Monthly Archives: November 2014
When a name is passed down from generation to generation dating back to the 1400s or even further back, it is often not easy to say just how that name got started, but once in a great while, we are able to find out for sure, because prior to a certain point, that name did not appear. Such is the case with my dad’s name in his family line. I have searched the family history pretty extensively, and while I could be mistaken, I don’t think that I am…for this part of the line anyway. My dad’s name is Allen Spencer, as was his dad’s and great grandfather’s. The name, Allen was first introduced with my dad’s great grandfather…as near as I can tell. It did not come from his parents, but rather from his grandparents. I’m sure that at this point, your are confused, so let me clarify this.
My fourth great grandfather, William Spencer, who was born on July 22, 1745, married a woman named Mercy Allen sometime before 1790. The exact date is unknown, but the only child anyone seems to know about, Christopher was born in 1790. Christopher Spencer was my third great grandfather, and the father of the first recorded Allen Spencer…who was, of course named after his grandmother…Mercy Allen. From that point on there would be an Allen from each generation, with only one exception that I am aware of…my sister, Allyn who would have been Allen, had she been a boy. Since she was not, my parents did the closest name they could…Allyn. Having all daughters, I’m sure you would expect that the Allen Spencer line would end with my parents, but it did not, because my sister, Caryl, upon the birth of her son, named him Allen Spencer Beach…thereby continuing the tradition. With the great care that was taken to continue the Allen Spencer name throughout the generations, I have to say that they succeeded…albeit with a little bit of creativity. While I don’t always think of my sister as being an Allen, she did go to school with a boy named Allyn, who was in fact called Allen. It is all in where you place the accent. We always pronounced hers like Lynn, with an A in front. It really had to be continued…it’s tradition. And it is my hope that my nephew, Allen will continue the tradition, or that someone else in the family will do so, because it seems a shame to let it end now.
The rather funny thing about the name, Allen being a last name is that my dad always joked with us when we or anyone else named their kids a name that could have been a last name. Names like Ryan, Garrett, and Kellie, while maybe not spelled exactly like the last name they came from, were nevertheless, originally last names. It’s funny that Dad teased about those names, saying they were last names, but didn’t make the same connection with his own name. I’m sure that was because he knew that it had been his dad’s and great grandfather’s name too. Still, like it or not, Dad’s name was originally the last name of his third great grandmother. Sorry to say it, Dad…but, that was once a last name!!
Every time I make a new family connection…no matter which of the many branches of the family tree it happens to be on…I feel such excitement. These are new members of a family history that is ever evolving. We are related…be it by blood or by marriage, and now there are new people to get to know. They may or may not have new family history information, but quite often, they do. They may not even know that they have important information, until someone asks them a few questions. Still, most times they do know that they have important information, but they just don’t know that it is information that someone else is interested in.
In the past year and a half, I have had the wonderful opportunity to become friends with some family members on my father-in-law’s side of the family, that I knew about, but had never really connected with. My father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg, had a half brother, Andrew (Butch) Schulenberg, and I met him and his family years ago, when we went to a family reunion for the Schulenberg family. After my father-in-law’s passing, we needed to contact his half brother, and that conversation started my curiosity. I began searching Facebook, and came up with a familiar name…Andi Schulenberg.
When I first met Butch’s daughter, Andi Kay, she was a little girl, with a really cute name that just stuck in my head over the years. I didn’t have a chance to talk to her then, but I remember thinking that she was a cute little girl. She was a couple of years older than my oldest daughter, Corrie, and three years older than my youngest daughter, Amy. They could have been friends if they had lived in the same town. As I recall, Andi Kay was into sports, but I don’t recall what sport exactly. Andi has two brothers…an older brother, Tadd, and a younger brother Heath. At the time of the reunion, I don’t remember seeing her brothers, nor her mom, Charlys. I only remember meeting Butch and Andi Kay, and them only in passing.
Now that I have friended Andi on Facebook, I have to say, that as an adult, she is a very interesting person. We haven’t connected personally, just through Facebook, but I like her a lot. She is the mother of a nine year old boy named Calen, who is her pride and joy. Andi is a therapist at the Northern Wyoming Mental Health Center in Sheridan, Wyoming. She is bright and cheerful, with a smile that makes you feel like she is your friend right away. Through Andi, I have connected with Jennifer Schulenberg, who probably doesn’t know it, but she is the second Jennifer Schulenberg. The first one is my sister-in-law, Jennifer Schulenberg Parmely. The current Jennifer Schulenberg is married to Andi’s brother, Heath Schulenberg, and they have two sweet little boys named Heath and Ethan…or as Jennifer puts it so adorably in a picture…Thing One and Thing Two. I also connected with Butch Schulenberg, who is my husband, Bob’s uncle, and now with his wife, Charlys and their son Tadd. I understand that we are going to have to work on Heath to get him on Facebook…but that is a job for another day. Sometimes, you have to pick your battles, but maybe we can get him interested in new family members.
I feel like our family is so much more complete, now that we have added the Forsyth Connection to the mix. I look forward getting to know the Forsyth Schulenberg families better. I know there are more of them that have not been mentioned here, but I don’t know them yet. I’m sure there will be some new connections very soon. These things have a way of snowballing into a bigger and bigger connection every time.
I think it’s a good thing that my niece, Machelle Moore likes to do a lot of outdoor, tomboy kinds of things, because with a husband and two sons, she is pretty much surrounded by those things. Her family loves to go camping and recently purchased her parent’s old travel trailer. They love spending time up in the Big Horn Mountains. The boys get to have lots of time to get out of town and do something different, and for Machelle, that is what it’s all about…spending time with her family and watching her boys grow up. Of course, being married to, Steve, the love of her life is one of the things that is closest to Machelle’s heart, and something that has made her life wonderful for the past fifteen years. Doing things with her three boys is what she most likes to do.
Machelle also likes to get away once in a while and go to Las Vegas with her sister, Susan Griffith or her aunt, Rachel Schulenberg. The fast paced party lifestyle is fun to go participate in once in a while, and since her husband, Steve doesn’t like to rally travel much, he stays home with the boys so she can go and have a good time. She also likes to come to Casper sometimes to visit family members here, and while the boys come with her about half the time, they don’t always. Since she and Rachel were good friends before Rachel married her Uncle Ron, and moved to Casper, it is one way to spend time with her friend.
Machelle always liked to come to Casper to visit though. When she came down with her mom, Debbie Cook, to visit her grandparents. As a little girl, she always seemed especially excited to come and spend time with them. As they grew older, she would come and cut their hair for them. She was their personal hair stylist, and that is not an easy thing to have these days, but nevertheless, they had their own personal hair stylist…their granddaughter, Machelle. I suppose that the fact that she loved them with all her heart, did have something to do with that privilege. Machelle would do just about anything for her grandparents. And that has endeared her to many of us in the family. Machelle is simply a good hearted person, and the kind of friend you want to have. Today is Machelle’s birthday. Happy birthday Machelle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
It’s tradition…looking at your life on Thanksgiving Day, to give thanks for the many blessings that you have received over the year, and the years past. We take stock of everything. The sad things are set aside for review on another day, and we focus on our family, friends, homes, and jobs. And we look to the future and what it promises to bring for us. It isn’t all about things, and in fact, things are often the furthest things from our minds. We are much more focused on our loved ones. Of course, this isn’t the only day we give thanks for our loved ones, nor should it be, but sometimes we find ourselves so preoccupied with our daily lives, that we don’t really notice the blessings that are all around us every day.
This tradition was felt to be so important, that on October 3, 1783, President George Washington issued a proclamation making the 26th day of November as a national day of prayer and thanksgiving…a day to give thanks to Almighty God with grateful hearts for all He has done for us. While the date has been changed to the 4th Thursday of November now, the tradition has remained intact. Somehow though, many people have forgotten the prayer and thanksgiving part of the day, and remember only the food part of the day. There is nothing wrong with feasting…in fact God set aside feast days for His people too, but we must remember that the feast part of the day is supposed to coincide with the prayer and thanksgiving part of the day.
It is my belief that most people are thankful for what they have, but there is a difference between being thankful for things, and giving thanks for things. I believe that difference is acknowledging the one who gave all these things to you…God. I suppose that people who don’t believe in God would see no reason to be thankful to Him, but for me, with my deep faith in God, blessing couldn’t come from anywhere else. God loves me and He is the one who blesses me. Therefore, it is to Him…Almighty God that I give thanks on this Thanksgiving Day. I, like so many other people, neglect the need to thank God in the way that I really should, and maybe having a national day of Thanksgiving, will give us all the opportunity to step back from our busy lives and take a good look at all we have been blessed with. And maybe we can all take a few minutes out of this day to acknowledge God’s grace and loving kindness toward us…and give Him thanks for all he does for us. Happy Thanksgiving to all…and thanks be to God for His loving kindness and all the blessing He has given me and my family.
My great grandparents, Carl and Albertine Schumacher immigrated to the United States from Germany, before they even knew each other. When they arrived, they, like most immigrants, could not speak English very well. It made communication difficult in those early years. Eventually, they learned enough English to get by, but the family still spoke German in the home. German continued to be the home language for many years. In fact, it would take a teacher at the school where their two oldest children, Anna and Albert attended, who made fun of their language, to change their home life forever. When the children came home upset about the thoughtlessness of the teacher, my great grandmother, said, “That’s it!! From now on, this family will speak only English in this house!” She did it to protect her children from further ridicule, but looking back on that time now, I think it is a bit sad that the German language that had been a part of their heritage for generation and generations, was now lost forever. I know that my great grandparents probably always remembered the language, but for their children much of it was lost, and for their children, it was completely lost.
When I was in school, I fell in love with the German language, and took it in school for four years. It was so interesting to me to speak the German language, but the biggest problem was that I had no one to speak it with at home. I can see how speaking one language in the home and another at school could have become a problem for my grandmother and great uncle. It would be hard for them to learn English when German was spoken in the home. I know that the opposite made it very hard for me. The only time I got to speak German was the hour I had class each day. It would be especially confusing for younger children. Nevertheless, I think it could be done, and would have been beneficial for all of the children.
Over the years, I have been an advocate for English being our countries official language, and I still feel that way, but I also think it is great when people can speak more than one language. In my opinion, it is rude to speak another language in the company of people who cannot speak it back, because they invariably get the feeling that you are talking about them, and perhaps you are. Even if you aren’t, they will always believe you were. That is why I think it is important to consider those around you when choosing to speak a language that is not the common one to the area you are in. Of course, when you are not in a conversation with those around you, like in a grocery store, it’s a different thing. I think people should pass their heritage, culture, and language down to children and grandchildren, because it will never be something they regret giving them, but it is also important to embrace their new home when they immigrate, because that is where you will live, work, and socialize from then on.
Like many people, my great grand uncle, Cornealius Spencer and his wife Leola Stinson Spencer left Iowa and made their way to Oklahoma in the spring of 1893. With them were their children and Leola’s parents. They had heard that the government was giving away land and they had decided to make a new start. The homestead they received was 160 acres, but the land came with qualifications. The homestead owner was required to fence the land, build a building, and live on the land for a period of one year before it became theirs. When I think of those reasonable qualifications, in light of today and all we have now, I think that the land they received was really cheap…and maybe it was, but times were different then, and living on a piece of land that had no improvements, and the soil was hard and rocky, might not have been so easy. They didn’t have the farming equipment we have now, so they had to till the ground with a team of horses or a yoke of oxen and a hand plow. They couldn’t just run down to the lumber store to buy building supplies. They had to cut down their own logs to build a home, or live in a sod hut…which many people then did for a time.
The families arrived with two covered wagons and Leola with two small children…four year old Oren and two year old Edith. The wagons were pulled by a pair of oxen. With no bits or lines to guide the oxen. They pulled the wagon by a yoke and Leola had to guide them by the voice commands or “gee” and “haw” for left and right and “whoa” for stop. The milk cow was tied to the wagon and the family brought along a coop of chickens. They camped out at night, and let the chickens eat the bugs in the area. There were no roads to get to Oklahoma, so they had to simply go across the prairie.
Once they arrived in Blaine county, the men filed on two places that were next to each other. Each place had a spring for water, until a well could be dug. They dug a dugout near the spring, and were settled by June 12, 1893, when their new daughter Elsie Jane was born. They lived in the dugout until a home could be built. There were no towns close, so they had to rely on what they could hunt. Thankfully there was an abundance of deer, rabbits, turkeys, and even squirrels, so they never went hungry. Both Cornealius and Leola were excellent shots, so it didn’t matter who was available to hunt, both were able to get food for the family.
I can fully understand why it was so hard to make a homestead work now, because the supplies the homesteaders needed were not readily available. Many people gave up and headed back east, but my great grand uncle and his family stuck it out, and spent their remaining years in Oklahoma. They would raise their ten children there and were very successful in their endeavors. Homesteading wasn’t designed to be easy. Getting 160 acres of land is a big deal, and while the land ended up being free in the monetary sense, it certainly did not in the blood, sweat, and tears sense. The homesteader earned every inch of that property.
On a trip to Tennessee and the surrounding area in April of 2003, Bob and I had the opportunity to visit Lookout Mountain, which is located near Chattanooga, in southwestern Tennessee. The drive up was stunning, and everything we saw there from Ruby Falls, to the Incline Railway, and Rock City proved to hold amazing views as well. From the top of the mountain, you can see seven states…Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Alabama. The view across that area is spectacular. When we travel, we love to go sight seeing, so this area fit right into our idea of a great place to visit. looking back now, I’m sure that time constraints played a part in my missing out on some of the amazing historical value of the area I was visiting, and to me, that is really a shame, because so much took place there, and I didn’t even know it.
I suppose I should have known the history of the area, but apparently I wasn’t as up on my Civil War and Indian history as I am now. I really wish I had known or had at least taken more time reading the many signs in the area, because I could have figured out what a great area we were in. During the Nickajack Expedition which occurred in the 18th century, Lookout Mountain would become a last stand for the Chickamauga Cherokee, who were followers of Chief Dragging Canoe, who opposed the peace treaty between Native Americans and the American settlers. The peace treaty was signed in 1777. Most of the Chickamauga Cherokee agreed to the treaty, but a small band followed Chief Dragging Canoe, and they went to battle in the late summer through the fall of 1794. The final battle, and the point that Chief Dragging Canoe’s warriors would lose the fight took place on Lookout Mountain. The Indians were no match for the military might of the army, and after wounding only 3 of the militia, the villages of Nickajack Town and Running Water Town were destroyed, leaving seventy Cherokee dead.
The Civil War battle that made Lookout mountain famous took place on November 24, 1863 and was a part of the Chattanooga Campaign. Major General Joseph Hooker defeated the Confederate forces who were under the command of Major General Carter Stevenson. Lookout mountain has an excellent view of the Tennessee River, making it a perfect stronghold. It also held a perfect view of the Union supply lines, so if the Confederate army wanted to starve out the Union army, they needed Lookout Mountain, and if the Union army wanted to keep their supply lines clear, they needed Lookout Mountain. One of the hardest places to fight a battle is a mountain…at least for the side who is at the bottom of the mountain. They are far too visible to fight the battle easily. So, after calling for reinforcements, Major General Joseph Hooker went into battle. It was a must win situation. If they lost the Union soldiers would be starved into surrender.
Looking back now on our visit makes everything we saw seem much more interesting. In my memory files, I can pull out the different views of our visit to Lookout Mountain, and I can visualize the exact view the Confederate soldiers had, and knowing that there was virtually no place to hide, I can’t help but wonder how the Union soldiers managed to win that battle. I suppose that it was partly the numbers of soldiers, with the Union having more than 1,000 more, but more importantly, I think it was the fact that they surrounded the Confederate soldiers, leaving them with too many sides to cover. Our trip to Lookout Mountain, Ruby Falls, and Rock City has taken on a whole new meaning for me. I wish I had known it then. I would have really enjoyed that stroll through history. The great thing is that my pictures, memories, and a little look at history can take me back to visit again.
When Bob and I arrived at the nursing home where his mother lives, she immediately asked us if we had our guns. We usually go with the flow when talking to her, because with Alzheimer’s Disease, you just never know what she will say. She gets an idea into her head, and she goes with it. Things like telling us she cooked dinner, or asking what time she has to be to school are common topics, but she hasn’t talked about guns very much, so I wasn’t really sure what direction this conversation was going to take. When I told her we didn’t have our guns, she gave me a sideways glance, and I knew this was a serious conversation. She then told me that when “those guys” get here, we are going to start shooting at them. I told her that it was against the law to shoot at people, and she informed me that it wasn’t if they shot at us first. You just can’t argue with that logic, so we tried to change the subject. She was having none of it.
She told us that we needed to close all the windows and turn off all the lights before “those guys” got here…and that when the shooting started…it was going to be really bad. It was very clear to me that she was anticipating a real shoot out. It isn’t very often that she is impossible to move off of a conversation and on to something else, so we knew that we were going to have to play this one out. I told her that no one told us that we were supposed to bring our gun, and once again, I received a sideways glance that told me that she really did not approve of our severe lack of preparation for this upcoming battle. I’m not sure how I was supposed to know that we needed to bring our gun, but I can say that since she had informed us that “the boys” called and told her about “those guys” who were coming to have this shoot out, It seems to me that she had a definite advantage over us. If “the boys” took the time to call her, maybe they should have called us too, since it was to be our job to protect Mom from “those guys” after all. Shouldn’t we have been told this responsibility was coming before “those guys” were on their way…with guns!!
When we took Mom into the dining room for dinner…again trying to get her mind off of the upcoming battle, she still would not be moved. She made Bob close the blinds in the room, in case “those guys” showed up before she was done eating. When Bob told her that he was pretty sure they wouldn’t be there before we could get done, she didn’t look very convinced. Bob had to tell her that as soon as she was done eating, we would go out of the dining room and sit in a room with no windows, so she would be safe. She ate her dinner quickly and without any arguments, and when she was done, we went into the TV room. We were sure that it was a protected room without any problems, but she immediately noticed that the blinds across that room were open too, so we had to close those as well. We assured her that she was safe now. Then she said that pretty soon, they would be getting ready to call out the numbers. Suddenly, it became crystal clear that the shoot out was over, and…we were on to Bingo.
My nephew, Barry Schulenberg’s wife, Kelli is a summer girl. Winter is simply not her style. I can relate to that, because if you are the kind of person who loves to get outdoors and do some hiking, winter really cramps your style. Most summer girls don’t snow ski, ice skate, or snow mobile, because those things require cold weather. Even if you dress warmly…it just isn’t enough. A summer girl loves the warm weather. The heat goes clear to your bones and after the long winter, and even the early spring…you are finally warm. The thing that probably surprises me the most is that while Kelli is a summer girl, she has never lived anywhere but in the north, and at least for now, that doesn’t look like it will change soon.
I suppose that there are a lot of things that are harder to do in the winter. It can be rather cold riding horses or bicycles. Even driving a car is no fun in winter’s snow. Slick roads make driving treacherous, especially when you live in the country, as Kelli and Barry do. Kelli, especially doesn’t like driving on slick roads, and so she often rides into town with Barry, so she doesn’t have to drive the roads herself. I can understand that, because Bob and I used to live in the area they do. It is something I can’t say that I miss in the slightest.
For Kelli and Barry, summer means travel and concerts. Their weekends, during the summer months, often include day drives to Colorado, just to look at the beautiful scenery, and do a little shopping at their favorite stores. I can relate to that too, because while I don’t care much for shopping or concerts, I love nice long drives and beautiful scenery. Being nature girls, probably makes us both feel the same way about the scenic drives you can find in the Rocky Mountain area. Wyoming and Colorado are both filled with mountain scenes and lots of rivers and creeks. Camping and hiking can be done in so many places in the Rocky Mountains. Barry and Kelli have been to a number of them too.
Kelli loves animals too, especially their dog, Dakota, and donkeys, which she doesn’t own any of yet, but given time, I think she just might someday. That was one of the reasons they bought a place out in the country, and while this place didn’t turn out to be exactly what they had hoped for, in time it will either become what they want or they will find a different place that will provide what is needed to fulfill their dreams.
As winter approaches, I’m sure Kelli will be staying at home more, doing her nesting. She loves her home and works hard to make it pretty…with a western flair. Staying home and reading or getting on Facebook and Twitter are favorite pastimes of Kelli’s…when she can’t be outside hiking or riding her bicycle that is. Today is Kelli’s birthday. Happy birthday Kelli!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
In years gone by, many mothers were also their children’s teacher. I suppose that when it is just the way things are done, you step up and do what you need to do. Back when families first headed out west, there were no schools and no teachers, and yet the children still needed an education. The one difference they had then was that many, and in fact most of those girls who went through school ended up with a teaching certificate. It made sense, when you think about it. Many people were heading west and schools were scarce, so parents needed to know how to teach, so kids could get a proper education.
Soon schools popped up in every town, and homeschooling began to move into the past…or at least not in the forefront of life anymore. I’m sure there were still homeschooling moms out there, but they were no longer the norm, or even slightly common. In fact, for a time, moms who homeschooled their children were considered odd, and maybe even fanatical. In reality, they were probably very sensible, capable, and yes, wise parents…and quite misunderstood.
As more parents began to disagree with the curriculum that was being taught to their children, homeschooling has been making a comeback. These days, not every mother received a teaching certificate when she graduated, but then, school is more advanced these days too. It isn’t that mothers these days can’t teach, it’s just that teaching is complicated these days and in order to be a good teacher for their children, most of these parents have to learn the lessons they teach, along with their children…or just hours before their children anyway. It is a big job, and one many people don’t feel like they can do. I suppose that is why people still put their kids on public schools, even if they don’t agree with the teachings. Many households need two incomes to make ends meet too, so homeschooling isn’t always an option. Nevertheless, I have a great deal of respect anyone who chooses to homeschool…mixed with understanding for parents who don’t.
I don’t know very many people who homeschool their children, in fact I can only think of two right now. One of those, my cousin, Elizabeth Nordquist is a first time homeschooler. She is the mother of two beautiful little girls, Addie and Meadow. I’m sure she is very capable, but she expressed feelings of jangled nerves too, at the first of the school year. It is a big task to take on, and one that the parents don’t step into lightly. Many people don’t always understand the reasons why this choice is made, and I’m sure that the reasons are as varied as the parent and student. Some students just do better on a one to one basis, while others aren’t morning people and so that early schedule is tough. And for some families, it is totally the curriculum, and the many clashes between the family’s faith and the secular teachings that are so popular, and yet very often harmful to the students. Whatever the reason for the choice, it is up to the parents as to how their children should be educated, and I think is takes an amazing, and very special person to make the choice to educate their children themselves when the public school system disagrees with their own goals for their children. I also think that as time goes on and more people disagree with the secular views, we will have more homeschooling families out there. Sometimes getting your child’s necessary education is all up to you.