Monday, December 31, 2012

Stoutenburg, Calaveras County, California

A surprising find searching for Stoutenburg on Google...Stoutenburg, California

Wikipedia has a page for Stoutenburg, California. There is not much information on the page but it did reference page 808 of a book. In 1998, David L. Durham authored a book, California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State.

Apparently Stoutenburg was a settlement during the California gold rush near Murphys, California on Coyote Creek. Wikipedia claims that the settlement was named for a German gold miner. Mr. Durham may have gotten his information about this settlement from an article published in 1927 in The Concord Society Historical Bulletin No. 6. The Article written by Erwin G. Gudde was entitled, German Pioneers in Early California. Dr. Gudde was an assistant professor of German at the University of California in 1927.

He wrote on page 16, the following:
The German gold seekers, moderate and industrious, formed a large percentage of these and established a number of mining camps, among which were Stoutenburg, Mosquito Gulch, and Dutch Flat.
I doubt that it was named for a German Stoutenburg. I have seen many instances in which Stoutenburg is seen as having German origin. Even people who are named Stoutenburg but no little about the name often believe it to be of German origin. The name is derived from a Dutch city in the Utrecht Province.

Since I do know that Stoutenburgs were in California during the gold rush, the settlement was probably named for a man named Stoutenburg and who was a miner.

So where was this settlement?

Calaveras County is one of the counties in California on the western side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in which gold was mined. According to the book, Stoutenburg was located on Coyote Creek west of Murphys. Looking at satellite images and maps, I was able to find Coyote Creek.

It runs through or near the towns or villages of Douglas Flat and Vallecito on its way to the New Melones Lake. Although I have not been able to pinpoint the location of Stoutenburg, it was probably somewhere near Douglas Flat. Coyote Creek originates east and south of Murphys.

Death Certificates - How Accurate?

This past fall I had gotten prints from microfilmed copies of death certificates of relatives who died in Minnesota. I scanned each certificate to create an electronic copy and then filed the paper copies. While I was doing this, I came across the death certificates of my parents, father-in-law and my brother.

Generally the informant, the person providing information such as place of birth, date of birth, parental information, occupation, etc., is included on the certificate. The informant is typically the surviving spouse or a son or daughter of the decedent. Occasionally, a parent or a brother or sister of the decedent is the informant.

I reviewed that information that was recorded on each those four death certificates and noted to myself who was identified as the informant on each one. My sister was the informant on my dad's certificate. My dad was the informant on my mother's. On my father-in-law' death certificate, my mother-in-law was recorded as the informant. However, my father was the informant on my brother's certificate.

Why is this significant?

A parent has more first hand information about his or her own child. The parent knows when and where his/her child was born. Most people know when and where they were born. Most people know when and where the spouse was born. Therefore, the information provided by a parent is usually more accurate than the information provided when the informant is a child, spouse or sibling. So as I perused each of these four death certificates, I was not surprised to find errors.

My mother's father died when she was 3 years old and her mother died when she was 6. So my father never knew his parents-in-laws. Both my maternal grandparents had a middle name, neither of which my father provided on my mother's death certificate. He also apparently was not aware that Max was not my grandfather's given name but a shortened form of his middle name, Maxwell. My grandmother was born in Wisconsin, not in Minnesota as my father obviously believed.

My sister was the informant on my father's death certificate. So what was the information that she provided that turns out not be be accurate? My father was a prototype machinist and not a machinist researcher. She estimated the number of years that my dad was in his occupation and was off by a year in the number of years in which my father lived in Orange County at the time of his death. My sister apparently did not know our grandmother's middle name as it does not appear on my father's death certificate.

I found it amusing that my mother-in-law was named as the informant on my father-in-law's death certificate as my husband called me to provide answers for the death certificate. Since I have been researching my family and his family, I actually knew more than my mother-in-law or my husband knew about my father-in-law's family. The one item that I didn't know at the time of my father-in-law's death was the name with which his father entered the United States.

Later, I found the ship manifest of the ship on which he, his mother, his twin brother and his older sister sailed from Europe. From all indications, my husband's great grandfather had changed his name before the rest of the family came to America. Thus, the name on my father-in-law's death certificate was the name that his father used throughout his lifetime.

As I gathered facts about my ancestors and relatives, I saw errors like these in many of the death certificates that I had obtained. The information often did not concur with what I saw in birth, marriage, and census records of the decedent.

Many of the certificates, the informant would not know the decedent's mother's maiden name. Often the informant would not know where the decedent's parents were born. Occasionally, I saw a death certificate that the informant did not know the names of the decedent's parents.

So as you read the information recorded on death certificates, it is important to know how the informant is related to the decedent. The farther removed, the more likely to be suspicious of accuracy of the information provided.

However, do not discount it altogether as there is likely to be a basis for why the informant may be confused. My father believed his mother-in-law to have been born in Minnesota. She along with her parents and siblings moved from Wisconsin to Minnesota when she was a young girl. Although she died as a young woman, her family remained in the same location in Minnesota for generations.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Update on Stoutenborough Lane

In my post about Stoutenborough Lane in Redondo Beach, California, I had speculated that Charles Henry Stoutenborough was the person for whom that street was named. A bit more research has convinced me that Stoutenborough Lane was indeed connected to Charles Stoutenborough.

His parents and siblings remained in New Jersey except for one sister, Elizabeth moved to San Francisco and was married to her older brother's business partner, Alexander Richards Baldwin. Charles Stoutenborough and Alexander Baldwin were in a partnership as stockbrokers.

Baldwin was also an investor in real estate. However, Baldwin died in 1889, three years before Redondo Beach was incorporated. Charles Stoutenborough died in 1906. His sister was still living in 1930.

Elizabeth's son, Alexander, was a lawyer who became general counsel and a vice president of the Western Pacific Railroad. In 1918, Alexander was appointed by Judge Walter H. Sanborn as one of two receivers in the bankruptcy of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW). He served in that role until 1921 when the D&RGW Railroad was reorganized emerged as the old Denver & Rio Grande Railroad.

Now that I found a concrete tie of Charles Stoutenborough to the railroad business in California, I was still curious about a tie to Julius Kruttschnitt. As I wrote in my prior post,
Julius Kruttschnitt was chairman of the Southern Pacific Company Executive Board from 1913 to 1925 and president from 1918 to 1920.

The San Francisco Blue Book of 1899 listed the members of the Pacific-Union Club. This club was an exclusive club whose building was located in the financial district at the corner of Post and Stockton Streets. Included in the list are A. S. Baldwin of 10 Montgomery Street, J. Kruttschnitt of 4 Montgomery Street and C. H. Stoutenborough of 325 Pine Street. Stoutenborough's office was a couple of blocks away and down the street from Montgomery and accross from the Pacific Coast Stock Exchange

So it looks like Stoutenborough and Kruttschnitt were at least passing acquaintances. But I couldn't find a concrete connection of Stoutenborough and Kruttschnitt to the city of Redondo Beach. I looked at each page of the 1900 Census of the enumeration district in which Redondo Beach lies. I didn't find a Kruttschnitt Avenue nor did I find a Stoutenborough Lane. Nor did I find these streets in 1910 and 1920 Censuses.

However, as I looked at the 1920 Census sheets of Enumeration District 538 in Los Angeles County, I noted the names of many of the streets. I found streets like Huntington Lane, Pullman Lane, Stanford Street, Gould Lane, Marshallfield Lane, Vanderbilt Lane, Armour Lane, etc. These streets are named after wealthy, 19th Century industrialists.

Comparing the streets that I found in the 1920 Census with the streets I viewed with Google Maps, I found about half of the streets were recorded in that census. The streets not found in the 1920 Census were likely laid out but no one lived on them at that time.

I was curious as to why Charles Stoutenborough had a street named for him in a city that was almost 400 miles away from where he lived, worked and died. Since Cornelius Vanderbilt, Leland Stanford, Jay Gould, Marshall Field, et. al. had no real connection to Redondo Beach, I think that Charles Stoutenborough was just one of many wealthy businessman that had ties to the railroads and 19th century industry.

Hill Lane, formerly, Stoutenborough Lane, Redondo Beach, CA

Friday, November 9, 2012

Is the Republican Party destined to suffer the fate of the Whig Party?

Our nation just came through another presidential election. I witnessed the posturing of both parties since the 2008 elections and was struck by how radical those people in power who were elected as a Republican had become. Immediately the Whig Party crossed my mind.

I remember studying the Whig Party in high school and college but had long forgotten about the details. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a Whig is a member a political party that was formed in opposition to the Jacksonian Democrats. It was established about 1834 and was replaced by the Republican party in 1854.

The party was not particularly successful until it ran William Henry Harrison for president in 1839. The Panic of 1837 was largely responsible for Martin Van Buren's failure to be elected to a second term. Harrison died in 1840 after serving only 31 days of his term and was succeeded by John Tyler.

Tyler vetoed the Whig economic legislation and as a result he was expelled from the party in September of 1841. He served the remainder of his presidential term without a party affliation. The party did not fare too well in the 1842 Congressional races but ran a close presidential race in 1844, however, the Whig candidate, Henry Clay, lost to James K. Polk. Henry Clay was a protectionist and was opposed to the western expansion.

When the party selected Zachary Taylor as their candidate in 1848, the Democrats were split. The Democrats ran Lewis Cass, a prominent Midwesterner. (I wrote about Cass on October 30, 2011.) But a splinter group, called the Free Soil Party, ran Martin Van Buren. Taylor won the presidency but died in July 1850.

Although Taylor was a slaveowner, he was opposed to allowing slavery to be expanded to the western territories. His successor, Millard Fillmore, helped push the Compromise of 1850 through Congress. This compromise delayed the issue over slavery for about four years. The Whig Party never managed to form a cohesive party and finally began to disintegrate about 1852.

The Irish Famine resulted in a large migration of poor Irish to the United States and this resulted in a new issue of nativism and prohibition. A new party was formed on the platform of denying Irish immigrants the ability to become a citizen. (I wrote about this on May 26, 2010.)

The anti-slavery issue re-emerged as a major issue. In addition, the deaths of Whig leaders, southener Henry Clay and northerner Daniel Webster, in 1852 severely weakened the Whig Party. Many of the northern Whigs moved to the new Republican party and most of the southern Whigs moved a newly formed American Party.

The Democrats won the next two elections. It was the Republican Abraham Lincoln who won the election in 1860. The Republican party held presidential positions through 1884 when the party lost the position to Grover Cleveland. Since that time, the office has been held by both Republican and Democrats.

Since I was able to vote, I may have been disappointed that my candidate did not win but I never saw it as a catastophe when my candidate lost. There was a civility that I have watched erode. When I lived in Los Angeles, I noticed that I was much more forgiving of the traffic trangressions of my neighbors than of those whom I did not know.

I began to watch the erosion of this civility after the 2000 elections. I am not certain why this happened, but I believe that this was the beginning of the downfall of the Republican Party. I see a fanatic faction taking over the party and are leaving behind the moderates who are interested in the well-being of our country.

I was greatly troubled when I heard the leaders of the Republican party after the election of Barack Obama say that their goal was to make him a one term president. I was really hoping that their goal would have been to make our country succeed.

As I watched this last election cycle, I found the Republican leadership out of touch with what the American public wanted. I was waiting for the moderate Republicans in office to stand up. They didn't and Barack Obama won. I am wondering if the Republican Party is on the path of demise like the Whig Party.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Widows in the United States Census

Prior to the 1850 Census, the members of the household were not identified other than the head of the household. The information gathered revealed little about the household other than the total number of members, number of males, number of females and the number of each falling within various age groups.

By 1850, every member of the household was enumerated with the head of the household recorded first. However, the relationship of the other members of the household to the head was not recorded. The marital status of individuals also was not recorded except in the case of newlyweds. A column was added in which members of the household who were married within the year were identified. In the 1870 census, the enumerator was asked to record the month in which the couple were married within the year.

Typically, the members of a household are recorded in this census in the following order:
  • Head (usually male)
  • Spouse (usually female)
  • Children
  • Parents of head or spouse
  • Siblings of head or spouse
  • Other relatives
  • Others including servants, boarders, houseguests, etc.
A female who is the head of household could be unmarried, married with an absent husband, divorced or widowed. Unless you have other information, you cannot be certain of her marital status.

Even the marital status of the male head of household cannot be stated with certainty. I have come across households composed of an unmarried man, his widowed sister and her children. In other instances, the household was comprised of a bachelor brother and one or more spinster sisters.

It was not until the 1880 Census that a column was added titled, "Civil Condition." Under this category are three columns in which the enumerator marked the appropriate column. The columns are labeled Single, Married, and Widowed/Divorced. The column in which the enumerator identified couples who were married during the census year was retained in this census but omitted in the subsequent censuses.

Of the thousands of 1880 Census images I viewed, I saw very, very few images in which an individual on the page was recorded as divorced. My initial assumption was that divorce was probably not very common at that time. However, after coming across a distant relative in this census whose marital status was widowed and later finding her deceased husband alive and well but divorced, I decided look further into divorce in the United States during this time.

The Europeans brought the concept of divorce to North America when they first settled here. However, a divorce was very difficult to obtain. A person seeking a divorce had to provide the court with a very compelling reason as to why a divorce should be granted. The grounds on which a divorce was granted include desertion, regular inebriation, impotence, adultery and extreme cruelty.

Although I saw a tiny number of divorced persons in the 1880 Census, I began to see more occurrences of these situations in the 1900 Census as well as the 1910 Census. Occasionally I found a widow but found the dead husband living in the same city or town. In one case, a couple was enumerated in 1900 in separate households. The female was widowed while the male was roomer who was married. A decade later she was married to a different man and her former husband now was recorded as divorced.

However, starting with the 1920 Census, I noticed a decline in these cases. Suddenly, I was seeing images with more divorced females than I had in the prior censuses. One of the ladies who was a widow in 1910 was a divorcée in 1920. But I should not be surprised as this was the beginning of the "Roaring Twenties" and the "flapper era."

There was a stigma prior to 1920 of being a divorced woman regardless of the cause of the divorce. So, when you look at census images, be very leery about your female ancestor that claims to be a widow. Don't give her husband up for dead. He may just be lurking in another Enumeration District.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Stoutenborough Lane, Redondo Beach, CA

Recently, I wrote an article in a newsletter about the Stoutenburgh house in Pasadena. I was suprised to come across this home because not many Stoutenburgs settled in Southern California at the time this house was built.

I was doing some research on the Stoutenborough branch of the Pieter Stoutenburg descendants. To my surprise, I learned of the existence of a Stoutenborough Lane in Redondo Beach, California. However, you won't find it in Google Maps or in a Thomas Guide of Los Angeles County. It is not a figment of my imagination because it is recorded in several of the California registered voter lists I viewed.

So what happened to it? The street did not disappear. In 1946 it was renamed Hill Lane. I found Special Ordinance No. 1075 from February 18, 1946 that changed the name of the street to Hill Lane.

I lived in Los Angeles for many years and worked several years in nearby Inglewood and El Segundo yet I spent virtually no time in Redondo Beach. I really knew very little about about that city. My son earlier this year moved to Redondo Beach. I was really surprised to find that he lives fairly closed to Hill Lane.

Google Maps reveals that Hill Lane is only two blocks long. It lies within the triangle formed by Ripley Avenue, West 190th Street and South Inglewood Avenue. I was intrigued by Stoutenborough Lane and why the city changed the name to Hill Lane. I can only speculate why based on the information I came across.

There was another street whose name was changed in Redondo Beach. In 1949, Kruttschmitt Avenue was renamed Ford Avenue. I then found a comment by someone who speculated that the name was changed because it has hard to pronounce. That may have been the reasoning behind why Stoutenborough Lane was renamed. However, I uncovered an event that may be a more plausible explanation.

On February 7, 1940, a fireworks manufacturing factory exploded. I found reports of the explosion in several newspapers across the country. That factory was on Stoutenborough Lane. It was so big that the explosion was felt miles away. My explanation is that the street was renamed for two reasons. The primary reason was to remove the stigma of a street on which a massive explosive occurred. The secondary reason was the length of the name.

Nonetheless, I still wanted to know how a street in Redondo Beach was once Stoutenborough Lane. I looked at voters registration lists. The earliest list in which I found Stoutenborough Lane was 1924. I viewed the registration lists from that year through 1946, the year in which the street was renamed. In none of the registration lists for the precinct in which Stoutenborough Lane was situate did I find a registered voter with the surname Stoutenborough. Nor was I able to find anyone named Stoutenborough residing in Redondo Beach in the various censuses.

I did find a Henry W. Stoutenborough in Los Angeles in 1910 but there was nothing in that record that would make me believe that Stoutenborough Lane was named for him. So I then focused on that other street that was renamed, Kruttschmitt Avenue.

Julius Kruttschmitt was an executive of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Based on several newspaper articles that I read from the beginning of the twentieth century, he had an influence on the growth of Redondo Beach. The city was incorporated on April 29, 1892.

I learned that Kruttschmitt was transferred to San Francisco in 1885, I had an aha moment. Charles H. Stoutenborough also lived in San Francisco. He was a wealthy stockbroker. At this point, I haven't made the connection between Julius Kruttschmitt and Charles Stoutenborough, but I believe that Stoutenborough Lane was named as a result of that connection.

Friday, November 2, 2012

FEMA and Hurricane Sandy

It’s truly amazing what the East Coast communities are dealing with! It looks like FEMA is doing so much better than it did after Katrina. Not only is FEMA currently dealing with a much larger geographic area but with a much greater number of affected people.

My one and hopefully only experience with FEMA was only positive. The Northridge earthquake on January 17, 1994 marked the event that connected me to FEMA. Although our house seemed intact, the walls throughout the house were cracked or were missing hunks of plaster. We were without power and heat for only three days.

But when the rains started, we had to put pots and bowls around the house to collect the rain water. At that point, not certain that our house was really safe, we contacted FEMA. A FEMA inspector came out right away and gave us a green tag. We continued to experience good-sized aftershocks for months. Thus FEMA’s inspection of our house and the inspector’s assessment that our house was safe was very comforting.

With this latest disaster, I began to think about FEMA and wondered when it was started.  It must have been established sometime after I became an adult as I had not heard of FEMA when I studied civics in high school and American government in college.  FEMA has a website that includes a brief history.

As I thought, FEMA was established after I reached adulthood. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter merged several disaster related federal governmental entities into the Federal Emergency Management Agency by Executive Order 12127. Prior to FEMA, various aspects of disaster preparedness and relief were handled by several departments that included the General Services Administration (GSA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Defense Department. By the time President Carter established FEMA over 100 federal agencies had been involved in some part or another with hazards, emergencies or disasters.

It’s a bit ironic that a Democrat president was the one who consolidated all of these functions into a single agency in order to make emergency management by the federal government more efficient and more effective. For as long as I can remember, I had heard that Democrats equal big government; Republicans equal small government.

It seems to me that over the last several years Republicans holding federal office also want big government. The differences seem to be more about what areas should be larger. As I listen to many of the Republicans who hold office, I am reminded of “Big Brother” from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four. And it alarms me. These people certainly don’t represent the Republican Party that I remember.

I never believed that Democrats want big government while Republicans want small government. Instead, I believe most people want the right-sized and an efficient federal government. I hope we can return to a time when regardless of which party an office holder is a member that he/she is willing to work with and compromise to create a win-win situation for all the nation’s people.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Space Shuttle Retired

I spend much of my time looking at records and documents and reading books and newspapers from long past. Every once and a while something happens that reminds me that I am a part of history.

The other day, I had one such moment.

The Space Shuttle Endeavour was to be flown to Los Angeles on the back of a 747 jet to become a part of a museum. Mark Kelly was an astronaut to fly on the last Space Shuttle mission and the husband of Congresswoman Gabby Gifford of Arizona. She had been the subject of an assassination attempt that left her severely injured. She suffered a brain injury due to a bullet entering her head. Although she survived the attempt and has recovered much better than expected, she is severely handicapped.

Mark Kelly arranged with NASA to have the Endeavour fly over Tucson on its way to Los Angeles. Her reaction to seeing the Space Shuttle was heart wrenching. I have no idea if his request affected the flight path of the Endeavour as it arrived in California. But the 747 with the Space Shuttle affixed to its top flew to San Francisco before flying to Los Angeles.

I was excited and hoped to see it but I had a class. I asked my husband to photograph the Space Shuttle as it flew over Moffett Field. We didn't have very good communication because he thought that I was joking. I was not because I had an emotional connection to the Space Shuttle Columbia.

I remember the day of the first launch, April 12, 1981. I was working at North American Aircraft Division of Rockwell in El Segundo, California and was pregnant with my daughter. Space Division was very much involved with the space shuttle. The company had installed large screens in the manufacturing area so we all could watch the first launch of the Columbia.

I had some meeting or errand to do at another building before the shuttle was scheduled to be launched. It ran over so I rushed back to the manufacturing building to make sure that I saw the launch. I did. Everyone was so excited.

But the Columbia years later suffered a horrible fate along with her crew. It exploded shortly after launch on February 1, 2003. My daughter was about to graduate from college. Just as she was about enter adult life, the Columbia ended her life.

I would have liked Columbia to be at the museum in Los Angeles rather than Endeavour but I am glad that Los Angeles ended up with one of the few space shuttles.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

An Unexpected Find

I have a rather large family tree of relatives from my mother's side. That is not surprising since her paternal line settled in North America in the 1600s. I was fortunate to have a relative in the early part of the 20th Century put together a chart of all of the descendants of Peter Stoutenburg he was able to find.

Around 2001 I discovered this chart and marvelled at how many people he had identified as descendants. So many of the people on the chart resided in places all across the United States and Canada. Air travel was nearly non-existent. Many didn't have telephones. The automobile was still a rarity and mostly seen in the cities. He didn't have the Internet.

As it turns out about the time that Walter Eliot put this chart together, there were a number of scams underway that resulted in thousands of people trying to prove his or her descendancy from some early settler in America. The scams were profitable enough that these con-men posted ads in newspapers across the United States and Canada.

Several family associations sprung up as result with members providing information about themselves and their offspring and parents. Armed with the information that Walter had gathered and published on his chart, I began using the information that, et. al., provides to subscribers, I started looking at the people on the chart that were at the end of the branch.

The availability of the images of the pages in the censuses through 1940 have allowed me to identify children and grandchildren of a number of people. I was following such a line when I learned the name of a child born about 1926. My distant relative married a man with a not very common name so her daughter carried that same surname.

I found her and her parents in both the 1930 and 1940 Census. Her name in the 1930 Census was different than her name in the 1940 Census. The daughter was 3 in 1930 and 13 in 1940, so felt that it was the same person.

Taking a chance that one name was her given name and the other her middle name, looked for her through a Google search. One of the links that Google returned was to a 1946 yearbook. This relative attended an all woman's college in Virginia. Hollins College. I had never heard of this college. It is located in Roanoke and is currently a university. It still only admits women to its undergraduate program but does admit men to the graduate program.

I also found her in the 1948 yearbook as a senior. However the most interesting thing that I encountered after viewing the pages of both yearbooks was a phrase on the title page of the 1946 yearbook. The page read, "The 1946 Spinster Where Singleness is Bliss, 'tis Folly to be Wives."

This phrase did not appear in the 1948 yearbook. My initial reactions was "Wow!" But as I thought about it, I think that it might actually be a play on words. It sounds a lot like Thomas Gray's phrase, "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise." Nonetheless, I find it interesting that the yearbook editor used the phrase.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Aunt Eleanor's Journal, February 5, 1982

It looks like a may have missed one of my great aunt's entries in her journal.

Feb. 5, 1982 in the afternoon

Shall write a few more lines. Ron was here and had his lunch and I my breakfast. It is a new little plan we have that on Fridays he comes to keep me company on his lunch break. That is nice of him. Rather cold out To go on with my little tale, life must go on. I had four little ones to care for and in a way it was a blessing, it gave me something to strive for. The W.P.A. gave me a settlement and a monthly check. Not much but enough that I bought two acres from the church and had enough left over to get the material for the house. The neighbors pitched in and moved our little shack up on the land so I could be there and cook for them when they worked. They cleared off a space for the house and they dug for the basement, layed the foundation. Then there was a lull when they got their fall work done. The lumber for the house was all delivered so we had piles of lumber all around. It was such a beautiful fall and no one gave a thot to bad weather. The little shack didn’t even have a door in it just a screen door and I had a rug hanging over it to keep the night chill out. Came Nov. 10th and we had a cool misty day but it still wasn’t cold. Early in the morning of Nov. 11 I woke up and could feel it was getting mighty chilly. I looked out and it was snowing and blowing my rug was almost blown off the screen door, the wood pile was covered with snow and the fire was out in the heater. Cold! scary! what to do? First I got a hammer and nails and tacked the rung unto the screen door and then shoveled the snow out that had blown in to the kitchen part. Built a fire in the kitchen stove and heater, put an extra blanket on the door and prepared breakfast. Edward and Leola went out to bring in some more wood but the snow had covered our wood supply so thoroughly they couldn’t get it. I made myself some mittens our of a pr. of heavy wool socks and made another pr to put outside them form an old denim overall and went out in that blizzard and dug out wood and carried in into the shack till we had enough to keep the fires going. Then I had to get water and that was quite a task as I had to get it from the pump at my neighbors that was Raymond & Helen place across the highway I waded thru the snow drifts, making my own trail and each time I went it had blown in till there was no sign of my trail, I made abut six or seven trips and I was truly exhausted but by nightfall I had my brood snug and warm with water enough to extinguish a fire should it start. I will never forget that day. I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving for strength and ability to do what had to be done. It was two days before anyone could get up to see if we were O.K. And it was my brother-in-law Oscar Peterson who came. We had no phone so no one could call to see it we were all right. This was the never to be forgotten Armistis Day blizzard of 1940. Many people lost their lives in that storm.

Needless to say that put an end to all the building for that year. Oscar saw to it that a real door replace the blanket and rug covered screen door. We spent the winter in that little shack, snug and warm even tho the water pail would often have ice on it in the morning in that little kitchen.

On March 28 that spring we had another big blizzard but we were better prepared for that one.

The house building was at a standstill all the next summer till fall then the neighbors came and the building began. Oscar was very faithful and many of my other neighbors helped. Pastor Mastid put many hours of work on that house. They had it all closed in with the windows and all before winter set it but it wasn’t finished inside so rather than spending another winter in the shack we went down to Grandma Stoutenburgs and stayed till spring. We moved back to the shack around the 1st of April. Edward was confirmed that month. The day before his confirmation Max got sick and I had to stay at home with him. He had a high fever and couldn’t keep anything down that he would eat. The next day I got a terrific earache, it got bad that Raymond who lived right across the highway thot I’d better get into see the Dr. and he took us {Max and me} in to the Hosp. In Pine River and there we were put to bed. Max had pneumonia and I had a very bad ear infection in both ears. We spent two weeks in the hosp. Max was a very sick boy and I got so dizzy and unbalanced I couldn’t even walk straight. Emma and Grace came in and took turns taking care of Max. Pastor Mastid came to see us and prayed for Max so did many others and our prayers were answered, he did recover and when we left the hosp. we went to stay with Grace and Oscar so they could take care of us. Edward, Leola & Dianne stayed at Grandma’s. It took a couple of weeks before my ears got better and my dizziness left. Then we went back home. In that time Oscar and others had worked on the house so we could move in. It was far from finished be we were so happy to move into it. The second world war was being fought and defense plants were calling for people to come to work so that fall we moved to Mpls. and I got work in a defense plant. Bertan and Uncle Fuzz had moved down too and we rented a house. They lived downstairs and we lived upstairs. It was that winter that Dianne got the mumps and then she gave them to Edward and then I got them. We were a sick household. Leola didn’t move with us she stayed with Grandma Stoutenburg who was living in Pine River. She came down and spent Christmas with us. We stayed in Mpls till the next fall then all the children wanted to go back to Swanburg so we did. Edward and I put insolation in and layed the floor in upstairs and made the house more livable. Leola went back to stay with Grandma June and Joyce who had moved to Mpls. The next year Dianne went to stay with them, and Leola stayed at home.

We had quite a struggle getting enough wood to keep the old barrel stove going. First Edward and I worked at it, we managed it for one winter than after he graduated from high school he went to Mpls. to work the next year it was Leola and I who tried it, we stuck at it till after Christmas then I decided it was a little too much and I got an oil burner. Life was easier then. It isn’t easy to go out in the woods find and old dead tree, cut it down saw it into lengths short enough that we could drag it to the house then saw it up into stove length pieces chop in half and carry it into the house and also plot it up for the cook stove. Whew! That was work.

It was about this time that I started to go deer hunting in the fall. That was really a fun time of the year. To walk in the woods in the fall all by yourself somehow draws you closer to your creator. He seems very close then. And all nature speaks of Him.

Days passed in to years. Edward went into the service. Leola graduated almost. But then decided to do otherwise. Caused me several uneasy nights and then she got married, after some time my first grandchild came to brighten our days, that was Jan. 13, 1951, that spring, Herb was drafted into the Army and in June that year I moved to Mpls. so I could take care of Carole so Leola could work. Dianne went to New York to spend the summer with Joyce and Pat. We rented an upstairs of a house and I moved some of my furniture down We got settled, when Dianne came back from New York she was very disappointed in the place and she also dreaded changing schools. But it wasn’t long till she made new friends at North high. Max was confirmed down here. I joined the choir at the church where he was confirmed. That I enjoyed. I always did belong to the choirs in the churches I attended. I loved to sing.

After Christmas that year Bertha’s daughters Maribelle and Patsy came and stayed with us and shortly after they came George {Maribelles husband} came. They stayed there with Dianne and Max. Leola, Carol and I went to New York City to visit Joyce and Pat. We stayed there five weeks. Edward was there too so we had quite a reunion.

When we came back home George, Maribelle and Patsy moved away.

On April 27, 1952 Terry Jean joined our gang. Edward also had returned so we were kind of bulging at the seams in that upstairs apt. But we went merrily along. Leola went back to work after Terry was born but had to quit because of her health. Dianne got a job and so did Edward. Summer passed, fall came and Dianne and Max went to school. Seems that Carol and Terry were sick a good part of that winter. I got a job working nites at a place on the North side I don’t even know what the name was. Any way time passed on and another spring came. Dianne Graduated and Herb came home from Japan where he had served while in the Army. They got a place in Coon Rapids. Edward and June were married and Max went to stay with June and Jerry. I moved in with Helen Church and got a job at Sears. Dianne went out to Montana. So the family scattered. I stayed with Helen until after Christmas then I got an apt. at 920 E. 19 St. and Max came to live with me. He was going to school at South High. This was 1953 and on Oct. 31 that year my first Grandson was born. Edward Barnum the 4th He was a premature baby and had to stay in the hosp. for quite some time. Such a little mite he was but he grew up to be a handsome man, so he did.

The next summer Dianne was married but that marriage didn’t work out and Dianne came home. Leola had moved back into Mpls. and on Oct. 30, 1954 they welcomed Steven Mark into their brood. And on Dec. 21, my Patti Wats was born. To Dianne How my family is growing.

This little story is drawing to a close. Not much more to report but I will leave the rest till another time

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The 'Ukelele

While researching articles and papers concerning the Portuguese migration to California, I came across a paper written by Robert Santos, Librarian/Archivist at California State University in Stanislaus County.

Reading Section VII, I was surprised to learn about a Portuguese migration to the Kingdom of Hawaii in the late nineteenth century. However, I was even more surprised to learn that the ukelele was brought to the Hawaiian islands by the Portuguese.

Since the paper's focus was the migration of Azoreans to California, Mr. Santos provides a very brief mention of the history of the ukelele. The ukelele is an adaptation of the cavaquinho, a small 4-stringed guitar from Madeira made first in 1877 by cabinetmaker, Manuel Nunes. He claims that the word ukelele means jumping mosquito.

Next, I wanted know how the ukelele is different from the cavaquinho. I came across an article at the 'Ukelele Guild of Hawai'i website by John King. The article confirms Mr. Santos' assertion that the ukelele was brought to Hawaii by the Madeiran Portuguese. However, Mr. King's article differs in other respects.

John King's article on the history of the ukelele refers to a strange little instrument that looked and sounded like a cross between a guitar and an banjo that the Maderian immigrants brought with them called the machete. Wikipedia indicates that machete is the name used in Maderia for the cavaquinho. Apparently, some Portuguese cabinetmakers also made stringed instruments. They were called luthiers.

I mentioned in my last post that in 1877 the Hawaiian government recruited workers from the Azores to work in the sugar cane fields. The government also recruited workers from Madeira. The workers began arriving in 1878 but were obligated to work 3 years in the cane fields of Kauai, Maui and Hawaii.

As a laborer in the sugar cane fields, Manuel Nunes would have little time to make stringed instruments. It was probably sometime in 1881 or 1882 that he would have had an opportunity to take up his old occupation. By 1885, Nunes was in Honolulu and advertised himself in a Portuguese language newspaper as a cabinetmaker and maker of stringed instruments.

Manuel Nunes was one of three cabinetmaker/luthiers to arrive in Hawaii about 1878. Augusto Dias advertised  in 1884-85 Honolulu City Directory. In 1885, Jose do Espirito Santo advertised in the Portuguese language newspaper too. It is not clear who really first made the ukelele. Manuel Nunes is self-professed as the inventor of the ukelele (1916 Honolulu City Directory). But Espirito Santo was the first to advertise ukeleles (1898 Honolulu City Directory) while Dias advertised in the same directory, "instruments made of Hawaiian wood."

Robert Santos claims that ukelele means jumping mosquito. Whereas, John King says the name is derived by the way that the instrument is played. It was coined about 1891 from two words, uke and lele. Uke means to strike; lele means to jump. I found another website about the history of the ukelele. This author says that ukelele means jumping flea but then points out additional stories of what the name means, who invented it, etc.

One last comment...

Besides being made from Hawaiian wood, how is the ukelele different from the machete? From what I can tell the only difference is how the instrument is tuned.


Azoreans to California: A History of Migration and Settlement by Robert L. Santos. Denair, CA: Alley-Cass Publications, 1995.

Prolegomena to A History of the 'Ukulele by John King.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Azorean Migration to California Part 2

In Part 1, I indicated that the city of San Leandro, Caliornia attracted the greatest number of Azoreans in the west. Some of the foreign born people enumerated in San Leandro in each of the decades did identify their country of birth as Portugal. Without further investigation, I cannot determine if these are Azoreans or from Portugal or some of each.

Robert Santos' paper on the Azorean to California migration noted that Massachusetts was the first area in the United States that attracted the Azoreans. By the 1850s the busiest ports were in New England. Each week dozens of whaling ships left the ports in New England. Those Azoreans working on whaling ships had the opportunity to come to Massachusetts.

In some cases, the men jumped ship and permanently settled in and around New Bedford, Massachusetts. Others served on the ships until discharged and then permanently settled in America. By the 1870s, direct shipping was begun from Horta, the location of the US Consulate in the Azores, to Boston. This allowed for an easier journey by family members to New England. As the male immigrants in New England saved enough money for passage, they sent for family members.

San Francisco was also a whaling ship port in the 1800s. With the discovery of gold in California, people from within the United States and throughout the world were attracted by the prospect of becoming wealthy. The some Azoreans working on whaling ships used the opportunity when they were in port at San Francisco to jump ship.

By 1860, the majority (86%) had settled in the Central Coast, Sacramento Valley and the Sierra Nevada. About equal numbers were in the Central Coast (35%) as were in the gold country (34%). They were occupied in whaling, farming or gold mining.

Twenty years later, interest in gold mining greatly diminished. Only 6% of the Azorean immigrants are found in the gold country, whereas almost 83% are found in the Central Coast (71.5%) and Sacramento Valley (11%). They are primarily engaged in farming in the East Bay where San Leandro is situated.

I also happened to notice that some of the people I found in the census between 1900 and 1940 were born in Hawaii and whose parents were born in the Azores. Mr. Santos' paper included a subheading, "From Hawaii."

By 1870, Mr. Santos indicates there are around 400 Portuguese living in Hawaii. They were primarily members of the crew aboard whaling ships who jumped ship when the ship was in port for supplies. Then in 1877, Hawaii faced a labor shortage in the sugar cane industry. The Hawaiian government offered to pay transportation costs for Azoreans who to immigrate to Hawaii with the provision that the immigrant work in the cane fields for 3 years.

The immigrant was offered monthly pay, food, lodging and medical care. Men represented the majority of the immigrants (42%), but entire families seized the opportunity. Women accounted for 19% of the immigrants and children, 35.6%. However, by 1890 the Hawaiian Portuguese began migrating to the Bay Area.

The Hawaiians viewed the Portuguese laborers as of a lower class. The hardworking Azoreans were offended. Some moved to the mainland while others took steps to asimilate into the Hawaiian population. They changed names, moved out of field jobs and intermarried.

The Hawaiian transplants also settled in San Leandro. Many settled along or near Kanaka Lane (Row or Road). The street was later renamed Orchard Street because of the number of fruit orchards planted by the Azoreans living there. I was curious to see what Orchard (now Avenue) looked like in 2012. If it were a street being laid today, Orchard is not likely a name that would fit.

The Portuguese in San Leandro by Meg Rogers. San Francisco: Arcadia Publishing Company, 2008.

San Leandro by Cynthia Vrilakas Simons. San Francisco: Arcadia Publishing Company, 2008.

American Experience Whaling Ports of the 1850s.

Azoreans to California: A History of Migration and Settlement by Robert L. Santos. Denair, CA: Alley-Cass Publications, 1995.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Azorean Migration to California

I was looking at the newly released 1940 US Census images for various enumeration districts in Sonoma County, California. Since the images for this census are not indexed, I had to look at each image within a given enumeration district.

As I browsed through the images looking for people named Houston, I happened to notice quite a few of the residents were either born in the Azores or were the offspring of one or more parents born in the Azores. The only thing that I really knew about the Azores was that they are islands in the Atlantic Ocean governed by the Portuguese government.

The instructions on the 1940 Census form states, "If foreign born, give the name of the country in which birthplace was situated on January 1, 1937." Similarly, the instructions on the 1930 Census form states, "If of foreign birth, give the name of the country in which birthplace is situated." This instruction is consistent in the previous enumerations.

Since Azores or Azores Islands are not the name of a country, I was a little surprised to see it recorded in the Place of Birth field. I was curious about why so many Portuguese had settled in Sonoma County. I found a paper written by Robert L. Santos of California State University, Stanislaus, about the migration of people from the Azores to California.

Reading the paper, I learned that city of San Leandro had the greatest concentration of immigrants from the Azores in the west. I looked at the enumeration of that city in 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 and 1940 and found that in most cases the enumerator wrote Azores Islands in the Place of Birth field rather than Portugal.

I was now curious to find out why these citizens of Portugal seemed to be emphatic about being from those islands. Mr. Santos paper provided much of the answer.

The Azores are comprised of nine islands formed by volcanic action. Only about 40% of the land on these islands are inhabitable because of the volcanic terrain. Wikipedia claims the total land area of the Azores is 906 square miles while claims a land mass of 893 square miles. In either case, the total inhabitable area is about 1.5 times the land area of Los Angeles.

Overpopulation, food scarcity and droughts periodically created problems for the inhabitants. One of the earliest bouts of hunger in the Azores was in 1680. Gold was discovered in Portuguese-controlled Brazil about that same time. The Portuguese government offered incentives to Azoreans to permanently settle in Brazil, primarily to work in the gold mines.

In the 1830s potato rot and a grape fungus plagued the islands. The fungus resulted in the virtual decimation of the wine industry. Then in 1877, the islands citrus crop suffered from orange blight. The crop yield was a third of normal. Unlike the hunger of 1680, the Portuguese government did little to aid the inhabitants during these periods.

In 1800, Portugal instituted a mandatory conscription law in which 14-year-old boys were conscripted into the military. By 1873, a family could pay a surrogate to replace a son but the Azoreans were too poor to take advantage of the new law. To avoid conscription, parents secreted their sons off the islands aboard whaling ships that stopped at the islands.

Throughout the 1800s, the majority of Azorean immigrants to America were males between the ages of 14 and 44. These men and boys would work two or more years aboard a whaling ship before settling in America.

Because of these factors, Azoreans held very little allegiance to Portugal. Although these immigrants would state that their mother tongue was Portuguese, when asked the name of the county in which they were born they stated, Azores or Azores Islands.

To Be Continued...

Azoreans to California: A History of Migration and Settlement by Robert L. Santos. Denair, CA: Alley-Cass Publications, 1995.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Emily Hunter Craig Murder Update

In my last post, I talked about finding Edna Craig in the 1900 Census living with Mrs. Emily Snyder and how I initially thought that Emily Snyder was Edna's mother, Emily Hunter. Further research showed that Emily Snyder was not Emily (Hunter) Craig. However, I did not know who Emily Synder was nor why Edna and her brothers were living with the Snyders.

Once I learned that Emily Craig was murdered by her husband, John Craig, I thought again about who the Snyders could be. My mother was orphaned by the time she was six. She and her brother and sister went to live with their paternal grandparents. Thus, I wondered if Emily Snyder was a relative.

Besides being named Emily, Mrs. Snyder was born about the same time as Emily Hunter, therefore, Mrs. Snyder could not have been a sister. It was possible that Emily Snyder was a paternal aunt.

As I noted in my previous post, I was unsure that Emily Snyder's mother was born in California as indicated in the 1900 Census because her mother would have been born in Mexican California. From the newspaper accounts of the hanging of John Craig, I had learned that his father was Daniel Craig, who in 1896 was living and residing in Illinois. Unless there was an error in the 1900 Census concerning the birthplace of Emily Snyder's mother, Mrs. Snyder probably was not John Craig's sister.

As it turns out Emily Snyder was Emily Hunter, Edna's mother's first cousin. Emily (Hunter) Snyder's parents were Asa and Petra Hunter. I found their marriage record. Asa Hunter and Petra Ortiz were married in California. Therefore the information concerning Emily Snyder in the 1900 Census was accurate.

Indeed, she was born in California, had no children in 1900 and her mother was born in California. Furthermore, I found that the Hunter family settled around what is now Glendale very early in the history of the State of California. The family had acquired substantial property that included a portion of the southern part of Rancho San Rafael and the adjacent 1200-acre Rancho Cañada de los Nogales. Over the years, the Hunter family sold parts of the property. Tropico, California, where Emily (Hunter) Craig was murdered, was located in what was once the family property.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tropico, California and the Emily Craig Murder

Awhile back I was doing some research to find out more information concerning Mary Griffith Stoutenburg's son, Walter Stoutenburg Rawlings when I came across his whereabouts in 1920. He was living in California and was married to Edna.

From the census image, I could determine that Edna was born in California between 1892 and 1893. Her father was born in Illinois; her mother, in California. As she would be 17 in 1910, I assumed that she would be single and living in California. Getting no where, I gave up looking and moved onto other persons of interest.

By chance, last week I found a record of the marriage in 1914 in Los Angeles County of Walter S. Rawlings and Edna Craig that included the identification of the parents of both parties. I learned that Edna's mother was Emily Hunter and her father was J. Craig. Since Edna was born in California about 1892 and was married at and living in Los Angeles County, I decided to look for her in the Census of 1900 and of 1910.

I felt that I had a the best chance of finding the given name of her father by searching for her in the 1900 Census as she was only 7 then. I found an Edna Craig who was born in June 1892 living at 743 Castelar Street in Los Angeles. (Castelar Street is now Hill Street.)

The head of household was 36-year-old John Snyder whose wife was 28-year-old Emily. They had been married 7 years. I assumed that this Emily was either divorced from J. Craig or that J. Craig was deceased. Later I learned that I was both correct and incorrect.

There were some things in this record that struck me as odd. First, the three children, of which Edna was the youngest, were recorded as lodgers and not the step or adopted children of John Snyder. His wife, Emily, was recorded as having no children and no children living in 1900. For whatever reasons, sometimes stillborns or infants dying shortly after birth are discounted. My initial inclination was she had no children of this marriage and that fact was what is recorded.

Finally, I was curious about Mrs. Snyder's parents' birth locations. They matched those of the children. I found it particularly odd that Emily's mother was born in California. If Emily Hunter was born about 1871, then her mother would have been born about 1850 or earlier. There were not very many woman of Northern European ancestry who were born in California before 1850. Until 1848, California was a Spanish terrritory.

I entered the information I found in the 1900 Census to my family tree, but added a note about my concerns. The next step, was to find Edna Craig in the 1910 Census. I found her living as a student at the Girl's Collegiate School on Adams Boulevard near Hoover Street. Either she or the school administration did not know where her father was born except that he was born in the United States.

She was the only student enumerated at this address. The others were employees of the school. Combine this with the oddities I noted in the 1900 Census, I began to wonder who Mrs. Emily Snyder really was. At this time, I don't know who she is, but I do know that she was not Edna Craig's mother because Emily (Hunter) Craig was murdered in 1894 by her estranged husband, John Craig.

My assumption, based on the 1900 Census, that Emily was either a widow or divorced was correct. Emily Hunter divorced John Craig shortly before he killed her. Two years after her own death, she became a widow when John Craig was hung at Folsom Prison in Northern California for murdering her and her parents.

The various newspaper accounts of the murder say that she was murdered at the Hunter Ranch in Tropico, California. She had taken her three children there to live with her brother, George. John Craig wounded his brother-in-law, killed his wife then looked for his children. A servant had managed to get the children safely out of the house and into hiding.

John Craig then went the home of his mother and father-in-law on Buena Vista Street in a suburb of Los Angeles and shot them dead. He unsuccessfully tried to kill himself.

Tropico, California
Having lived in Southern California for thirty-seven years, I had never heard of Tropico, California. At first only I found information about an abandoned mine, Tropico Mine in Kern County. But then I learned of a section of Glendale, California called Tropico.

A 1908 map of Tropico provided me with the names of the streets in the town, some of which sounded familiar. I compared the streets on the 1908 map with Google maps and was able to determine where the former town of Tropico was.

The Southern Pacific Railroad was on the west side of the the town. The Amtrak and Metro-Link trains both have a stop here, the Glendale Station. The north-south street names are mostly unchanged. They include San Fernando Road, Central Avenue, Brand Boulevard and Glendale Avenue. Los Angeles Avenue on the 1908 map was not a contiguous street. It terminated at Cypress Street and resumed a few blocks away at Tropico Avenue. Today the northern portion is Los Angeles Street and the southern extension is Gardena Avenue.

Many of the east-west street names are changed with Tropico Avenue the most significant. You will find it on Google maps under is current name, Los Feliz Road. Cypress, Laurel and EulaliaCerritos Avenue. Two streets north of Tropico (Los Feliz) whose names were changed are Wilkinson Court and Victor Court. They are now called Fernando Court and Palmer Avenue, respectively.

According to A History of California and An Extended History of Los Angeles and Environs, Volume 1 by James Miller Guinn (Los Angeles: Historic Record Co., 1915), Tropico was laid out as a town in 1887. Page 441 reads, "The San Pedro & Salt Lake road passes along the borders of the town, affording easy access to  the city (Los Angeles)." This was a railroad that connected Salt Lake City to San Pedro at Los Angeles Harbor.

The land around the town was divided in to lots for fruit raising of which the primary crop is strawberries. The Los Angeles, Tropico & Glendale Trolley was completed about 1905 providing a 20-minute ride to Los Angeles. I'm sure that many Angelenos would love to have only a 20-minute commute nowadays.

The town was incorporated in 1911. Tropico was annexed to Glendale in 1918. Over time most indication of its existence disappeared.

Look for the James Guinn book at Google Books

An aside:
Glendale is a city north of the downtown Los Angeles near Griffith Park. The University of California Santa Barbara Library has a photo of a building in Tropico, California. It is a lone building with what looks like tumbleweeds or other desert plants in the landscape. The photo was taken in 1978 by John S. Kiewit. The library subject is:

Tropico (Calif.)
Glendale (Calif.)

The building in the photo does not look like anything I have seen in Glendale. The vegetation looks more like desert than the vegetation of the very urban city of Glendale. I found a website that has several photos of buildings near the old mine site. Click on the photo on the right to see the gallery of photos. The photo at UCSB is very similar.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The General's Bouwerij

According to the record of baptisms at the Reformed Dutch Church of New Amsterdam, Wyntie, daughter of Pieter Stoutenburg and Aefje van Tienhonven, was baptized at the General's Bouwerij (farm) in 1662. The General was Peter Stuyvesant who was the Director-General in New Amsterdam on behalf of the Dutch West India Company. Stuyvesant had a house at the very end of lower Manhattan. Because I assumed that he had a bouwerij (bowery) attached to his home, I couldn't reconcile that fact the Wyntie was baptized at the General's Bouwerij and not at the church in the fort. The church in the fort was within walking distance of Peter Stuyvesant's home.

Fortunately I came across a magazine on the Internet, Americana. As I read it, I realized that Stuyvesant's Bouwerij was outside of the city wall. I also knew that Pieter Stoutenburg had a house and lot outside the city wall. Families that lived outside the wall were subject to attacks by aborigines. New Amsterdam afforded protection to its inhabitants against these attacks but not for those who lived outside the wall.

There apparently was some pressure by Thomas Hall and Wolfert Webber to provide protection to those who lived outside the wall. On May 3, 1660, the New Amsterdam council allowed a village to be established near Augustyn Heermans’ bouwerij and that of the Director-General. The village was established to provide a place in which the sparsely spaced inhabitants could go for protection from attack.

The village was established in the triangle formed by present day 3rd Avenue, 4th Avenue and St. Mark’s Place. The village included a blacksmith shop, a tavern and a schoolhouse. Stuyvesant erected a chapel on his bouwerij in which he solicited Domine Selyns to preach to the inhabitants on Sunday afternoons.

In addition to preaching on Sunday afternoons, Domine Selyns performed marriages and baptisms at Stuyveant’s bouwerij. He returned to the Netherlands in 1664 after the British took control. Although he returned to New York City in 1682 to be minister of the Reformed Dutch congregation, when he departed in 1664 his records were transferred to the church at the fort and copied into its baptismal record book.

The magazine also indicated that Pieter was an elder at the Stuyvesant Bouwerij congregation and that he and others joined the church at the fort after Selyns returned to Europe.

The Hamlet at the Bouwerij Part I by Hopper Striker Mott. Americana Volume 10, July 1915. Pages 660-676
New York City:The National Americana Society

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Microwave Popcorn

My sister added a post on her Facebook wall that mentioned microwave popcorn. She bought microwave popcorn before she had a microwave oven. Her post made me recall my own microwave popcorn initiation.

I was working in the BioMathematics Department at UCLA. One of the employees came with a bag of microwave popcorn that he/she had bought in a vending machine and popped in the microwave oven. The bag looked like a standard brown lunch bag.

We had a microwave oven in our apartment and I really like popcorn. So, I told my husband Charley about this microwaveable popcorn. If I had more common sense, I would have found out more about this microwave popcorn in a bag before I told him about it. We had a microwave adventure shortly after we married.

The instruction booklet that came with the Litton microwave oven included warnings about cooking with metal as well as not cooking eggs in the shells. The booklet implied that you could not tell when the egg was cooked.

My engineering husband didn't understand why this would be a problem. So he decided to conduct an experiment. He cooked the egg in the shell for a few seconds more, then cracked the shell to release some steam. He cooked the egg for a bit longer. The egg exploded and made a huge mess!

The door to the oven was only a metal plate with tiny holes. Egg penetrated every hole in the door. I had to use a toothpick to clean egg out of each hole.

I had no idea that my popcorn adventure would be anything like the egg explosion! Charley decided not to use a paper bag. I don't know if that was a good or bad decision. He instead decided to use one of my Corningware pots in which to pop the popcorn.

After a few minutes in the microwave oven, only a few kernels had popped. He added more time and still very few kernels had popped. Several more attempts yielded very little popped kernels. At this point, Charley decided to remove the lid to the Corningware pot to look at the kernels. Fortunately he used a potholder to remove the lid as it burst into flames when he touched the glass lid.

He let the lid cool before attempting to touch it again. When he lifted the lid, we saw stalactites of glass hanging from the underside of the lid. The lid had become so hot that the glass began to melt.

Popcorn kernels and ceramic pots contain very little liquid. Glass, on the other hand, has a liquid state. The glass lid absorbed the microwave energy becoming hot. Charley shortly thereafter learned that the paperbag contained oil, an essential ingredient to make the popcorn pop.