Monday, August 15, 2011

A Musing upon Pennsic XL, August 2011

To travel far from home for to make war.
To make camp with strangers soon to be brothers and sisters.
To waken to a warrior’s call.
To put on armor which could save your life, and take up arms which may take life from those who oppose you.
To march toward a place of battle, exultant in hope of victory, not knowing what may come to pass.
To assemble on a field of battle and wonder what fate awaits you.
To ponder whether any living is left to you.
To consider the fate of your child and your loving wife, in your absence.
To gaze across an open place and see many massed against you and your comrades, and wonder how your fates will be met.
To mass shoulder to shoulder with new companions and hope to preserve at least one of their lives.
To hasten, and to wait.
To hear the call to battle, and look out upon the place where so many will meet in conflict.
To run toward an uncertain fate, keeping pace, listening for orders, observing the fluid motion of masses of warriors moving to take the best advantage.
To hear warriors’ yells and the crash of weapons all about you.
To see your comrades fall and move to take their place, swinging your weapon and shielding yourself from enemy blows.
To feel your racing heart and the heat of your own exertions, coupled with the mid-day heat.
To rest, but only briefly, wanting only to hurry back to find your brothers in arms.
To gaze out again upon the remains of your army and the one it opposes, and wonder, again, how the battle may end.
To crash headlong, again, into the thick of fighting.
To see blows coming, and feel the one which ends the battle for you.
To fall among the ranks and lie on the ground, waiting for the end.
To hear the cheers when victory is won.

To return to camp after a hard-fought battle, and shed your armor.
To drink and eat and share tales of loss and victory.
To miss one’s common life with a physical pain, yet hardly remember its comforts.

To finally journey toward home, and find that it seems a new and strange place, though thoroughly familiar.

To have spent many days on a plain without shade, and finally find oneself among the hills of home.
To arrive in cool woods in a mountain retreat, and know the calming refreshment they grant.

For a woodsman, to have fought a battle in a forest, but not remember what manner of trees sheltered him, for there was not time to consider even a lily.

The warrior’s heart must be one of exaltation and of deep sorrow. Perhaps the warrior's heart loves peace as does no other.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Obituaries for our great-great-grandparents, Sam and Chloe (Sherman) Stillman

"The Sabbath Recorder", Vol 38, No 27, p 27, July 6, 1882.
In the town of Alfred, Allegany county, N. Y., July 1, 1882, Mrs. Chloe Sherman Stillman, daughter of George Sherman, deceased, of Alfred, and wife of Samuel N. Stillman, aged 65 years. She was born in Norway, Herkimer Co., N. Y., in 1817; married there in 1835, and came to Alfred in 1837. She became a Christian in Norway in 1835, embraced the Sabbath there, was baptized by Eld. Eli S. Bailey, and received into the Seventh Day Baptist Church then existing in Newport, in that vicinity.
Soon after removing to Alfred, she, with her husband, united with the First Alfred Church, where, until the day of her death, she has been known and loved as a faithful and exemplary Christian. We shall miss her much; but our loss is her eternal gain. She has been sick since the 1st of April, but patient and resigned. She has left one son, four daughters, her husband, and a wide circle of relatives and friends in sorrow, but not without hope that they shall meet again, safe in the kingdom of God. C. M. L.

"The Sabbath Recorder", Vol 53, No 52, p 820, Dec. 27, 1897.
Samuel Newberry Stillman was born in Newport, Herkimer County, N. Y., June 27, 1812, and died at his home in Alfred, N. Y., Sabbath-day, Dec. 18, 1897, aged 85 years, 5 months, and 21 days. He was the son of Ezra and Polly Stillman, and the second of ten children, of whom two survive him - a brother living in Brookfield, and a sister (Mrs. Nancy Frank) living at Alfred Station. In 1835 he married Miss Chloe Sherman, and to them were born two sons and five daughters. A son and daughter having died some years ago, he is survived by his son Alonzo and his daughters, Madelia, Clotilda, Mrs. John F. Langworthy, and Mrs. Ophelia Clarke of Nile.
In February, 1837, he removed to Alfred, bringing his family and household goods on a sleigh; here he bought a farm, cleared it up, and continued in the business of farming until his death. He enjoyed a happy married life until July 1, 1882, when his beloved companion was taken from him by death. As a father he was wise in the government of his household and in the training of his children, bringing up his whole family to become industrious, thrifty and highly respected members of society.
As a citizen and neighbor he was highly esteemed and beloved. His example and influence have always been healthful. His life was in strict accord with the Golden Rule. He was a man of public spirit, always ready to help on any good work for the benefit of the village and the welfare of those around him. He was deeply interested in Alfred University, for many years an active member of its Board of Trustees, and contributed several thousand dollars to its financial support.
As a Christian he was exemplary; brought up a Seventh-day Baptist; at the age of 21 years he experienced a change of heart and joined the Newport church - being baptized by Elder Eli S. Bailey. On removal to Alfred he joined the church here by letter and remained to the day of his death a consistent and worthy member. He was an industrious man, never eating the bread of idleness; and, as God prospered him, he was a cheerful and most liberal giver, and brought up his family to the same spirit of liberal beneficence.
In character he was transparent, genuine, without guile. He loved his fellow-men, and sought in all his life to glorify his God and Saviour whom he loved with a true and whole heart. The secret of his life is found in his devotion to secret prayer and the daily reading of God's Word, and his custom of daily family worship in his home. He loved the covenant meetings of the church and would often manifest deep emotion while telling of God's goodness to him and the joy he experienced in the Christian life.
Although he could hear scarcely one word of the sermon, he was generally in his place in the sanctuary. When he remained at home on Sabbath morning he spent the time reading the Bible or one of Dr. Talmage's sermons. When the family left him last Sabbath morning he was seated near the stove with paper in hand containing Dr. Talmage's last sermon. He was well as usual. When they returned, the paper had fallen to the floor, and he sat in the chair as though asleep. He was asleep, "Asleep in Jesus." His spirit had taken its flight without a struggle as it left the tenement of clay.
He will be missed in the home, the community, the church; but he has left a memory which is as an ointment poured forth. "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace."
Funeral services were held at the church on Tuesday, Dec. 21, conducted by Pastor Gamble assisted by Pres. Davis, and the remains were laid to rest in Alfred Rural Cemetery, to await the resurrection of the just. J. L. G.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A long-time reunion

An unusual reunion happened yesterday (June 13, 2011). Our cousin, Eleanor Grotjahn, who was here visiting, met William MacCrea for the second time, only sixty-five years after their first meeting. Eleanor had brought with her, her letter to her parents, describing that meeting. She visited the place while in Alfred in 1946, because the Clarkes (ours and Eleanor's ancestors) had sold the farm where William's son's family now lives, only two years before that first meeting. Eleanor wrote to her parents on April 11, 1946:
"Aunt Agnes [my grandmother] and I then went over to the grocery store to do the shopping for her nutrition class the next day. I soon had to scamper to meet Christine [another Clarke cousin, who worked at Alfred University Alumni Office] at 12:00.
Her car made it much more easily than the [Agnes and Ahva Bond's] Buick and we were soon turning into the driveway of the old farm. Just as we drove in, a woman came out the back door carrying a pail, so I approached her and explained who I am. “Oh yes”, she said, “I bought this place from Chester Clarke, who’s out in Oregon”. I corrected her on both counts, and she invited Christine, who had gotten out of the car by this time, and myself to come in. [Our grandfather Chester had died in 1925, and his son had sold it to her, and he was in Washington state]
The place isn’t in very good shape. The woman (whose name I’ve forgotten but Uncle Clarence should know) is living there practically all alone. Not quite, though – for there’s an old bearded man (who is or has been on relief) and her great-grandson [William MacCrea], who’s a boy in junior high school. (Looking back on it, “great-grandson” seems almost incredible, as if he must be her grandson instead, but I’m pretty sure it’s her great-grandson).
She and the old man are trying to patch things up, but have run up against that lumber shortage you’ve heard about. She has been unable to buy any lath for plastering or any lumber to patch up a number of small gaps in the – some only 6 or 8 inches long. Someone must have torn them out for some purpose and not have done a very good job of replacement.
Mrs. “X” insisted on our seeing every room in the house, although Christine only had a limited amount of time to spend. It’s certainly a big house: we couldn’t guess what the room which seemed to be the largest might have been in the old days – but Aunt Agnes later said that was the kitchen (facing down the hill). The place needs re-flooring, the front porch sags. We also saw the big room in the attic, which Laura or Mrs. B later told me was the cheese-room.
Mrs. “X” has fixed up the well and has running water in the house, has rebuilt the side porch (alongside the old kitchen), and there’s gas in the house."
The older photograph of the house is one which the MacCrea's have, and it dates from the period of the first meeting between William and Eleanor. William is in the foreground of that picture.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cousins from far and wide

Hello siblings, son, spouse, nephews and nieces,

I was visited recently (April 3rd) by our cousins, Shirley Reslink Wright Earls, and her brother, Paul Reslink. Sherm got to meet them, also. They are niece and nephew of Myron Elwood "Mike" Kenyon, who was our grandmother Agnes Kenyon Clarke Bond's first cousin. Someone else can do the (genealogical) math. and tell us what level of cousins we are to them. In any case, we enjoyed a meal at the Collegiate, where they wanted to see the montage of pictures of "Mike" and where I reminded John Ninos to find and hang the little plaque that always hung at the end of the counter, declaring that the last seat was "Mike's spot". Sherm had to wander on, but I took our cousins to the Alfred Rural Cemetery to see "Mike's" grave and his wife, who they called "Aunt Trude" as well as those of their grandparents. They didn't stay long, but we enjoyed talking about connections and so on. I just wanted you to know, and you can also connect with Shirley on Facebook, as she is among my Facebook friends now.

I've also been contacted by our father's cousin's son, Douglas Grotjahn, about coming to Alfred June 7 to 14, in honor of his mother's (Eleanor Grotjahn) birthday. Doug will come with Eleanor and his sister, Bonnie is also coming from England, where she is involved with a Quaker meeting near Bath. No specific celebrations have been mentioned, but Eleanor would like to have me take her kids to the cemetery and see the old homesteads and so on. She will bring the old family daguerreotypes she possesses and any other things that will fit in her suitcase. She already has given me a trunk with some fabrics in it, and a sword which belonged to our great-great grandfather Samuel Newberry Stillman, a straight-back chair he sat in as a child, and his pocket-knife. I would love to have some of the other cousins come and meet her and her "kids", as we may not get another chance, at least with her.

Please let me know if you'd be able to come and spend some time at Alfred during the time they'll be here, and share any other thoughts you may have.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A bit of rhyme

A flat tire needn't be cause for much care,
when one has a spare.
So too if in the middle of nowhere,
if the spare holds enough air.
But a flat tire on a road with no shoulders,
and a spare that carries no air,
could mean hauling a spare with one's "holders"
if not for a stranger to care.
So to Chuck and Diane
from down York County way
I wave my hand,
and drive on my way
with thanks in my heart
for the goodness of people who start
to middles of nowhere each day.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Messages from a cousin of ours

Message from Eleanor Grotjahn, July 5, 2010

Hey, Doug! I just ran across a note from Christine, dated June, 1978, from Pasadena, CA. She commented on the visit she'd once made to see my mom, in the Bothell days, but probably was responding to some earlier family question of mine. I quote:"I couldn't remember Grandfather Clarke's name. I visited my youngest brother Maxson, in San Marcos recently, and he had this information from Mary--Chester Sterman (?) [but we know that's not right!} married Ophelia Stillman." She goes on: "I remember him speaking to me in front of Grandmother Clarke's house in Alfred and being told by my family to stay indoors! He used to write me and send poems." Could he have been considered a possible child-abuser???

At the time she wrote, she was getting ready to head for a visit to her daughter's home in Westboro, MA: Dan and Mary Anne Button, with a son Daniel , who had just graduated from Cornell, was about to get married, and then attend MIT.

Just thought it might have some interest for you. Cheers, Eleanor

Message from Eleanor Elder Grotjahn, from June 12, 2010

Hi, Doug, Thanks for your response to my recent query. Yes, I have a copy of that book, but it wasn't until last evening that I took your suggestion. Son Doug had jotted down that Henry's middle name was Brown, which was of great help, and if I had read more closely the print-out I'd made on the Clark Museum, I would have seen that for myself. So there he is, on p. 157 (#244). Doug got to work figuring out what the connection might be between Chester Smedley and Henry Brown. Doug believes the common ancestor to have been Joshua, which would have made them something-or-other cousins, I guess.

At the time Doug was visiting in Chicago, and had asked the museum curator for info, she'd gotten quite intrigued by the whole idea his question raised. He picked out about 10 pages of particular interest, and took off for Kinko's (at 10:00 p,m, last night) to photo-copy to send this gal.

Email addresses you're interested in:

Douglas Grotjahn:

During this past week, I had the pleasure of Doug's company; his trip north was actually my "Christmas gift" from last year, but it had taken him this long to figure out how to fit it into his busy schedule. He travels out and about a bit, giving presentations at various colleges (for ex., Marquette, and U of Ill-Chicago)
That trip was last month. Then he's collaborating in a couple of projects, one with a friend at the U. of Pittsburgh Med. School (they communicate via weekly telephone conferences, Doug, on one end, and his friend + his lab group on the other). This week's conf. lasted three hours!

Another project is with an oncologist at the UC San Diego who's trying to develop a vaccine for cancer. Doug's specialty seems to be catalysts--developing something that will work with what those other guys are working on, to produce desired results. Suppose there's a Nobel-prizewinner in there somewhere?

Doug's visit also brought me the good news that Bonnie will be coming to Bvue in mid-August for her 25th high-school reunion. (AOL had me all screwed up, and B's emails to me weren't getting thru, so Doug had to forward to me what she'd sent him. All cleared up now, though I am so pleased she's able to come. (The big stumbling block for awhile was the much higher airfare of this summer., but she's somehow bitten the bullet, and is able to work it out.)

Summer seems finally to be slowly working its way here. Highs in the 70's today--which is good.

Enuf already. My regards to your family. Eleanor

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dad gets inducted

Our Father would perhaps be embarrassed by all this attention. But he would enjoy talking with so many friends, if he were here tonight.

Our Dad was raised by a single mother (and grandparents) during the Great Depression, so he started out learning how to get along with very little for himself. His life ended in an age when many people are accustomed to getting most any thing their hearts desire – at least material things.

When asked what he wanted, Dad’s answer was always an accommodation to what the other person wanted. This was sometimes annoying to some of his children. Perhaps it was annoying even to his two wives (they were serial, not concurrent, wives, for those who were wondering).

Dad spent his life helping people of all sorts, sometimes when his family felt they needed him more than other people did.

When Dad was not able to do much for other people anymore, life lost some of its interest for him. When taking care of his own needs became a challenge, Dad just didn’t quite know how to deal with others taking care of him. So his leaving this life was probably well-timed, but still unexpected and sad for us. His was a life well-lived.

We sincerely hope that this tribute to our father will be an inspiration to others, for years to come.

Thank you. (GDC)