I’ve been reading archived newspapers from 1979, a time in my life when I didn’t pay too much attention to world events. Now that I’m doing my bit for recorded history, I enjoy reminding myself, or educating myself, on vaguely remembered moments from the years I actually lived through. I came across a piece in the New York Times, that had Senator John Glenn being shown the facade of a Washington building, and told by his guide that there was more radiation emanated by the granite than was detectable in the air around Three Mile Island (the accident occurred March 28, 1979).
That made me curious about my favorite garden rock, above. I learned, doing a little research, that pink and red granites give off more than greys and blacks—a combination of radon gas and gamma rays, chiefly. Unfortunately, a Geiger counter won’t detect levels in granite reliably, if at all, due to ordinary background radiation in the environment. And the other machines, for non-professionals, are too expensive to buy. So I guess I’ll never know how powerful my pink rock is.
(If you have granite countertops, don’t worry. Here is a PDF from the Health Physics Society explaining more.)
Above, a thing you don’t see often, since birds of prey don’t walk on the ground. But they do rocket down from the treetops onto passing squirrels and rabbits. At night, I seem to have a lot of owl activity around my ground feeder as well, to judge by the number of pellets I find. I don’t know what comes out, whether it’s mice or flying squirrels…but whatever they are, they aren’t very wary. The owls seem to be picking them off constantly.
Below are two of my grandmother’s Brownie snapshots from the 1920s, taken on the back streets of Mount Vernon, Illinois. I don’t know who the subjects are, but both compositions have a sort of existential quality.
My G3 grandfather [Ramsey line], Silas Thomas Gaither (1832-1862) was married to Mary Marinda Clark (1842-?), who was the daughter of James Jordan Clark (1818-1897). James Jordan’s wife was Elizabeth Brewer. His own father was Edmond Clark, whose wife was Catherine Crane. The family at that time lived in Rutherford Co., NC.
From Lineage Book, The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 1906
Under listing for Mrs. Florence D. Foster Crowell, of Indianapolis, Indiana:
(Mrs. Crowell would be a connection, not in the direct line, but the common ancestor, William Foster II, was my direct ancestor.)
William Foster II, 1746-1809, served as corporal and sergeant of minutemen in Capt. Josiah Wood’s company, which marched on the Lexington Alarm. He was born in Walpole, died in Worcester County, Mass. [married to Abigail Chapin 1748-1786]
William was the father of Jonathan Foster, who was the father of Jared Foster, who was my G3 grandfather.
While given the reminder in New Zealand this week, of the tragic reach of religious intolerance and hatred, those of us descended from religious refugees can bear the American promise in mind, and strenghten it, when we find it within our power to do so.
The Wilhite group featured here arrived when Virginia was a possession of the British empire, probably from the Baden-Wurttemberg region of Germany.
Christopher Columbus Gaither, son of Silas and Miranda [Marinda] Gaither was born May 4, 1858, near Thompsonville, Illinois, and departed this life March 23 , in the Moore hospital in Benton, Illinois, at the age of 86 years and 10 months and 19 days.
He was united in marriage to Isabelle Adams Plasters, now deceased, in 1877 . To this union were born two children, Mrs. Dora McCollum, Akin, Illinois, Mrs. Effie Summers, Benton, Illinois.
In 1883, he was united in marriage to Mary J. Summers, also deceased. To this union were born 11 children, seven boys and four girls, namely, Millard, Portland, Oregon; Carter, Enumclaw, Washington; Ernest, Decatur, Illinois; Silas and Riley, Thompsonville, Illinois; Roy and Hobert, deceased; Mayme Burg, Sacramento, California; Fannie Brinker, Hot Springs, Arkansas; Mila Ramsey, Mt. Vernon, Illinois, and Marie, deceased.
In 1934, he was united in marriage to Florence Aiken.
He spent his entire life in Franklin County, being a farmer until his retirement, when he moved to Akin, where he has lived for a number of years.
He will be sadly missed by his many friends and neighbors. He leaves to mourn his passing eight children, 26 grandchildren, 38 great-grandchildren, two great-great-grandchildren, one brother, Matthew Ing of Michigan, one sister, Paralee Summers, of Thompsonville.
He would not want the ones he loved
To grieve for him today
We must not say that he is dead
For he is just away
Away upon a journey
To a land that’s bright and fair
And though we will miss him here
We know he’s happy there
And memories will bring
New comforts every day
As we recall he’s not dead
But just away
Card of Thanks
We sincerely wish to thank our many friends and neighbors for their assistance during the death of our dear father, Columbus Gaither. We especially wish to thank those that gave the floral offerings and the Drake Funeral Home and Rev. C. C. Mitchell for his words of comfort—The Gaither Children.
Columbus Gaither’s death certificate lists the cause of death as accident; he was struck by a car while walking down the road near his home. The driver was a Summers, and may have been one of his relatives.
The standing figure on the far right is my great-grandfather, Frank Ramsey, born 1886, died 1974, probably a teenager in this picture, which may date to around 1901. I saw a fair amount of my Great-Grandpa Ramsey in my childhood. And a rare thing in the 1960s, to have living great-grandparents. — SF