BRING SOME SUNSHINE WITH YOU


Welcome to my humble blog.  Come on in and bring some sunshine with you.  Please don’t go away without saying hello.  It gets lonely here when nobody comes to visit so please stay for just a few minutes.  Even if you don’t find anything that interests you, go to leave a comment at the bottom of this message and tell me that you were here.  It won’t cost you a dime but it will warm an old man’s heart.  Thank you for being so kind.  If you would like me to return your visit, leave the link to your site.

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A STORY OF PILGRIMS 4


So they had escaped the heavy hand of church and government and were, at last, free to shape their own destiny but winter was nearly upon them. The thing to do now was to pick a spot for a settlement and get housing and shelter built without delay. But they did not. Saturdays were spent in preparing for Sunday services and, of course, all day Sunday was spent in worship. The remaining five days of the week they mostly wandered along the cape without any real purpose. They discovered and robbed several sites where Indians had buried their stores of corn. They didn’t waste the corn, they saved it to plant in the spring, but they gave little thought to the hardship their theft might place on the Indians. When eventually they did get around to finding some possible settlement sites they wasted several more days arguing over which site to use. It was not until December 25th that they finally got to the task of building shelters against the winter that was now already upon them. If captain Jones had not taken pity on them and kept the Mayflower standing by for their use most likely none of these Pilgrims would have lived to see green grass again. The site they chose was across the bay from Cape Cod, on the mainland, and has since been known as Plymouth.

Mayflower

 

No pictures or paintings were ever found of the Mayflower but specifications indicated that it may have looked something like this.

It wasn’t until March 21st that the last of them left the Mayflower and took up residence in the brand new town. But there were no joyous celebrations. Not because of the conservative nature of the Pilgrims but because a deadly sickness had descended upon them. Part of the time there were not enough able-bodied among them to care for the sick. Death eventually took half of them and half of the ship’s crew, too. Among those who did not survive this”infectious fever” of 1621 were Edward Fuller and his wife, Ann. Their son, Samuel, was then taken in and raised by Edward’s brother, Samuel. Now it is time to take a look at this little group of people and see what made them such famous figures in history. By now, it is quite plain that they were not wealthy or politically powerful. Neither were they particularly clever or physically adept. In fact, they made practically no progress until a second ship brought tradesmen and laborers. Many people mistakenly think the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock were the first settlers but they actually missed that title by 100 years. Spaniards had established colonies in the south a century earlier that were successful and vigorous by 1620. Younger Dutch and English colonies were also doing well in the area of Virginia. So, if they weren’t first and they weren’t best, why do they stand so tall in history? One reason is that several of them were educated and quite capable writers. They left abundant records and publications which made it easy and inviting for historians to write about them. Another reason, and a good one, is that they were first in one thing; establishing a colony without the approval or help of their homeland government. This, in turn, led to their successors being pioneers in the struggle that made the United States of America a free and independent nation. One last note on the Pilgrims, they did not dress in the precise black and white costumes with large buckles on their shoes as they are so often pictured. This style of dress was often worn by Puritans but not by Pilgrims. Rather than being a specific organization, the Pilgrims were just an odd assortment of people from various walks of life but with a common goal. Therefore, their style of dress was probably as varied as their backgrounds.

Excerpted from “Wool Trompers” by J. L. Fuller

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A STORY OF PILGRIMS 3


By this time there were already colonies established in America but, since they were “crown colonies” under the harsh rule of England, the Pilgrims had no desire to join one of them or even be near one. This caused them considerable difficulty in getting a charter from the kingdom and financial assistance. They overcame this difficulty by soliciting financial aid from private investors and by a little deception in dealing with the government. And so, early in the year of 1620, plans were taking shape for part of the Green Gate congregation to join another group in England and, from there, set sail for America.
In Leyden, Dr. Samuel Fuller and others pooled their money and bought a ship named Speedwell and hired Captain Reynolds to pilot her. Extensive repairs were made and larger masts were fitted, which later proved to be a mistake. Late in July they sailed from Delft Haven and were on their way to Southampton in England. This was a sad departure for many because they were leaving behind friends and, some of them, even families that they might never see again. The Speedwell proved to be unstable and awkward on the sea but sailed without mishap to Southampton where the Mayflower lay waiting at anchor. The Mayflower, at 180 tons, was three times the size of Speedwell. The Pilgrims had indeed chartered a fine ship which proved to be fortunate for them.
It was already disturbingly late in the season when, on the fifth of August, Captain Christopher Jones put the Mayflower out to sea with the Speedwell following close behind. At last, after months of struggle and frustration, they were on the way to a new and free land! But their excitement was soon crushed when, after only a few days at sea, the Speedwell was leaking so badly that both ships turned back. After nearly two weeks of repair work at Dartmouth, they were once more sailing westward. This time they were more than 300 miles out when the Speedwell again was taking on water at a dangerous rate. There was nothing to do but turn back again; this time putting in at Plymouth. This time it was decided that the larger masts which had been fitted to the Speedwell at Delft Haven were too large for the ship and were pulling it apart. Further delay was out of the question by this time and there was no choice but to abandon the Speedwell and proceed with the Mayflower alone. Of course, there wasn’t room on the Mayflower for everyone so some had to stay behind. At this point, some of them were eager to stay. Finally, on September 6, 1620 the Mayflower sailed away to the west with 102 passengers on board. Two of Robert Fuller’s children rode the decks of this history making ship as well as one of his grandchildren. They were Deacon/Doctor Samuel Fuller and Edward Fuller with his son, Samuel. Dr. Samuel had left behind his wife, Bridgett, who sailed to America three years later on the Anne or Little James.
This voyage should not be regarded as a pleasure cruise. Indeed, it must have been a very trying ordeal. Consider that shipboard sanitation facilities at that time were a bucket that, after being used, was carried to the rail and emptied into the ocean. Bathing was impossible because there was no fresh water for that purpose, and bathing with sea water leads to cracks and sores in the skin. Just imagine what conditions must have been on the lower decks after a couple of weeks of confinement without baths and most of the people seasick. Further into the voyage Atlantic storms struck and passengers were forced to stay below for days at a time with the ship constantly pitching and rolling. Two people died enroute, one a seaman from the ship’s crew and the other, Dr. Samuel Fuller’s servant. What a joy and relief it must have been to once again reach land after 66 days of these foul conditions and a diet of salt pork and hard bread. It was the eleventh day of November when the Mayflower dropped anchor off the tip of Cape Cod. This is where the deception of the king and his court comes to light. The Pilgrims were to sail to the Virginia Colony and settle within the land grant. They blamed navigational error for the fact they came to shore so far north of Virginia, but there is little doubt that this had been their secret intention all along. After all, this was a brand new territory without anyone to force the rules of the king and church upon them.

Excerpted from “Wool Trompers” by J.L.Fuller

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A STORY OF PILGRIMS 2


A little farther north, along the Old North Road, into the county of Yorkshire, the little village of Scrooby sat on the bank of the River Ryton. At the age of nine or ten, William Brewster came to live at Scrooby. This was in 1575 when William’s father, also named William, was appointed overseer of Scrooby manor, a position that gave him a great deal of authority and considerable income. Consequently, the younger Brewster was provided a quite thorough education which very few people were fortunate enough to have in those times. In 1589 he returned to Scrooby and succeeded his father as overseer.
During these times, England was actually ruled by the Catholic Church. Oh yes, there was a king or queen on the throne, but most authority was delegated to church officers; and they ruled with a free and heavy hand. Local congregations had no voice in the choice of their ministers and were told exactly how they should worship. Failure to attend church regularly was severely punished, as was any attempt to form congregations outside the narrow confines of the Catholic Church. Guilt of these and such other infractions as unpaid taxes, public misbehavior and lack of patriotism was decided and sentences imposed with cruel and wanton indifference, at the whim of any and all officers of the church and state. People were thrown in prison, hanged and even burned at the stake for minor offenses. A desire for religious freedom was driving more and more people to take the risk of joining together in secret congregations separate from the strict and harsh Church of England. William Brewster was one of the many around Scrooby taking this risk. Much is known about Brewster during these times because he later wrote and published a complete account of his life. His writings left a record of the progression of life and events at Scrooby and there can be little doubt that it was the same elsewhere. People over in Norfolk County were joining together in secret congregations too and, there as in Scrooby, some were caught, some were fined, some were jailed and some were executed. In fear and desperation, they began to flee the country. Holland permitted religious freedom and accepted any honest and decent refugees. So, beginning in 1593, the first Pilgrims began fleeing to Amsterdam. Here they established an new church which was called the Ancient Brethren.
At least two of Robert Fuller’s children were among these Pilgrims. Edward and Samuel were in Holland although there seems to be no record of when they fled England. This is certainly not surprising since it was forbidden to leave England without permission; and permission was denied to religious separatists. So, of course, the Fullers and most other Pilgrims, slipped away as quietly as possible and tried to leave no evidence for anyone to follow. Some, like William Brewster, later wrote of these times and so left a record of the dates and events but apparently none of the Fullers did.
Beginning in Amsterdam, however, many records were kept and books were written and published. In fact, one of the main reasons that the Pilgrims came to be so famous was because some of them were quite literary and readily used the printing press to promote their cause and their fame. From these records, it is known that the Church of the Ancient Brethren was torn by bickering and scandal; and in 1609 Samuel Fuller was the leader of a group that left that congregation and moved to Leyden. Here they bought a building known as the Green Gate. Although they themselves never adopted a name for this congregation, it has since been known as the Green Gate Congregation. Samuel was the first deacon of this congregation and, for several years, the only deacon.


These were hard times for the Pilgrims at Green Gate. In the course of fleeing England and traveling overseas and overland to Leyden most of them had spent, or been robbed of, their money. In Leyden they found it difficult to find employment because they were not Dutch citizens. In addition to that, most of them were shopkeepers, innkeepers or tradesmen and not accustomed to common labor. Being poor meant that their diets were deficient and that they had to live in a poor section of town where sanitation was lacking. They lived a miserable existence for a time and death took its toll. In time, however, one by one and little by little, they began to recover from their destitution and some of them even accumulated some wealth. Green Gate was a congregation of high morals and efficient management. This group of Pilgrims was industrious and honest and won the respect, as well as acceptance, of the Dutch. By 1620 they were back on their feet and still enjoying the freedom to worship as they pleased.
But, regardless of the improved circumstances, an uneasiness had crept in and talk had begun of relocating. Even though they were doing well now and enjoying a good relationship with the Dutch, they began to worry about their little group blending in with the Dutch and eventually disappearing. This was a valid worry because there had already been intermarriages with the Dutch and the great difference in their numbers was sure to result in them being swallowed up in the Dutch population. Also, their children were constantly picking up Dutch customs and attitudes which were considered frivolous and unchristian by the Pilgrims. So, it was decided that a group of them should go to America right away and, after they had established a colony there, the rest would follow.

 

Excerpted from “Wool Trompers” by J.L.Fuller

 

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A STORY OF PILGRIMS (First installment)


I. Pilgrims

In times long past, when people were not so numerous and they all made their living from the land, surnames were not used or needed. Since people were few and scattered: and since seldom got far from home, there was a minimum of intermingling and so Robert, John or Martha was sufficient identification.

But, as time went by and certain people became more adept at certain tasks, specialists began to appear here and there who would exchange their specialty for the product or service of someone else. Thus, as populations slowly increased, these specialists tended to gather in central locations so as to be available to as many other people as possible and so villages began to develop. With this concentrating of population and people traveling from the countryside all around to trade in the village, contact with other families and strangers was greatly increased. So now Roberts, Johns and Martins from various families and areas bega to meet and mingle and there began to be a problem with identification. At least the rulers of some countries viewed it as a problem. After all, how could they be sure that everyone had paid their taxes unless everyone had a proper name? It was for this reason that rulers began to decree that every citizen have a permanently assigned proper name.

Different parts of the world solved this problem in different ways. In Scandinavian countries the usual way was to identify a man as the son of his father. Thus, a man named Oscar, whose father was Peter, would be known as Oscar, Peter’s son. In use this became Oscar Peterson. Eventually, this practice resulted in a whole lst of surnames such as Robertson, Johnson, Davidson, etc.
In other areas people were given surnames indicative of their place of birth; and in some areas it was the type of work they did. And in some places both of these were used. From birthplaces we got such names as North, Easton and DeGaulle. From occupations came Miller, Culler, Carpenter and many others.
In England surnames developed from both birthplaces and occupations but we probably have more occupational surnames from England than from anywhere else. One of the earliest industries in England was the production of wool and processing it into clothing. From this industry, quite naturally, came the names of Shearer and Weaver. A major step in the processing of wool is the cleaning. In those long ago times in England, the wool was cleaned in large vats of lye water and people were hired to tread and agitate the wool constantly. Obviously, these people originated the name of Walker. The wool was sometimes made into a fine, smooth felt by spreading it evenly and walking on it. This was called fullering and those who worked at it were Fullers. This was the origin of the Fuller surname. A type of clay that was sometimes embedded in the felt was known as fuller’s earth.
Early records in England show that early in the 16th century a family of Fullers lived in Redenhall parish in the county of Norfolk. Norfolk county is on the eastern shore of England, east and a little south of Nottingham and Sherwood forest. The parish records show that John Fuller died in 1559. His age at the time is not known but he was probably born around 1530. The absence of other information indicates that he was not a man of fame or power. He was probably a quiet, hard-working man who would have been amazed if he could have known of the bold and lasting marks his grandchildren were going to leave on the earth and in the life of mankind. John Fuller died in obscurity, as did his son, Robert. But the next generation, strong willed idealists, would eventually become some of the most famous people in history.

Excerpted from “WOOL TROMPERS” by J. L. Fuller (and more will be coming.)

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Dear Agnes 3


Dear Agnes,

When my brother went on an extended trip he asked me to take care of his cats and I agreed. The problem was that one of them was a maturing male and immediately began marking territory in my house. Everywhere in my house. He gave me permission to take the cat to a vet and have him neutered. I sent my brother a bill for the vet and for cleaning my carpet but he is refusing to pay because he says I assumed responsibility for any expenses when I agreed to keep the cats. Is he right or am I being nipped? It doesn’t seem fair to me.

Dear catnipped.

Tell your brother to cough up the money immediately or you will have the same thing done to him that the vet did to his cat.  Remind him that there are plenty of lawyers ready and eager to do the job.

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Dear Agnes 2


Dear Agnes,

I have a family reunion coming up in two weeks and I am badly confused about what to wear. I know some of the family dress like slobs so I definitely don’t want to dress to fit in with that crowd but I am afraid that if I dress too nice the others will think I am trying to make them look bad.  Please tell me what would be the best thing to wear. This problem has driven me out of my wits.

Dear Witless,

I would very strongly recommend clothes.

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Dear Agnes


Dear Agnes,

I hope you can help me with my problem before it completely destroys my life.  The problem is that every time I go to bed I start imagining that there are bad and dangerous people lurking under the bed. I know it can’t be true but the fear just grows and grows until it overwhelms me and I have to get out of the bed to keep from going crazy. Besides being totally worn out from lack of sleep I am nearly destitute from the expense of psychiatrists and remedies. Please, do you know anywhere that I can turn for help?  I am at my wits end.

 

Dear Wits End,

Stop throwing your money away on psychiatrists and go to the hardware store.  Buy yourself a saw and then go home and saw the legs off that bed. There ain’t no bad things going to be able to get under it when there are no legs on it.

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The Red Ants Pants music festival is here again!!!

July 24 thru 27 at White Sulphur Springs, Montana

See Charley Pride and a full slate of other performers in the great outdoors of one of the most beautiful valleys in the west.

For complete information go to   http://redantspantsmusicfestival.com/

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Grandma Was A Walker


Grandma believed in fitness,

There really is no doubt.

You could easily find a witness

Who saw her working out.

With sixty candles on the cake,

She had one thing to say.

These daily walks I will take,

At least five miles a day.

Through sun and rain and even snow,

Fifteen years have slipped away,

And now nobody seems to know,

Where Grandma is today.

 

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Gone But Not Forgotten


How can I be so busy
When I have so little to do?
I can build a chest of curly maple,
But not do blogging too.

When we took a holiday,
And went to the golden state.
Genealogy and home repairs
Simply had to wait.

Splitting kindling and shoveling snow
Should never take so long,
That I no longer find the time
To keep things where they belong.

Frequent posting on a blog
Seemed to be going nowhere.
So why should I keep it up
If nobody would notice or care?

So postings got farther apart
Until there were no more.
And nobody really cared,
Like I said before.

But then, to my surprise,
A message came one day
That simply asked the question,
Why have you gone away?

Now my thinking had to change
And turn around a bit.
For someone actually cared
And thought I shouldn’t quit.

So now, G.P., I offer thanks
For giving me a lift,
And putting me back on course
From where I’d been adrift.

But don’t expect too much
Or set your hopes any higher,
For the truth is very simple,
I am no ball of fire!

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