Shuttle Mission: STS-61 to make the repair. The mission took place on December 2-13, 1993 in the Shuttle Endeavor. The mission, however, was not just to fix a flaw in the original design, which would have been logical when we think of how much we depend on the Hubble Telescope, but the crew also installed and replaced other components including: Solar Arrays, Solar Array Drive Electronics (SADE), Magnetometers, Coprocessors for the flight computer, Two Rate Sensor Units, Two Gyroscope Electronic Control Units, and a GHRS Redundancy Kit. The crew included Commander Richard O. Covey, Pilot Kenneth D. Bowersox, Payload Commander F. Story Musgrave and Mission Specialists Kathryn C. Thornton, Claude Nicollier, Jeffrey A. Hoffman and Tom Akers. The mission successfully made the repairs to Hubble.

My niece, Jessi Sawdon is a woman of many talents. First and foremost, she is a great wife and mother. Her husband Jason is a Wyoming Highway Patrolman, and Jessi make a perfect partner for him in all work related events, as he does for her. Together they have a beautiful little girl named Adelaide. Jessi stays quite busy keeping up with Adelaide, who is a little girl on the go. Adelaide is starting to talk very well, and she had begun to remind her grandparents of her mommy as she was growing up. My sister, Allyn Hadlock, Jessi’s mom tells me that she finds many of the things Adelaide says and does funny, because Adelaide does some of the same things Jessi used to do at that age. If Jessi wants Adelaide to do something she will tell Adelaide, “I’ll do it” and then Adelaide is SURE to do it! We used to use that same reverse psychology on Jessi and she would do what we wanted every time! Ally says it is hilarious! I think that Jessi learned from her parents, and now that knowledge is working for her with Adelaide too, in quite a comical way, I think.

Jessi’s sister, Lindsay says that Jessi is the coordinator of all the things. That made me laugh, because my mind went back to a younger Jessi, as she arranged things with the other children. One time was when she was trying to get her cousin Michelle to cooperate in a picture, and when things didn’t go well, Jessi glared at Michelle. That made a better picture than the planned take Jessi was trying to accomplish. Lindsay told me that Jessi was very good at “coordinating us.” I think I have to agree with Lindsay on that. Lindsay also said “As a sister, she is always good at making you laugh, cheering you up if your down, and just calling to talk. She is the best at movie quotes.”

Jessi takes great pride in her community, and Casper is very blessed to have her promotion it. She has been working with David Street Station, professionally. Jessi is a marketing professional at Hinge Studio Marketing and Communications. She also designs websites and does pictures and videos for the company and their clients. One nice thing for Jessi at this time in her life and career, is the fact that she gets to work from home. The owners of Hinge Studio Marketing and Communications are two friends of Jessi’s. The company is fairly new, but they doing very well and they are already very busy. Aside from being a great marketing professional for the Davis street station, Jessi loves to attend all the fun things going on there, and to make sure everyone knows what’s going on in Casper. She really is an advocate for all things Casper. Yes, they are clients for her work, but they are so much more than that to Jessi. And Jessi always knows what is going on in Casper and she is seriously involved! She loves to shop local, eat local and play local! Jason and Adelaide are frequently with Jessi at events they promote, so it is a fun time for the whole family. today is Jessi’s birthday. Happy birthday Jessi!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Check these out!