Berkeley and Shirley

In introducing the new photos just uploaded, Amanda and I decided to take a trip a bit off the beaten path and stop at Berkeley and Shirley Plantations.  Both of them hold significance in the history of America.  Just because back then many of the noble families intermarried among each other there are numerous links to various known families.
Berkeley Plantation was also known as Harrison Landing.  It is here at Harrison Landing the ship landed in 1619 having come from England.  According to the dictates of those who sent them, when they reached the shore, they were to drop and give Thanksgiving for having made it safely.  It is also here at Berkeley that Bourbon Whiskey was first made by a Priest.  The other notable first for Berkeley is “Taps” was written there in about 1862.  It is named after Richard Berkeley.  After the Berkeley Hundred was abandoned after an Indian massacre the home was taken over by the Harrison Family in the 1630’s.  It was through this Harrison line that Benjamin Harrison was born, the signer of the Declaration of Independence.  He is buried in the graveyard.  Interesting to note, the first 10 Presidents of the United States were entertained and stayed at Berkeley Plantation.  It just happens the 9th President, William Henry Harrison, was born at Berkeley.  It was in the same room he was born that he wrote his inauguration speech.  The one in which he gave despite the weather to prove he was not too old to be President.  He caught cold and died about 30 days into his Presidency.  The shortest Presidency still, the first President to die in office, and he was for almost 150 years the oldest President to be elected to office.  It was his grandson, Benjamin Harrison, who would become our 23rd President (during whose term Idaho became a state).  During the Civil War McClellan camped 140,000 troops here.  During this time President Lincoln visited and entered the home.  It was in these camps ‘Taps” was written.  Anyhow, Berkeley was very interesting to visit.  It was a cold day so there were few visitors.  The lady selling tickets saw my Zion’s card in paying and asked where were were from.  She taught English for many years at Mountain View and has moved to Virginia, where she was born.  Small world isn’t it?
Shirley Plantation is not far up the road.  It is part of what was the Shirley Hundred.  It claims to be the oldest plantation in America (1622) and the oldest family owned business.  The Shirley’s who were given the Shirley Hundred were on their way to Virginia when Mr. Shirley died in the Azores on the way over.  The rest of the family went home not wanting to venture to the wilderness without him.  The property was sold and the Hill’s acquired.  After a generation or two the Hill’s had no male heirs so it went through the daughter who married a Carter.  It is through this Carter line Anne Carter was born, mother of Robert Edward Lee.  Robert was raised here, but he certainly spent a good deal of time there growing up and receiving some of his schooling in this house.  During the Civil War the Plantation became a place where the Union Troops placed their injured after the Malvern Hill battles.  Those at Shirley Plantation went out to tend and take care of the injured soldiers and earned the respect of General McClellan.  In return for their efforts he assigned soldiers to protect the home from being burned and pillaged as many other homes were during the Civil War.  Today, descendants of the Carter’s (and Hill’s) still live in the home making it the 11th or 12th generation.  That possibly of itself makes it the longest family owned home in America.
There was some definitely instructive and pleasing things learned at Berkeley and Shirley.  They were fascinating really.

Finally some time to read

Life is great. I have not any complaints in the world. I get off work at 4:30 in the afternoon. Just in time to pick up Amanda from school if I need
to. The tank of petrol in the car has already lasted over a week. The miles on the car don’t even seem to be adding. I love my job. I love what I am doing. I have a corner office. I am now promoted as of today. Life is looking pretty darn good to me. Now if I can just get hired on full time….Another highlight about all of this is that I have time for more personal things. The Lord has poured a veritable landslide on me in regards to family history. The past week alone has kept me swamped in trying to keep up with family history. The Sharp door has opened and fully unleashed some of its storehouse. I stumbled on the first pictures I have ever seen of my Great Grandparents, John William Ross (Jack) and his wife Ethel Sharp. I found links, contacts, even spoke with members of the family who personally knew them. Photos have come from left and right. On top of it all, I received about 50 documents, all original, of correspondence on the Andra/Wanner/Schneider line from Germany. They are all in the German so I have to find a translator, but I have not even started that pile.

The time has been wonderful. It is like the old story of the treasure hunter who was introduced to the cave of mountains of treasure. It all laid before him, and yet there was one clause to the entry. I could only take one thing. That is how I feel. Every moment of every day, there is only
one thing I can do, and i might never have the opportunity again. Great Aunt June to interview. I arranged for Dad and Grandpa to go down to
Victorville, California to visit with her. Grandpa has not seen his own sister for over 50 years. Her daughter is going to start interviewing her for me. She asked me to give her a list of questions I want asked. She should have asked for the host of questions I want to ask.

I finally have time to finish typing up my Great Grandmother’s journals (on my mother’s line) I have typed up another 3 months of her 1962, which has been very interesting. From earthquakes in Richmond and Salt Lake City to my mother losing her finger at Dr. Gibbons office in Lewiston, Utah. These journals are more valuable just to me than I could ever have imagined. Never would I have thought my family would have played so central to some of the stories that are unfolding.

Despite all that I am learning through what is being heaped upon me in family history is the rest of the time I have for personal things. I can
run two or three times a week if I choose. I don’t have the motivation up there just yet, but it is coming. But my passion, my favorite, the
opportunity to read.

I read Borah by McKenna about Senator William Edgar Borah. Who now ranks as my all time favorite politican of all time. Wheeler ranked up there, but there is something akin to godliness in Borah. Which is attested of what happened at his death. They held a funeral for him in the Senate Chamber, but nobody spoke. President Roosevelt opened the solemn assembly, and closed it. Nobody spoke because they believed there was nothing to say. This man had lived it. He was known to all, the whole country over. Europe, Germany, and Russia even paid their respects despite what was happening. He had a whole train dedicated and given to take him home to Idaho. He laid in state in Idaho and the stories of that. I wept at the end. It was as if my own friend had died. What a powerful man.

This week I also read Morris K Udall’s book, Too Funny to be President. Another great book. Another good man. It was interesting to read of him.
He reminded me so much of Cecil Andrus, and then when he talked of Andrus, I was honoured. The book was not so much about Udall as I would have liked, but I sure enjoyed the read. One of my favorites, “If Abraham Lincoln was alive today, he would be turning in his grave.”

I also read Mafia to Mormon today. That was a very interesting read. Not talking of great literature here, but I am glad I read it. The editor should be fired, but I enjoyed it.

So it is. I feel like I have a life that has been given to me. What is even better, I am making more money than slaving those long hours. Who could ask for more. What will life bring next?

Time to close for the night.

Thanksgiving

I know, I know, I have not been keeping this as up todate as I could.  Oh well, things are going very well.  I am enjoying life and have had a great refreshing break.  Just a few more weeks and then I am done and headed back to Utah for graduation, marriage, and happily ever after.
For Thanksgiving Break Anna Badger, Brad Hales, and Jeana Stuart all came to visit for the holiday.  It was great to have them here and I very much enjoyed their presence.  It was quite the adventure.  They arrived on last Friday and I took all of them back to the airport today for them to fly out.  I assume they made their flights and are all safely at home now.  With most of which I write, there will be photos to go along in the Thanksgiving Gallery.
In preparation for their coming, Genny in the office got them tours at the White House, Capitol, Library of Congress, National Cathedral, and the Bureau of Printing and Engraving.  They went and saw several other museums and various other things around Washington DC.  Last Friday night we went on a midnight visit of some of the monuments.  We went to the Jefferson, Lincoln, Washington, FDR, and other things around Washington.  I showed them the main buildings and gave them a sort of feel for the overall layout of the area.
Saturday we went to the Washington DC temple.  We also paid a little visit to Georgetown and went to Arlington National Cemetery.  Sunday we went to church and the Washington Memorial Masonic Lodge.  Monday through Wednesday they went on their tours.  Monday afternoon I met them at the Library of Congress and went on that tour with them.  It was amazing.  I really appreciated the beauty and time that obviously went into the building.  Very impressive building.  I took them back through the tunnels to Russell from the Library of Congress.  That was quite a bit of a walk through the house buildings, Capitol and back.  They enjoyed it.  Tuesday I gave them their tour of the Capitol and tried to sneak in some extra perks for them, however, with another couple on the tour we did not get to show as much as I could have.  Wednesday I got off work at noon and went and met them at the Museum of American History.  I enjoyed that.  I could have spent quite a bit more time there.  I enjoyed the science aspect, nuclear, transportation, First Lady, and Presidential exhibits.  I could have spent a few more hours in the building.  I will have to pay them another visit.  There are a few museums I still have not seen.  I want to see the Native American, Modern Art, Printing and Engraving, and spy museum.  Sometime I will have to pay them a visit.  I suppose there is always a time in the future.
Thanksgiving was great.  We enjoyed a trip to Mt. Vernon and had a great time.  You can see the pictures from that adventure.  Yesterday we trekked to Monticello and Montpelier, but due to circumstances and preference, we did not get into either.  At one it was “too cold” and the other we were “too late” so what was to be done.  However, I stumbled on another little town I would love to move to some day and spend the rest of my life.  Orange, Virginia, an amazingly beautiful little town.  There are a few of them in my life.  Ashland, Kansas; Blair, Nebraska; Quray, Colorado; and now Orange, Virginia.  It was amazingly beautiful.  I hope some day I can organized a piece of property into something so magnificent so as to add to the community to which I belong.  We all loved the beautiful well kept estates that lined the roads.  Orange was particularly beautiful.
We all come to understand each other a little more, we come to see and understand our weaknesses and strengths a little more, and hopefully we will have learned from our close interactions.  I sure enjoyed their company and the opportunity to entertain guests.  More importantly, it gave a little more initiative to get out and see some of what I am surrounded by.