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!