Friday, July 3, 2009

Dolly and Dixie

When I was six years old, i.e. in 1946, our family moved from uncle Alvin's place to the Alexander Farm which was south of Trenton Missouri. My dad was a share cropper. That is my Dad farmed the land and shared the profits with Mr. Alexander who also was the president of the bank in Trenton. We had six or eight dairy cows which my brothers and I had to help feed and milk as chores each evening. My dad also raised beef cattle, pigs and chickens. And for crops my dad raised corn, soy beans and grew hay for the cattle. So we also had other chores to do each evening such as feeding the calves, pigs, and chickens, and gathering eggs. I'll try to write a few stories about life on the Alexander farm, but this story is about Dolly and Dixie.

In the beginning, Dad could not afford a tractor, so he bought a team of young horses. They were named Dolly and Dixie. I think that they were sisters with Dixie being a year or two younger than Dolly. Dolly was bigger than Dixie and a light grey, and Dixie was a darker grey with mottled black spots on her back. In a very short time, they became a very well trained team. When my dad was picking corn, no one would be in the wagon, the horses would be lined up along side the row of corn to be picked and my dad would just say giddy-up and whoa when he wanted the wagon moved ahead a few feet while he was on the ground picking the ears of corn and tossing them into the wagon. The horses would obey his voice commands. To pick corn by hand, a man would wear a leather strap on his hand that had a metal hook in the palm of the hand that would quickly remove the ear of corn from the husk in one motion and with the other hand; he would toss the ear of corn into the wagon. A good corn picker could move along a row at a walking pace and pick every ear of corn. Not as fast as a mechanical harvesting machine, but surprisingly fast.

In any case after a few years, Dolly developed a bad habit. In the evening, Dad would un-harness the horses and put them into their stalls in the barn. In the front of each stall was a large wooden trough in which hay would be placed for the horses. It ran the length of the barn. Well Dolly got into the habit of pushing on the boards in the front of her stall until they fell off and then she would walk into the hay trough area. That way, she could get to the hay in front of the other stalls. Unfortunately she had to turn left or right to fit into the trough and then she could not get out once she got into the trough area. The only way to get her out was to remove more boards to the trough to get enough room for her to get out. The boards then had to be nailed back in to place to get the stalls and feeding trough back to where it should be. That was a lot of extra work and wasted time. In any case, my Dad got so angry after this happened several times that he made a fist with his right hand and hit Dolly in the head right between the eyes. Well horses have very thick skulls so I don’t think Dolly felt much pain, but my Dad came running out of the barn holding his hand and yelling #!@%*<& in pain. He had broken his hand hitting Dolly in the head, and it was corn picking season when that happened. So my Dad had to hire another man to help him get his corn picked that year.

Later on my father bought a tractor and Dolly and Dixie did not need to work as much, but they were a good team. One night there was a terrible storm and Dixie and Dolly were out in a pasture. The next day, my dad found Dolly tangled up in the pasture fence and badly cut from the barbed wire that ran along the top of the fence. Evidently the thunder or lightning had spooked her into running into the fence. Dolly was so badly injured that she had to be destroyed.

After that Dixie was a lost sole. I think that my Dad sold her, but don’t really remember. It was sad that she really could not function as a member of another team. I’ll have to ask my Dad about what happened to Dixie after Dolly passed away.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The following is a short biograph of Henry Eugene Moore who was my Great Great Grand Father

Henry Eugene Moore
(June 2, 1840 - August 27, 1911)

Henry Eugene Moore was born on June 2, 1840 in Michigan. He died on August 27, 1911 at the age of 71 in Lock Springs, Missouri. His death certificate listed his occupation as Hotel Keeper and cause of death as “killed from a fall”. His death certificate also states that his father’s name was John Moore who was born in Ohio, and his mother’s maiden name was Rebeka Nerwis or Nerwin (It is difficult to read the hand writing on the Death Certificate). She also was born in Ohio. It lists his 2nd wife’s name as Leah Moore.

Henry married his second wife, Leah Mary McKracken , who was born in Pennsylvania. Her Father was James McKracken and her mother’s maiden name was Martha Stewart also from Pennsylvania. The 1910 census of Lock Springs lists their house hold as Homer E. Moore (age 27), William P. Moore (age 20), Bulah S. Moore (age 15), Mabel F. Moore (age 27 – daughter in law – probably Homer’s wife), and Irene B. Ferguson (age 55). Evidently they all worked in the hotel.

Henry’s nick name was “Doc”. I don’t think that my Dad or anyone knew how he got that name. My dad did say that Doc owned a saloon and lived upstairs above the saloon. Evidently his living quarters had a balcony or porch over the entrance to the saloon. Pretty much like you might see in a western movie. Supposedly, Doc fell off the balcony one night and died. The speculation was that he may have been drinking and that might have led to the fall. However, the death certificate just states that he was a hotel keeper. It doesn’t say he was a saloon keeper, and it doesn’t say that he fell from a balcony. So who knows the real story?

I tried to find information on John Moore. I did find the 1850 census of the town of Marengo Michigan that shows John Moore (age 41 – born 1809) with his wife Betsy (age 35 born 1815), daughter Lydia (age 12 born 1838), son Henry E. (age 9, born 1840), daughter Elaine (age 4 born 1846), and Lydia Moore (age 70 born 1780). Perhaps Lydia Moore was John Moore’s mother. John Moore was listed as a farmer in the census. Ohio became a state in the union in February 1803, so it appears that John Moore was born in the Ohio approximately 6 years after it achieved state hood.

Henry Moore enlisted as a private in the 5th Michigan Calvary Company C from September 20, 1862 until July 3, 1865 and fought in the Civil War. He is listed as age 19 upon enlistment from Marengo Michigan. His length of service is listed as 2 years, 9 months and 14 days. He received a pension which may mean that he was wounded in the war. He was 21 when he entered the military and was 24 when he left.

The 5th Michican Calavary was organized at Detroit in Aug. 1862, leaving the State on December 4th with 1,144 officers and men. Proceeding directly to Washington it joined the Michigan Brigade, then being formed, composed of the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Michigan Cavalry, to which the First Michigan Cavalry was subsequently added. General Custer assumed command of the brigade while on its march to Gettysburg, where it had its first opportunity to distinguish itself under fire. The brigade sustained the heaviest loss at Gettysburg of any cavalry brigade in that battle. The Fifth was commanded there by Colonel Alger, who had served previously as a Major in the Second Michigan Cavalry, from which he was promoted to the Lieutenant-Colonelcy of the Sixth, and thence to the Colonelcy of the Fifth; he was one of the ablest cavalry officers in the Army. The loss of the Fifth at Gettysburg was 8 killed, 30 wounded, and 18 missing; Major Noah H. Ferry was killed there. At Hawes's Shop, out of 151 engaged, 55 were killed or wounded. The regiment met its heaviest loss in the cavalry affair at Trevilian Station, where in addition to the killed and wounded 136 Were taken prisoners,— the regiment having charged too far through an opening in the enemy's line, and being cut off from the brigade it was obliged to cut its way out.

The 5th Michigan Calvary was formed with 1909 men and was in the following battles during the Civil War:
  • Hanover
  • Gettysburg
  • Falling Waters or Hoke's Run
  • Williamsport
  • Mine Run
  • Wilderness
  • Todd's Tavern
  • Yellow Tavern
  • Haw’s Shop
  • Snicker's Gap
  • Deep Bottom
  • Opequon
  • Trevilian Station
  • Dinwiddie Court House
  • Five Forks
  • Appomattox Station
  • Appomattox Court House

Their losses during the Civil War were

  • Killed & Mortally Wounded
    Officers 6
    Men 135
  • Died of Disease
    Officers 3
    Men 322
The officers were:

Alger, Russell A. Colonel
Clark, John E. Major
Copeland, Joseph T. Colonel
Dake, Crawley P. Major
Ferry, Noah H. Major
Gould, Ebenezer Lieutenant Colonel
Hastings, Smith H. Colonel
Hickey, Myron Major
Lee, Edward M. Lieutenant Colonel
Mann, William D. Lieutenant Colonel
Norvell, Freeman Major, Colonel
Purdey, Stephen P. Major
Trowbridge, Luther S. Major
Wallace, Robert C. Major

It appears that after the war, Henry went back to Michigan and married Elisa Jane Cyphers if he wasn't married before joining the 5th Michigan Calvary.

I believe the photo below is a picture of Henry Moore with his 1st wife, Elisa Jane Moore who was born Elisa Jane Cyphers. The Cyphers family moved from Michigan to Missouri by covered wagon and Henry and his wife Elisa went with them. I think that they had two children at the time. The story is that Elisa died on the trip from Michigan to Missouri and was buried in a along the way in a farmer’s family cemetery lot. Henry left the children with his father in law and mother in law to raise in Grundy County Missouri, and he moved on to Lock Springs Missouri to make his fortune. I don’t know the age of the children at the time, but evidently he was not in a position to raise them.

Henry evidently moved on to Lock Springs Missouri and married Leah Mary McKraken and started a second family their that we really don’t know much about, only the names in the 1910 Lock Springs census.

My father says that our Moore family is descended from the children that Henry Moore left with the Cyphers family to raise. One of Henry Moore’s children with his first wife Eliza was Franklin Moore also known as Dan. He was my great grand father. I will try to write about him including his picture in a later blog.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Vacation in Japan

We arrived in Akita Japan on August 3rd to visit Jeffrey and to tour parts of Japan. We flew into Narita Airport and took a train to Tokyo main station and then a Sinkasen (bullet) train to Akita arriving after 11:00 p.m.

Below is a picture of Jeffrey's apartment building taken on the 4th of August.

And here is Jeffrey with Gavin and Judi in front of the apartment building.

This is a picture of Jeff's living room. He has a TV with video games. What more could a young man wish for.

Also, below is a picture of Jeff's bedroom. As you can see, a Japanese style bedroom consists of a Tatami Mat floor with futons to sleep on. We slept on the floor at all of the places we stayed at in Japan. The Tatami mat floors are actually softer than conventional wood floors and breath to keep down the possibility of mildew or other effects on the bedding.

Below is a picture of the High School where Jeffrey teaches English. It was taken from his apartment window. So you can see, he just has a short stroll to go to school each day.

And here is Jeffrey with Judi and Gavin in front of the school.

And here is Jeffrey in one of the class rooms. We met some of the school staff who were working even though school is out for the summer. One of the people we met was the school Principal, Mr. Susumu Yoneta. Unfortunately, I did not think to get his picture with the other staff members.

The evening of the 4th, we went into down town Akita to watch the Kanto (Lantern) Festival which is a Festival that involves different groups marching through the street with lanterns hung on bamboo poles. Below is Jeffrey and his girlfriend, Caito who is also a Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) teacher in the Akita Prefecture, standing at the local rail way station with two Japanese girls. As you can see, they dressed in traditional Japanese dress for the occasion.

The lantern festival appears to be a competition to see which group can assemble, erect and carry/balance the lantern arrangements consisting of up to 46 lanterns and stay within certain areas on the street. Somehow, the festival is linked to a wish for a great rice harvest, i.e. a sort of Shinto prayer. On the way to the festival, we saw the two characters below in the train station. Supposedly the Akita people warn their children to be good or these characters will steal them away.

We joined a JET group at the festival for dinner before going down stairs to view the parade / festival activities.

You can get a feel for the size of the lantern arrangements from the picture below. There are literally dozens, if not hundreds of these arrangements with a team of people taking turns carrying the lantern arrangement by balancing them on their hands, shoulders, forehead, or hips. The action is supported by loud Japanese drums and chanting of encouragement that accompany each team. Some of the arrangements can be up to 12 meters high and weigh up to 50 Kg (~ 110 lbs) with 46 lanterns. It takes a lot of strength and agility to balance and carry such an arrangement.

In the picture below, you can see one of the accompany drum sets behind the lantern arrangement.

Jeffrey had a turn at a smaller arrangement and tried to balance it on his shoulders.

Gavin is showing how the arrangement can be balanced on ones hands.

On the 5th of August, we visited the castle ruins at Akita. You see Caito, Jeff, Gavin and Judi standing in the door to the castle grounds.

There is a small museum on the castle grounds with armour. swords and other materials for Samurai warriors.

As with most castles, it was located on high ground with a surrounding moat to make it more easy to defend. The picture below shows the city of Akita in the lower ground.

On the evening of August 5th, we joined a small group of Akita high school teachers (Yoko in green and Yoki in black) as well as the school nurse in spotted dress( whose name I don't remember) for dinner at a sushi restaurant. Yoko had spent some time in the United States up in Monterray California and is Jeff's supervisor at the High School. The sushi was actually quite good. I like the tuna shushi best.

On August 6th, we left Akita and traveled by Sinkansen train back through Tokyo to Kyoto. That is a fairly long trip, i.e. about 6 hours if I remember correctly. Below is a picture of a Sinkansen train unit as it was pulling into Kyoto station. We purchased Japan Rail (JR) passes before our trip. The passes are for tourists and provide unlimited travel between cities at a fixed price given period of time. Our passes were for 14 days and definitely saved money over paying the local Japanese rate.

In Kyoto, we stayed at a Japanese Inn (Ryokan). That ment small rooms and sleeping on futons on Tatamie floors. We stayed at the Ryokan below for 4 nights. Its name was written in Kanji or some other script, and I can't read its name. All I know is that the rate was reasonable (Y48,000 Yen or less than $120 per night for four of us) and I could pay by credit card

In Kyoto, we road by subway and bus to see several Shinto Shrines and Buddhist Temples. I believe the picture below is of the Heian Shrine in Kyoto. The shrines all have an entry gate with posts on either side and cross beams at the top Inside the gate is a compound is a courtyard sorrounded by other buildings and at the back is a building with a place to place offerings (money) and to clap ones hands twice, and/or pull a rope that causes a clapping sound to get the God of that schrine's attention before making a prayer. Also, in front is a water place with dippers to cleanse ones hands and mouth before entering the Shrine grounds. Most Japanse follow both Shinto and Buddhist religions. Shintoism seems to be concerned with how one leads ones life on earth (being clean / pure) and Buddhism has to do with existence after death.

We also visited Nijo-jo Castle in Kyoto that wis built in 1603 and was the official Kyoto residence of the first Tokugawa Shogun, Ieyasu. At one time, the Shoguns controlled Japan and only returned control of Japan to the Emperor in the 1800s.

The castle actually had a moat around the outer circumference and an inner moat. In this picture, Jeffrey and Judi are standing on the road passing over the moat. I may add a picture or two of the moats later on.

One of the streets in Kyoto had a pottery festival. The word festival seems to be used a lot in Japan for almost any occassion. But the pottery festival seemed to be where people and businesses broght their pottery (mostly dishes) out to booths out on the street for display together with food stands. Below you see Judi and Jeffrey talking to one of the ladies at one of the stands. The only thing we bought were a couple of porceline dolphins and some food. With all the walking, we were always hungry and thirsty.

One of the highlites of our time in Kyoto was a Johnny Hillwalker's Johnny Kyoto (Hajime Hirooka) walking tour of Kyoto. It included fan shops (houses where fans are made and sold). Below you see a picture of a man on his knees at a low table glueing the sticks on a fan. It may be something his father did and passed down to him and it may be passed on to his children as a trade.

I will try to add additonal pictures of Johnny and his tour later on.

On August 8th, we traveled to Nara for a day and returned back to Kyoto that night. Nara was also a place of parks, shrines, temples, and museums. In the park a Nara, there were a lot of Japanese deer. They are very tame since tourists feed them. Below you can see Jeffrey has bought some deer food (biscuits of a sort) from a vendor to feed the deer.

And you can see Gavin entertaining us by standing on posts in front of one of the shrines.

One of the Buddhist temples in Nara claimed to have the largest indoor Buddha statue in the work. Below are some pictures of that temple and the Buddha. Unfortunately, the light was not adequate to really see the Buddha.

In Nara, there is a massive Buddhist temple complex at the top of the hill surrounded by cemetary grounds all the way down to the city. Below is a picture of a part of the cemetary that we passed by on the way up to the Temple.

And below is a picture of Judi, Gavin and Jeffrey at the top where ther are several temple buildings. All crowded with tourists and worshipers (mostly Japanese).

On August 10th, we traveled back to Tokyo. I snapped a few pictures of the rice patties along the way. Most of Japan's flat land between cities looks to be planted in rice. I know we all ate a lot of rice while we were in Japan.

Back in Tokyo we stayed at another hotel (Ryokan) in a section of Tokyo called Asakusa. Our hotel is called the Asakusa Mikawaya hotel. We stayed at this hotel for five nights and traveled around Tokyo mostly by subway on the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th before returning home on the 15th. Below you can see a picture of our room. I think that it was not a regular guest room, but rather the hotel's entertainment room. They had a Karaoki machine in the room and the bathroom and shower were down the hall from this room.

Asakusa is one of the main tourists stops in Tokyo. Besides the Shinto Shrine and Buddhist temple, it has dozens if not hundreds of shops around the shrine selling tourist items such as fans, t-shirts, you name it. Below is a picture of a pagoda at the Temple.

While we were visiting the Temple, we were approached by a man and his daughter who asked if he could take a picture of his daughter with each of us and record our names and where we came from. This was a school assignment that his daughter had.

While we were in Tokyo, we took a one day bus tour of Tokyo called the Dynamic Tokyo Tour. One of the first stops was a visit to a garden with a tea house to witness a tea ceremony. At the garden, we walked along a path to the tea house that had bonzai trees, some of which were over 500 years old. Below is a picture of me with one of the bonzai specimans. I don't think that I will take up bonzai gardening as a hobby.

We had our picture taken at the entrance to the tea house with the two tea masters (ladies) who conducted the tea ceremony.

Also, the Tour included a visit to an entrance to the emperor's palace grounds. Below is a picture of us with a guard tower / building in the background.

A part of the Dynamic Tokyo tour also included a boat trip from down town Tokyo up to Asakusa. The boat we took is similar to this one tied up at the dock.

Here we are enjoying our boat tour.

Back in Asakusa, we saw several places for Rickashaw rides shuch as the one below.

Also, we ate all of our meals in restaurants. Most restaurants have displays of their dishes in the window such as shown below.

One evening in Tokyo, we visited the Ginza district to see a Kabuki performance. Photos are not allowed inside the theater, but the performance was very very interesting and entertaining. In Kabuki, all female parts are played by men and the movements are highly stylized.

Below is a second picture of the pagoda at the temple in Asakusa. Each pagoda has five tiers which represent the five elements (earth, water, fire, air/wind, space/void).

And a picture of the entrance to a Shinto shrine in Ueno which is another section of Tokyo where the university of Tokyo is located and where there is a zoo.

All of Tokyo is crowded. Below illustrates about how crowded it is just outside the subway station in Ueno.

But there are also a lot of parks with lakes and lots of water lilly's with lotus flowers such as shown in the photo below.

All and all, I would say our vacation to Japan was once in a life time, memorable, interesting, fun, and hot and humid experience. And, it was great to see Jeffrey after a year away from home and to meet his girl friend Caito. So for now, Sionara.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Michael's House

Early in 2008, Michael bought a house in Anaheim. It was a bank repossession and was a real fixer upper.

Michael, his Fiance Deanna, and Judi standing outside of the garage

The garage soon became the area for storage of tools, materials, food, etc. while the demonlition and refurbishment took place.

One of the first steps was to demolish a wall that separated the living room from the dining room and some of the other interior walls needed to be ripped out and replaced. You can see the demo pile in the living room.

Another picture of the demolishion rubbish before it was put into a dumpster and hauled away.

The kitchen was also in bad shape with many coats of paint on the cabinets and all of the hinges and hardware needing to be replaced.

A picture of the hall way leading from the living room and entrance to the back bedroom. The second smaller bedroom is too the left.

The house has two bedrooms and the smallest bedroom had a doorway into the garage that also needed to be walled in. Evidently the earlier residents had used the garage as part of the living area and therefore the door from the bedroom to the garage.

As you can see, the plumbing was also in bad shape.

The bathroom enclosures and fixtures also need replaced.

A picture of Mike cutting flooring pieces.

A picture of the hallway after the repainting and flooring installation.

A picture of the living room with all of the demolition material removed, repainted and with flooring installed.

Looking from the living room into the dining room and back yard where the wall between the living room and dining room were removed. As you can see, the back yard needs to be worked on, but that can wait until the house is finished.

Looking from the dining room into the kitchen with all of the cabinets stripped and repainted with new hardware.

A picture of the flooring for the entry way. As you can see, door framing still needs to be installed.

The master bedroom has the same flooring installed.