Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman

Monday, January 23, 2017

Smiles in "True West Magazine"

Finally over the cold enough to get out a bit on my own. Second stop was Barnes & Noble so I could get extra copies of the current True West Magazine. 

I hang out there enough that many of the employees know be by name and when I went up to pay for three copies Chris commented that he had recently heard the publisher of True West is local. I was able to confirm the offices are in Cave Creek, Arizona, right on the main street. 

Of course, I then pointed out that I have a feature article in this (February) issue. 

He gave me a big smile and said something like, it's great to be a writer, but to be a published writer is even better. Yes it is. 
(Thanks, Chris.)

With around forty years experience as a genealogist I have often heard people ask about why our ancestors didn't smile. I've also heard comments during Old West events and in museums. There have been many theories over the years. 

I happened to notice a blog post by Bob Boze Bell, president of True West about those stern westerners. I commented that I happened to be working on an article about that issue and he put me "on assignment." 

It was a fun frolic through numerous web sites and a not so fun search through hundreds of photos looking for some that proved the "no smile rule" didn't always apply. 

After I submitted the article Bob blogged a few more times on the subject. Here are the links:



It has been an interesting article to write. 
I hope you all enjoy reading it too. 

I'd love to hear your comments.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thinking About Mom

Getting sick is no fun. I've had that cold that is touring the country for over a week now. I keep texting hubby to stop and get something different try for the sniffles, coughing, sore throat, etc. (Yes, I feel like a commercial,)

Of course, I got to thinking about my Mom. I was talking with a friend and we both have fond memories of our Moms caring for us when we were sick and the ever present jar of Vicks VapoRub. 

When I was young Mom was usually working two jobs so I don't have a lot of memories of her being there. It's just the way it was. I do remember her soothing touch with the VapoRub and especially her pot roast and potato soup. 

Which, reminds me of a funny story. When we were first married we were renting a great old rock house in south Phoenix. The only heat was a wall furnace in the living room and a fire place. We were both about as sick as I've ever been. Mom would call and ask if she could do anything and I requested her potato soup. When she brought it by she put it by the door, knocked, and backed off the porch. When I answered the door she was a good fifteen feet away, she didn't want that bug. That was the best potato soup I've ever had. We still talk about it. 

Anyway, I wonder how much healing was just from the gentle touch of our mothers when we were young. 

Here's a photo of my mom during that time. She was a dispatcher for the police/fire department. 

Today, besides the Vicks I'm diffusing essential oils like crazy. Young Living brand Thieves and Purification to clear the house and eucalyptus, RC, tea tree, lemon, and, and oregano for all the symptoms.

Yes, I love my essential oils but there is something about Vicks VapoRub and the memory of my mother's gentle touch.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Distant Cousins . . . Remember When

I've been corresponding with a distant cousin on my McFerran line for many years. A couple of weeks ago he put me in touch with another cousin who he thought knew something about my Wilburn line (Samuel Wilburn married Mary McFerran in 1866.)

Ken called me one evening and we talked for at least an hour. He once lived in "Old Man Wilburn's" house in Franklin County, Arkansas. He remembered his father sending rent checks to him in Kansas. I'm pretty sure that was my great grandfather, Thomas W. Wilburn. Thomas was born to Sam and Mary in 1868. He married Nancie Jane Reed in 1890 and they were in southwestern Kansas by 1930. Here's a photo of him and his wife. He died in 1944 and Nancie in 1946. In 1930 he was living on a farm in Meade County, Kansas with one of their sons.

Ken told me about the area where our ancestors settled and even knew where the old homesteads were. He said that if I ever made it to Arkansas he would take me out there. I would love to do that, but I kind of gave up on going there many years ago. 

I tried to ascertain exactly how we are related and it turns out he is descended from Mary McFerran Wilburn's brother, Thomas. 

That is Mary on the far right. Thomas is next to her and his wife is standing behind. The other two women are Mary and Tom's sisters. 

I didn't realize while we were talking I had a photo of his ancestor. Ken doesn't own a computer so I dug through the files and today I went and had copies made of the photos so I can mail them to him. 

I don't know if he will recognize the photo when he sees it, but I felt so excited that maybe I can share with him something from his past. 

Ken was once in law enforcement and while at a conference in Colorado met a man named McFerran from Ireland. He was told that if it was MacFerran it would be Scottish but our McFerrans are Irish. (My DNA test did show I am 96% from the British Isles.) He didn't get any specific information about where the man was from. Our earliest, probable, ancestor is John McFerran who died before 1776 in Virginia. Looks like I need to work on this line a bit. 

It was wonderful hearing Ken tell how no matter how the family went from town they had to cross a creek (no bridges) to get home. They lost a huge number of acres after the Civil War and there's just a small amount left in the family. 

He also confirmed a story I was told: After Samuel McFerran's first wife, Esther Kennedy, died he married Catherine Dunn. When the bushwackers went through Arkansas they were at the house and shoved her towards the fireplace. My family said she was shoved into the fire but he didn't know that, so I don't know if that might have been a bit of exaggeration. She was attacked and survived

An added bit of information is Sam Wilburn and Mary were supposed to be married when he joined the Confederate Army. She had the slave woman wrap her wedding dress in a piece of oilcloth and hide it in a hole in the tree so the bushwackers wouldn't get it. When he returned they were married. 

I can't wait to hear from Ken when he receives these pictures. What a joy to hear from very distant cousins. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Fairy Portals Hidden at Local Bookstore

Dog-Eared Pages Used Bookstore in northeast Phoenix is a magical place on a usual day. On first entering the nearly hidden location the reader is met with displays of books by local writers and the beginnings of the multitude of used and collectible books. 

Proprietors, Thom and Melanie, will go out of their way to help you find that special book on your list or direct you to the back where you will enter a maze of books of every description. 

During January there will be a different kind of magic through fairy portals and mini-story books by the creative team of Ann Videan and Cherie Scott. 

The art wall at DEP with the display of fairy portals and books. 

Cherie designs and creates the fairy portals and Ann writes a special story for the wee inhabitants. 
Ann is also the author of Song of the Ocarina about Lark, a New Zealand teen who learns she is the "Maestra" of the realm of Delfaerune, "the only Noble Fae with the musical prowess and Earth connection to save humans from Dark Fae magic." 

Ann also has a coloring and writing prompt book based on the magical fairly portals Cherie creates. 

Also available are colorful or color-able notecards and other gifts. 

On January 12 from 4:00 to 6:30 there will be an artist reception at Dog-Eared Pages with food, smiles, magic, and fun. Learn more and find a map in the links below. If you can't it make that day, stop by the store and join in the search for a wee fairy portal hidden somewhere midst the books. Take it to the front and receive a mini book about the wee fairy that lives within.

You will be enchanted. Hope to see you there!