Saturday, June 8, 2013

Saturday Serendipity (June 8, 2013)

Saturdays often allow a more leisurely approach to life than work days. I can more easily post links to some blog posts or other materials I have discovered during the week, or even to those discovered during a Saturday morning coffee and extended surfing of the blogosphere/internet.

Here are a few serendipitous discoveries from this week that I commend for inclusion on your reading list.

1.  I have yet to meet a genealogy hobbyist or professional who does not also have more than the average general interest in history.  With this in mind, I want to highly recommend to those who are members of  SAR (Sons of the American Revolution), or who have access to The SAR Magazine, to be sure to read David McCormick's article titled "The Long Journey of John Paul Jones" in the just-released Spring 2013, Vol. 107, No 4.  Also read the accompanying side-bar piece by Bruce Wilcox, President General of SAR 2007 - 2008, titled "Return of a Hero."  It is an amazing tale complete with truly awesome photographs.  The teaser for you is that JPJ was born in Scotland, became an American hero in the Revolutionary War, was a Vice Admiral in the Russian Navy under Prince Grigory Potemkin at the invitation of Catherine the Great, died in Paris France on July 18, 1792, and came to his final resting place in a permanent crypt in the Cathedral of the Navy at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland -- in 1912! 

2.    Those Plymouth Colonists had their share of rascals, victims, and struggles to keep civil order and civility alive and well among neighbors.  You really should take the time to visit Bill West's blog, West in New England, to read the 1646 story about Samuel Eddy's dog in the June 4th post; then read the 1934 poem titled "An Elegy on the Death of Samuel Eddy's Dog" by Sam Eddy descendant William Holden Eddy.  Bill's ancestor John Dunham, Jr. was a rascal and a victim and through his travails we learn much in a small space about the Plymouth court system, civil fines and early approaches to encouraging changed behavior in Plymouth citizens.  A good read altogether!

3.  Did someone ask what a mule spinner is??  No not a "muleskinner," which many of us recall from the Twenty Mule Team Borax commercials that sponsored Death Valley Days on TV in the 1960s (Ronald Reagan was a host of the program for a year or two 1964 - 1965).  The muleskinner was one who drove mules (also known as a "muleteer").

20-mule team hauling borax out of Death Valley circa 1883 - 1889
A mule spinner was very different from a muleskinner.  A mule spinner was one who . . . well to find out the answer to this, you probably want to go to Wendy Grant Walter's blog, From A to Zophar.  Wendy does a great job of explaining -- complete with photos.

HINT:  Mule spinners were not found in the desert southwest and most probably never fed, harnessed or drove a mule in their lives; but they were found along the rivers of much of New England! 

4.  Edna died in 1983 and Harry died in 1986.  Who were Edna and Harry?  Go here to find out!  

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Photograph of the 20-mule team is in the public domain as the work of a National Park Service employee as part of his/her official duties.  See,    
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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  1. My pleasure Bill! I enjoyed the two posts and I hope others will visit your blog and enjoy them too.

  2. Thanks again for the mention, John - and I had forgotten all about the 20-mule team borax - a blast from the past!

  3. My pleasure Wendy! I enjoyed your post and could not resist the play off muleskinner. ;-)