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The Principle of Happiness 

This is a statue honoring George Mason that I discovered whilst wandering in D.C.. Despite being a lover of history, I had no idea who George Mason was, but I have quoted (or misquoted) him on occasion.

You may have also.

So here’s a quick top 10 on the other George..

10. He has a university named after him. George Mason University… obviously.

9. One of the founders of Alexandria, Virginia.

8. He said: “Don’t wait around for your life to happen to you. Find something that makes you happy, and do it. Because everything else is all just background noise.

7. George and his wife, Ann, had many children. Nine of which survived to adulthood.

6. He grew up as a neighbor of George Washington.

5. Was one of three who helped draft the US Constitution at the US Constitutional Convention in 1787. But was not happy with the amount of power the government had, and thought it needed edits. He said, I would sooner chop off my right hand than put it to the Constitution as it now stands.” He stood his ground with 2 other dissenters, and never signed it.

4. Drafted the Virginia State Constitution. Other states used his draft to draft their state constitution.

3. Leader in Virginia during the Revolutionary War.

2. George was a driving force behind the Bill Of Rights, and died about a year after it was ratified.

1. He said: All men are created equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing the obtaining of happiness and safety.

Point to ponder while you wander…. John 10:10 tells us that Jesus came to give life and life abundant. Sounds a lot like the right to pursue happiness. Doesn’t it?

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Sin and Wisdom of Thomas Jefferson

I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” -Thomas Jefferson

Random fact…I refer to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial as “Jeff”.

I enjoy visiting Jeff for the view sometimes, and other times I go there to ponder. Something about being there in the early quiet of the morning just inspires me.

Recently I heard that people want to either tear down his memorial or tack up a list of his sins.

Seriously?

We all know the founding fathers were not saints by any means. But his memorial is meant to inspire and to make people think not as a temple of worship!

My response to those people is let he who is without sin cast the first stone!

I doubt those folks suggesting the sin list would not want a list of their sins tacked up on their tombstone for everyone to see? I know I wouldn’t!

Point to ponder while you wander… We should be inspired by the wisdom of historical figures, but also learn from their struggles and failures. But if we only focus on someone’s sin…we miss out on the gift God intended those people to be.

Same is true of the people in our day-to-day lives.

Unity of the Nation

I was just on the roof of my building enjoying the view of DC, and praying for wisdom for our president and our congress.

And this is what came to me…Our military is the best in the world, so chances America being taken down from the outside are not very high. But the chances of us destroying ourselves from the inside out are currently astronomical.

We are not United.

Why would a terrorist waste their time attacking us? When we the people are using our diversity as a wrecking ball against ourselves & destroying our own country.

History should be studied and learned from so it is not repeated.

But yet we haven’t learned a thing! Here we are fighting amongst ourselves over historical statues and skin tones!

Come on people. Take a deep breath.

Hate, fear, anger, wrath, rioting, and finger pointing do not resolve anything. And we all know fear is a liar!

People are hurting, legitimately, and I’m sorry to see and hear that. But knocking down a very old Christopher Columbus statue is not going to heal anyone’s wounds. It just won’t.

Is this what you want to teach the next generation of Americans? Do you want your kids and grandkids to destroy art and history because they are hurt and upset?

I sincerely hope not.

Listening. Open communication. Love. Kindness. Patience. Mutual respect. These are tools that lead to unity.

Unity does not mean we are all the same and have the same opinion. It doesn’t mean blindly following either.

Unity is diverse people coming together for the common good. It’s choosing to listen to those who have a differing opinion. Unity is choosing to be kind & respectful even when you disagree.

The goal of unity should be to build on the successes of the previous generation accomplished, and improve in the areas where they struggled.

Point to ponder while you wander…This is our country. We are the people. We, you and me, are the solution to the problem.

So please join me in praying for peace and unity for our people, and wisdom for our leaders. Please choose to be kind. Be the positive change.

Mysteries and Family History: Densmores End Up In Detroit

Hi, Mystery and History Lovers, it’s Velma!  Your favorite family tree researcher. My last post was about Jennie and John Brander.  Today I’m going to talk about Jennie’s Dad’s family…the Densmores, Dinsmores or possibly the Dinsmoors.  They are a mystery I am trying to solve.

Per usual, I’m going to use the spelling as written on the documents I found.  It changes…of course

Benjamin and Elizabeth

The furthest back I’ve been able to locate is Benjamin and Elizabeth Dinsmore.  Benjamin was born in 1780 in New Hampshire, and Elizabeth was born in 1781 in New Hampshire per the 1850 New York Census.  They were born during the American Revolutionary War before the USA was the USA.

They were living with their son, Moses Dinsmore and his wife, Lydia Allard Dinsmore, in 1850, per the 1850 Federal Census.  The family was residing in Bangor, Franklin County, New York.  (As was Lydia’s parents and siblings) Moses was born in 1814 in New Hampshire, and Lydia was also born in New Hampshire in 1823.  They had been living in New York for at least 6 years at this point because their eldest Laura Ann was born in New York in 1844.  Also living in the household was Caroline, born 1846, Phoebe E, born 1848, and Mary Elizabeth who was a month old.  Moses is listed as a farmer, and both Laura and Caroline attended school that year.

I’m sure Ben and Liz had more kids, because that was how it worked back in the day.  But I cannot find any proof of their other children.  I also cannot find death records for either Elizabeth or Benjamin.  Logic says they died in New York, but they could have also died on the way to Michigan with Moses or in Michigan.  I am still looking into this, but have no evidence of their death.  Maybe there is no death record because they are still alive at 235 and 236!  I would love for this to be true and I would definitely want to spend time with them and hear their tale.  But alas, I’m sure I just haven’t found the right location for their info.

Moses and Lydia

Moses Dinsmore married Lydia Allard, daughter of Henry Allard and Mary Elizabeth Fall, on 2 July 1843 in Bolton, Brome, English Canada (Ontario).  Moses died 16 February 1866 in Detroit, Michigan. I have also found records that list Moses’s birth state as Vermont on the death records of some of his daughters. Lydia was born 15 August 1819 in Bartlett, New Hampshire and died 10 May 1904 in Detroit, Michigan.

I know that Moses left New York for Michigan with his family between 1850 and 1853, because his son Moses Densmore was born 26 May 1853 in Detroit, Michigan, and daughter  Jane Lydia “Jennie” Densmore was born 18 January 1861 also in Detroit, Michigan.

The 1880 Census shows Moses (the son) and Jennie living with Liddie. Moses is a plasterer and Jennie works in a seed store.  Liddie is listed as keeping house at 371 Crawford St, Detroit. Please see below map for the location.  It’s now near the Fisher Fwy (I-75).

371-crawford

Here is the information I found on the children of Moses and Lydia:

Laura Ann Densmore was born 24 March 1844 in Bangor, New York, and died 6 May 1934 in Detroit.  Laura married William Crawford.

Caroline Densmore was born in 1846 in Bangor, New York.  Caroline married John McDoinell.

Phoebe E. Densmore was born on 10 June 1848 in Bangor, New York.  She died 12 January 1916.  She lived at 764 Williams in Detroit, Michigan in 1916.

Mary Elizabeth Densmore was born in May 1850 in Bangor, New York.  She married Oliver M. Dicks on 11 February 1871 in Detroit.  Their children: Emma was born in 1874.  Emma married John Busha on 16 April 1898 in Detroit. Samuel, was born 24 February 1876, but isn’t listed on the 1880 Census. Herbert A, was born in 1876.  He married Ida M. Seidel on 14 September 1905 in Detroit. Lottie May, was born 24 October 1878, and died 8 May 1880. Edward, born 10 Jan 1881 in Michigan.  Edward married Clara Minnie Spurr in Fort Wayne, Indiana on 23 September 1940.  Alexander, was born 25 April 1883 in Greenfield, Michigan, and died 2 December 1884.  Alfred G, was born in 31 August 1884 in Greenfield, Michigan.  He married Elizabeth Ridge on 10 October 1906 in Detroit. Moses,  was born 2 December 1887 in Greenfield, Michigan, and died 24 July 1888.  William J, was born in 1887.(Note:  Dicks is also spelled Dix in a few documents, but it’s mostly spelled Dicks).

Moses Densmore was born 26 May 1853 in Detroit, Michigan and died 5 February 1910. According to the 1880 Census, he was a plasterer.  Moses married Maggie Duncan on 30 June 1880 in Detroit, Michigan.  She was born either in Couttern, Connecticut or in Canada on 19 June 1960.  Maggie died 23 April 1936 in Detroit.  She and Moses are both buried in Woodmere Cemetery.  They had a daughter, May or Mary, born 1882.  May married Charles Feole, son of August Teole and Caroline Cole on 28 June 1900.  They also had a son, Charles H., born in 22 April 1884 and died 11 August 1947 in Detroit.  Their daughter, Phoebe, born in 1885.

Last but most important to my life (as in I wouldn’t be here without her) is Jane Lydia “Jennie” Densmore was born 18 January 1861 also in Detroit, Michigan. Click on the Jennie and John link above to read about my 4x great-grandmother and her family.

I’ve also found information that there might possibly be 4 additional children, Twins Amanda and Maranda, James M, and John.  It’s possible they were born between Moses and Jennie.

I have hit a wall geneology fans. No further information on Benjamin or maiden name for Elizabeth. Guess…I’ll have to work on a new branch for a while.

Later mystery lovers… xo Velma

PS: One last thing of note…I did notice that the Michigan records are all Densmore. Not Dinsmore, like the New York and New Hampshire records. Not sure why that is. But I wonder. It’s like Nickerson becoming Nicholson on Nantucket I guess…new place…new name.😉

 

Fun Fact Friday: Peachy Keen Jelly Bean

I love words, the study of words, and all things words related.  Do you ever wonder where some random word or phrase comes from?  I do too!!  Must be why you read this random blog.

Ever wonder where Rizzo (of the Pink Ladies of Rydell High) got the idea to say, “Peachy keen, jelly bean.”

Now I know the Grease script said it, and that’s where the character’s lines come from…but where did the writers get it?

Somewhere around the 1870’s, “peachy” began to be used to describe someone or something as wonderful.  Prior to that it was mainly used to describe women’s cheeks or complexion as far back as ancient Rome and old school China.

By the early 1900’s that grew to mean something excellent or fine.  It stayed in use from then on as a cheery and colorful way to say, “All’s well.”

The 1950’s brought us “peachy keen” as a neat-o way of saying “just peachy.”  “Peachy keen” started 1948 with a Pasadena DJ named Jim Hawthorn.  Not sure if he invented it or if he borrowed it.  But he surely made it famous.  All because he was bored at work one day and started talking all far out and what not.

And so that’s the original source of Rizzo’s line , “Peachy keen, jelly bean.”

For those of you who know “just peachy” as the sarcastic way of saying, “things are not great.”  This started around the 1980’s.  Someone asks how it’s going, and it’s not going well, so you say, “Oh just peachy!” and roll your eyes at them. (Okay…maybe not YOU…but some people did).

Today it’s used both ways.  Sarcastic or straightforward.  How do you use it?

Point to ponder while you wander….the study of words, their meaning, and how word usage changes across time is known as etymology.  I know you were wondering about that too, you curious thing you.  You’re welcome.

Star Spangled Banner 

When I was young, like 7 or 8, I read the story of Francis Scott Key and his poem “Defense of Fort McHenry” written in 1814. It inspired me, and I memorized the first verse of the Star Spangled Banner.

Can you imagine watching and waiting all night? Only being able to see the flag flying by the glow of a bombs shelling the fort where your people are fighting, knowing many of them won’t survive the night?

The video Our National Anthem is well done. If you’ve never heard the story, even if you have, I recommend it. 

Here are the full lyrics of The Star Spangled Banner, which became our National Anthem in 1931.

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen thro’ the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov’d homes and the war’s desolation;
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

30 Years Later

Mackinac Bridge in Winter.  Photo from Mackinac Bridge Authority's Webcam

Mackinac Bridge in Winter. Photo from Mackinac Bridge Authority’s Webcam.

About 30 years ago, on a blustery, snow-filled winter’s  night, I crossed the Mighty Mac for the first time. Mom was driving; white-knuckling it actually because of the poor visibility and wind gusts.

My five year old inquisitor brother starts grilling with questions, “Whoa, Mom, how deep is that water down there? How far up are we? Is the water cold? Would we…”

My Mom never answered his questions or found the answers for him, as she usually did…due to her intense fear at that moment.

This past Labor Day, half of our family walked the Mighty Mac during the annual Labor Day bridge walk, including the now 35 year old inquisitor. While we were enjoying Mackinac City, Mom finds a paper with Mackinac Bridge fun facts. She smiled and said, “Jeff, I have the answers to your questions. The water under the bridge is  95 feet deep and the bridge is 199 feet above the water.”

We were all laughed, heartily!

But there’s a lesson here too. Sometimes people cannot answer your personal questions. Usually it’s because they don’t know or don’t want to appear foolish or that the truth might embarrass them.

But sometimes it’s because they are flat out terrified. Fear prevents people from being honest with themselves and with you. Fear is the enemy of intimacy and vulnerability. Fear corners people and causes them to behave oh so squirrelly…or mean…or rude.

My mom always tried to help us get answers to our questions, but her fear caused her to be short with my brother & tell him to just shut up.

I’m not sure what point I’m trying to make…other than I love my family and I loathe fear…but this has just been rolling around in my head and I needed to get it out.

PS Random funny..me, my mom and my niece all prefer walking the Mighty Mac to driving over it. We feel safer. Weird but true.