Friday, May 22, 2015

Humorous 1934 view of Social Security by George Gowen

Nola and her mother Myra Gowen
The Ord Quiz: September 6, 1934

Care of the County Board: By George Gowen

Dear Jake...
My sister [Nola Gowen Vredenburgh], in California, writes that there is a movement there (they have lots of ideas in California) to the effect that the government shall pay every person over sixty years of age two hundred dollars a month. She says that the idea is gaining strength fast and everyone seems to be in favor of it as soon as the proposition is explained to them. There is only one requirement, and that is that the recipient spend the money. In that way we would soon start the circulation of the lucre in the place of soaking it away in the mattress or in the bank to make temptation for the bandits. As soon as this money has become well on its way in the typhoon, prosperity will dawn for all of us.

I am beginning to be converted to the idea myself. My wife's parents are both over sixty and so is my mother. I wish the measure would soon be adopted for not one of the three are of any too good health at the writing. Further, all three of these folks are none too exacting with me. They are the nicest folks to borrow money from I ever saw. They will loan me their last dollar and nearly starve before they ask me to pay them back. Then I would plan to rent my mother a room for about forty per and charge her a dollar for a bottle of milk. Great Guns, Jake, think of the possibilities! And then think of how some of these old folks who are getting a dollar and twenty a week to live on would act. They would sure tell someone where to go in short order. And in place of five dollars a month rent, we might get enough to pay our taxes.

I presume that I better mention how this money is to be raised, although we all know that that is a minor matter now days it is argued that we put on a sales tax of very small denomination. That would be all right. One more little tax on top of all of the others would not be noticed. Of course if there was too much "hollar" about that, we could just have Morgenthau issue some more bonds. No one objects to that way of paying.
George G.

George Gowen, central Nebraska newspaper columnist.

George Gowen, 1922
My grand uncle, George Gowen, who lived in central Nebraska, authored newsy weekly newspaper columns between 1934 & 1941. George farmed near North Loup, Nebraska and supplemented his income by writing columns for the North Loup Loyalist and the Ord Quiz. He also dabbled in writing fictional short stories. These writings depict farm life in the Midwest during the depression and pre-World War II days. In those days farmers were just converting from horses to tractors. Electrifi...cation was gradually coming to rural America. Franklin D. Roosevelt was president during much of this period. Mr. Gowen's writings comment on the government programs of the day and the radical idea of providing social security to the elderly.

George's grandsons David and John Fuehring transcribed these articles, and in 2000 assembled these clippings into two volumes. David posted these articles on a website. Regrettably David passed away in 2009, at the age of 59. Following his death the website was taken down. In 2011 I acquired a copy of the two volume collection of articles from Joan Gowen, Dick Gowen’s widow. Dick was George’s son, and my dad’s first cousin. George’s sister, Nola was my grandmother. They are amazing articles full of my family history. I have only scratched the surface.

I will post a few articles on this blog. But if you are interested in the entire collection, you can download the two volumes:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

1871 “Rules of Health for Married Ladies.”

The Mining and Scientific Press, published from 1860 until 1922, is legendary for early mining news of the west. The early issues also contained health “tips.” This article, published July 8, 1871, while written “tongue-in-cheek,” must have been, to some extent, a housewife’s daily reality.
Get up at 3 o'clock in the morning, clean out the stove, take up the ashes, sweep the front side walk, and scrub the front steps, nurse the baby, put the mackerel to soak, build the fires, grind the coffee, get out your husband’s things to warm, see the shirt aired, boil the mackerel, settle the coffee, set the table, rouse the house, carry up some hot water for shaving to that brute lazy husband, and dry the morning paper. By this time you will have an appetite for breakfast. Hold the baby during the meal, as you like your breakfast cold.
After breakfast, wash the dishes, nurse the baby, dust everything, wash the windows, and dress the baby-(that pantry needs cleaning out and scrubbing)-nurse the baby, draw the baby five or six miles in the wagon for his health, nurse him when you return; put on the potatoes and the cabbage-nurse the baby-and the corned beef-don't forget to nurse the baby-and the turnips-nurse the baby-sweep everything, take up the dinner, set the table, fill the castors, change the table-cloth-there, that baby wants nursing. Eat your dinner cold again; and nurse the baby.
After dinner wash dishes, gather up all the dirty clothes, and put them to soak; nurse the baby every half hour; receive a dozen calls, interspersed with nursing the baby; drag the baby a mile or two; hurry home; make biscuits, pick up some codfish, cut some dried beef. Catnip tea for baby's internal disarrangement; hold the baby an hour or two to quiet him; put some alcohol in the metre; baby a specimen of perpetual motion; tea ready; take yours cold, as usual.
After tea, wash up the dishes, put some fish to soak; chop some hash; send for some more sugar; (good gracious! how that sugar does go, and thirteen cents a pound;) get down the stockings and darn them…keep on nursing the baby-wait up till 12 o'clock, nursing the baby till husband comes home with a double shuffle on the front steps, a difficulty in finding the stairway, and a determination to sleep in the back yard.-Drag him up stairs to bed; then nurse the baby and go to sleep.
Women in delicate health will find that the above practice will either kill or cure them.

No More Babies in U. S. After 2015, Savant Says

In 1978 I was granted permission to research and make copies of the Barstow Printer newspaper, by the manager Desert Dispatch of the Barstow, California. Of course I was there to research mining history, but this article caught my eye. Since it is timely – I thought I’d share it with you – for a laugh! I guess you can prove anything with statistics.
No More Babies in U. S. After 2015, Savant Says
Barstow Printer 6 Jan 1911
St Louis, Jan 4. There will be no children in the United States under 5 years of age in the year 2020. Babies, accordingly, will have disappeared from this country as early as 2015.
This is the mathematical conclusion of Prof. Walter F. Wilcox of Cornell University, announced to the American Statistical association this afternoon. The only hope of securing babies in the United States after 2020, according to Prof. Wilcox’s calculation, is in possible importation from France.
He says France will continue to have babies eighty years after the United States has quit.
In 1978 I was granted permission to research and make copies of the newspaper, by the manager Desert Dispatch of the Barstow, California. While I was interested in Mojave Desert mining history, this article caught my eye. Since it is timely – I thought I’d share it with you – for a laugh! I guess you can prove anything with statistics.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Why "Melange?"

On September 5, 1997, I created a website which over time has evolved into I named this website "A Melange of Websites." Initially I posted my Vredenburgh family history here but over time it has expanded to to include sections on General Land Office Patents in California, Mojave Desert Mining History, Tehachapi California History, Carrizo Plain History and of course Family History. Lots of family history

Why melange you may ask? Synonyms include: "mixture, medley, assortment, blend, variety, mixed bag, potpourri, patchwork, mishmash, jumble, hodgepodge...." While writing geology reports for the BLM I was introduced to the Franciscan Formation that occurs along California's Coast Ranges. This Formation is often referred to as a melange. It is a complex chaotic assemblage of diverse rock types. is a certainly a diverse assemblage of my interests.

On April 4 2015, I established a Facebook page: " A Melange of Websites" on which I have highlighted content on my website but I have also authored new articles for the Facebook site. But alas, unless you are a Facebook subscriber you can't view them. Yes there are a few  people on earth that don't have a Facebook account... my mother being one of them. So, I will copy the articles here as well. This canvas is a much better place to layout photos and text anyway!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Surprise Connection

I co-teach a Life Focus Group (aka. Sunday School class) at the Tehachapi Nazarene Church. We are going through the Sermon on the Mount, and two weeks ago it was my turn to teach from Matthew 5:11-12.

"Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

About the same time we began teaching from this passage, I stumbled on a series of sermons by John Piper on the Beatitudes. His sermon that covers this passage is appropriately titled Blessed Are the Persecuted.  Jesus' words are never easy. In fact they are impossible without the in filling of Holy Spirit. (All things are possible with God!) But this one, "Blessed... Rejoice and be glad" when you are persecuted! Whew! Yet if you stop and think about it, Jesus is saying store your treasure in heaven, not on the earth (Matt. 6:19-20).

In this passage Jesus encourages us to consider the prophets who went before us (also see Hebrews 11:36-38). In his sermon John Piper suggested that we consider those who rejoiced though facing suffering and death since Jesus walked the earth.

Some of people whose testimonies Piper presented I knew, many I did not. One I person I hadn't heard of was Obadiah Holmes.  John Piper wrote the following regarding him, "What moved Obadiah Holmes, after ninety lashes turned his back to jelly for Jesus, to say to the magistrates, "You have struck me with roses"? " 

I was curious to learn more about Obadiah, so I went to the fount of knowledge and looked him up.

This incident is described in Wikipedia:

"In 1650 he and others were taken to court for their religious views and practices, and compelled to leave the colony [Massachusetts]. He settled in Newport in the Rhode Island colony and soon befriended John Clarke and John Crandall. In July 1651 these three men, while visiting an elderly friend in Lynn, Massachusetts, were apprehended, tried, and given exorbitant fines for their religious practices. Friends paid the fines for Clarke and Crandall, but when Holmes learned of this he refused to allow them to pay his fine. Six weeks after trial he was taken to the whipping post in Boston and given 30 strokes, which were laid on so harshly that for weeks afterward Holmes could only sleep while on his knees and elbows."

A Surprise Connection 

Not to take away from Obadiah's suffering and his super natural response, after reading this I had to stop. I audibly said to myself, "Wait, I know John Crandall." John Crandall is an ancestor of mine, an 8th great grandfather.  In my last blog I wrote of my 2nd great grandfather, Oscar Babcock. John Crandall was Oscar's 3rd great grandfather. Small world.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

North Loup, Nebraska. Photos in a box – Part 1

A lot has transpired in the two years since my last post. On April 14, 2012, I mentioned an intention to post photos from our summer 2011 genealogical vacation. That never happened.  Also, I mentioned that I intended to use this site at a "Genealogical Rescue" site. That did happen, but not through this site. A family Bible that I purchased in 1991 at garage sale was returned to a family member last year. Today's post is about old photos and a rescue in the making.

My grandmother, Nola Gowen, was born in the tiny town of North Loup Nebraska, in 1902. Her mother, Myra Babcock was the daughter of one of the founders of the town, Oscar Babcock. Nola’s father, William Gowen, co-owned the largest general store in town, and William’s father ran the largest hotel at one time. Nola by all accounts was a gentle, caring, positive, godly woman. Unfortunately I never knew her, she died five months before I was born. But I am certain that her prayers for me, though not yet born, have had an influence on my life.

Oscar & Metta (Bristol) Babcock. Wedding Photo June 1858
Oscar & Metta (Bristol) Babcock.
Wedding Photo June 1858
Myra Babcock, January 1893

Nola (age 16) with her father William in Los Angeles, 1918. Months before his death.
Nola (age 16) with her father William in
Los Angeles, 1918.
Months before his death.
The Arlington House hotel in North Loup, before 1895.
William's father and mother (John and Maria)
are in this photo just to the right
of the window on the left.

Nola’s grandfather, Oscar Babcock, also was the founding pastor of the Seventh Day Baptist church in North Loup, Nebraska.  (Google records  about 6,000 hits for “Oscar Babcock”  (with quotes)).
Wikipedia briefly summarizes the founding of North Loup:

In 1871, a party of Seventh Day Baptists from Wisconsin explored Valley County for settlement sites. In May 1872, they established a community near what is now North Loup. A post office and general store were established in 1873; in 1877, the town of North Loup was formally organized. The name was taken from the North Loup River, in whose valley the village lies.
Oscar organized that 1871 scouting party.
His life accomplishments were nicely summarized in the eulogy given at his funeral:

Oscar Babcock was licensed to preach in 1858; at the same quarterly meeting when a like call came to A. H. Lewis and to A. B. Prentice. He was not ordained till twelve years later, that is, in 1872. He was a member of the state [Wisconsin] legislature in 1863-4 and in 1865-6. He was promoter and president of a scheme of colonization that resulted in the establishment of a Seventh-day Baptist society in North Loup, Nebr. He has been pastor at Dakota, Wisconsin, and at North Loup. He was Sabbath school superintendent in North Loup for seventeen consecutive years. He was postmaster at Dakota and was connected with the post office department while member of the Wisconsin legislature. He was postmaster at North Loup for about twenty-seven years. He was the first preacher in Valley county, preaching the first sermon among the covered wagons camped near the river May 18, 1872. A rocking chair was used for a pulpit. He performed the first marriage and conducted the first funeral. He assisted in organizing Valley county in 1873 and was the first county judge. He laid out the site of North Loup which was a part of his homestead. For years he was chairman of the village board and of the school board. He was also immigration agent and county commissioner for many years. At one time he was superintendent of schools for Valley county. In 1878 he was elected to the legislature of Nebraska.
North Loup was essentially established as a Seventh-day Baptist colony, though, it wasn't exclusive. Anyone was welcome.  Because of the relatively small size of the denomination since it’s American founding in Rhode Island in 1665, there was a considerable intermarriage among church members. Of course there was. These are the people you worship with, they are your very best friends. You share life together as a congregation, celebrating births and weddings and comforting those left behind at funerals.

I am a product of that Seventh-day Baptist community. I have three photos taken in 1938 of the adult, teen and children’s North Loup SDB Sunday classes. Every person is identified.  As I started going through these photos I realized that I am related to about 90 percent of these people through marriage or blood.  The more I work on these families, the more tightly I find them connected.
Just a few weeks ago when I spotted a photo on ebay of “George Miller taken at North Loup, Nebraska.” I was interested. Wasn't I related to most of the people of North Loup? He could be a cousin! The ebay posting went on to say "I purchased purchased a box of antique photos sometime ago at an estate sale… So I am putting them on ebay.”  After I contacted the seller she did put the entire box (of some 75 photos) up for auction, and I won it.

I will relate what I found in the box in my next post.

postscript: The photos posted here are also available at the links below:
Oscar Babcock
Myra Babcock
John Brackett Gowen
William Gowen
Nola Gowen