November 2009

28 Nov 2009 02:47 pm


My maternal great grandparents and their children. William Chase Whitmarsh and his wife, Jemima Haseltine Stiles had four children together and each had one child from their first marriage. My grandmother, Hazel Alabama is on the left by her father.


My maternal great great grandparents and their children and grandchildren. William Leonard Webster, a confederate veteran of the Civil War and his wife, Nancy Ann Pearson settled in Paris, Arkansas and built houses for each one of their children when they married. Nancy Ann was known for nursing ill children back to health. She favored feeding them sweet potatoes. The Websters adopted a native American boy. My grandfather, Guy Smith Webster is standing on the right with his arms folded. His father, Albert Webster is standing behind him.


My great grandfather, William Chase Whitmarsh’s first wife, Lucy Taylor Whitmarsh. Lucy and William had one son. Lucy was the niece of President Zachary Taylor and inherited the silver tea service that was in the Taylor White House. The son, Toors Whitmarsh and his wife were childless and gave the silver tea service to my great Aunt Ivy.


My maternal great great grandmother, Elizabeth Ann Wright Whitmarsh, the mother of William Chase Whitmarsh. Elizabeth was from New England, born in Milford,New Hampshire in 1823. Amazing that we have a photo of her.

Why have I posted all these photos of my ancestors?

Because I can.


My mother has always let me go through my grandmother’s trunk. It’s full of photos, letters, memorabilia, and family history. This time, however, she let me take the contents home with me. I’ve been scanning photos, reading letters and learning about my ancestors, how they lived, what they thought of then current events and what they valued. My heritage is very much all American. I have ancestors from New England who were here in 1630 on both my father and mother’s side and I also have ancestors who were colonists in Virginia. We are Dutch, Irish, English, French Huguenots and Scottish.


But we also have a native American heritage.

This is a photo of my great great grandmother, Mary (Polly) Miranda Mabry Stiles. She was born in Alabama September 6th, 1836 and died in Fort Smith, Arkansas at the age of 93, July 25, 1930. According to the obituary in the newspaper she was one of the oldest residents in Fort Smith at the time. Polly married Joseph Lafayette Stiles in Alabama. Her father, Parham Poole Mabry was from a family of Virginia colonists. He was born in Fairfield County, South Carolina September 25,1795.

Polly’s mother, Nancy Caroline Payne was the daughter of Mathew Payne and Amelia (Millie) Cooper. Mathew Payne was born in Pennsylvania, fought in the Revolution, was wounded in the shoulder and lost an eye from a British saber thrust in the Battle of Brandywine. He was at Yorktown when the British surrendered. He married Amelia Cooper in Tenn. and then settled in Ala. in Madison Co., when it was just beginning to be settled by the frontier people in the late 1700’s or early 1800’s.

He fought in the Creek war of 1814, and interestingly, he was in the spy company led by a man named Coffee. (Again, I think of the Indian link. Who spied on the Indians? Other Indians.) In this battle he was shot in the hip and left for dead. He recovered, however, and lived to be around 90.

By 1811 Matthew Payne and family were residents of Madison County, Missisippi Territory (now Alabama), where court records indicate he was active in land speculation, traffic in furs, hides, and frontier commodities, often in partnership with his son, John B. Payne.

According to an affidavit on file in the National Archives, executed by him November 7, 1850, at Lawrence County, Alabama, he volunteered in the War with the Creek Nation of Indians in 1813 in the regiment commanded by Colonel John Coffee. He was in Captain Russell’s Company, one of General Andrew Jackson’s spy companies, and was mustered into service at Fort Williams on the Coosa River a short time before the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.

He stated that he had “followed the Army from home with his son John B. Payne (now dead) and upon catching up with it, at Fort Williams, he found Gen. Jackson there in command, who was his neighbor and friend at home and that gallant and distinguished soldier, knowing affiant’s qualities as an experienced woodsman, frontierman, and Indian fighter, pressed him to enlist in Captain Russell’s Company of Volunteers, who acted as Spies, and affiant did so, and continued in actual service in the War with the Creek Nation of Indians until the Battle of the Horse Shoe (Horseshoe Bend) on the Tallapoosa River, on the 27th March 1813 (March 27, 1814) in which battle affiant was left among the wounded at Fort Williams where he remained unable to be moved for about forty days, afterwards he was carried to Fort Strother, and thence home, an invalid for life……

Affiant was left at Fort Williams by General Jackson’s order with his son, John B. Payne to attend on him, where it was expected he would have died in consequence of his wound….”

I went on the search for information about the War of 1812. What I found was this:
Mathew PAYNE
Initial Rank: 2 LIEUTENANT
Final Rank: 2 LIEUTENANT

28 Nov 2009 12:18 pm


Art by Laura Lee Donoho

It’s a quiet morning. Nothing is on the schedule today. There are leftovers in the fridge, enough for a week. Peach praline pie and coffee for breakfast. Almost everyone was together for Thanksgiving and the weather was beautiful.

It was a blessing just to watch everyone sitting together or spread out around my brother’s house sharing stories and food. My husband pronounced my Thanksgiving dressing as being as good or better than his grandmother, Mama Wera’s. I’ve been striving for that declaration for twenty years. The dressing was popular and none is left. My son called me yesterday asking me about my recipe. He made some more dressing yesterday.

My sister-in-law, the perennial hostess of our Thanksgiving dinner, is known for her beautiful aprons and Thanksgiving decorations and she didn’t fail to please again this year.

New Thanksgiving cooks made their debut this Thanksgiving; both of my daughters made something delectable. One made cranberry sauce from scratch and the other has perfected her sweet potatoes.

I noticed big smiles on my brother and sister-in-law’s faces when they were talking about or holding their grandchildren. It was a blessing to have my father and mother at the table, gracing us with their presence and funny comments.

No one watched the news on Thanksgiving Day. The roads were very quiet. It seems that most people in our city had somewhere to go to share the bounty of our land.

Thursday night we enjoyed more of the feast and watched our grandchildren in their various states of growth, crawling, walking around shutting doors and running and jumping through the room. Tears came to my eyes while watching my six year old grandson sing Hey Jude along with Paul McCartney in concert.

My Dad told me that he had written a new song.

Only a few of us had plans for Black Friday. My youngest daughter and I decided to go on a search for pine cones instead. The tree is in the house and will be decorated tonight.

My daughter-in-law’s favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, she abhors the rush of Christmas crowding out the celebration of the last Thursday in November. I am beginning to understand what she means.

26 Nov 2009 07:54 pm


Just like it was in the time of the pilgrims and the native Americans, in order to get a turkey, one had to go hunting for it. Then, they had to prepare it and bake it.

This photo, found in my grandmother’s trunk, is of my great Uncle Clint and the turkey he shot for turkey dinner.

25 Nov 2009 07:10 pm

Here is the Thanksgiving menu for the battleship, the U.S.S. Minnesota in 1907. My great great Uncle Fred T. Whitmarsh served on it and I found it in my grandmother’s trunk.



Click on the photo to read the menu.

Just checked in for the first time today and see that I have been linked to by the mighty Instapundit.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

09 Nov 2009 08:44 am

A mother knows. Especially when she is sitting at her injured son’s bedside.

He was supposed to help her hero son - but all she saw in Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s eyes was evil.

The mom of a soldier who received psychiatric treatment from the accused Fort Hood gunman said she was frightened of the psychiatrist from the very beginning of her son’s stay at Walter Reed Medical Center.

“I looked into his eyes, and he scared me,” Cindy Gagnier told the Daily News. “He made some comments to me that made me feel very uncomfortable, and I don’t become uncomfortable very easily.”

This one is a must read.

08 Nov 2009 02:02 pm


Photos by Rachel Rodemann · Times Record
A statue of the Greek goddess Hebe, goddess of youth and happiness, is backlit by sun streaming through yellow leaves in front of the Crawford County Courthouse in Van Buren.

Autumn continues in its beauty despite all the ugliness in the world.

The murderous rampage at Fort Hood this past Thursday, committed by an Islamist Army officer who had made his hatred of our country quite apparent, is a stark reminder that we have enemies in our midst who take advantage of the freedom and opportunities our country offers in order to plan and carry out their jihadist attacks.

The response by the media and the political elite to the horrific terror attack on our nations Best class of American was unfortunately, quite predictable.

President Obama, who quickly jumped to conclusions when his friend, Henry Louis Gates was arrested by a white law officer, instructed his shocked fellow Americans to not jump to conclusions about the killing and the killer.

Jules Crittendon suggests that purple hearts should be awarded to the dead and wounded at Fort Hood because they were attacked by a a traitor who should be charged with desertion, treason and terrorism charges. (as well as murder)

Is any of the above very likely to be offically recognized? No. No matter what is learned about his motivation, in all likelihood he will be treated as a murder defendant in either a civilian or a military court … possibly with an insanity or bullying defense such as we’re already seeing explored on his behalf … rather than as a committed jihadi, an unlawful combatant, a terrorist, a deserter who aided and abetted the enemy, and a traitor who took up arms against his nation. It’s a push Republican lawmakers and those Democrats who agree could take up, that would command a lot of public support. Politicization of justice? Tell me that hasn’t happened already in this country. I’d call it a simple demand for justice. We owe it to the dead and the wounded to acknowledge why and under what circumstances they died and bled.

Kevin McCullough at writes about Obama’s apathetic response to the terror at Fort Hood.

In his remarks President Obama called for everyone to remain calm and to not jump to conclusions about the cause, rationale, and motivation behind the shooting incident.

Evidently what President Obama meant was for the average American to disengage their mind from the truth his lying eyes and ears easily showed them.

Within the hour Stephen Hayes reported on “the panel” on Fox News’ Special Report that sources inside the Obama administration’s FBI leadership had confirmed that the investigation was not to be giving any discussion to the possible merits of connecting the shooting at Ft. Hood to terrorism.


The news media immediately sought out the relatives of Major Nidal Malik Hasan to get their response and it was typical. Hasan was a gentle soul said his cousin. He had been harrassed by his fellow soldiers said his aunt.

Hence, the template: America is to blame. We can’t be trusted to come to our own conclusions.

The New York Times followed the template like a ballet dancer practicing her choreography.

Soldiers are violent and the violence they commit in the name of their country can cause their minds to snap. So says Erica Goode of the New York Times.

There is no evidence of terror says the Times.

None at all. Just a shortage of therapists, saith the shriveled old gray lady.

Evan Thomas didn’t express his outrage over the domestic terrorism at Fort Hood, instead he was more concerned that the killer is a Muslim and the right wing will be inflamed.

CAIR brought up the rear.

On Thursday night, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad told a news conference the alleged Fort Hood attacker’s motive remained unknown.

“We urge all Americans to remain calm in reaction to this tragic event and to demonstrate once again what is best about America — our nation’s ability to remain unified even in times of crisis,” Awad said. “We urge national political and religious leaders and media professionals to set a tone of calm and unity.

“Unfortunately, based on past experience, we also urge American Muslims, and those who may be perceived to be Muslim, to take appropriate precautions to protect themselves, their families and their religious institutions from possible backlash.” (Rantburg)

J.R. Dunn at the American Thinker explains the role the left has played in our war on terror.

Here is an excerpt:

We know where it led to. We have reached the point where successful programs are being abandoned, where national defense has taken a back seat, and where decent men out to protect their homes and fellow citizens are being targeted for legal sanction. The left has gained a shoddy and partial triumph. Though they could not destroy the despised Bush administration or throw away Iraq, they have the consolation prize of shutting down all those evil programs and betraying the people of Afghanistan. No fall of Saigon or Watergate this time around, but they’ll make do.

Michelle Malkin asks, “Why do we have to read British papers to get Ft. Hood jihadist news?!”

How odd that the U.S. military and the lame stream media haven’t picked up on this very telling fact.

Report: Hasan attended same radical mosque as 9/11 hijackers;

Yet another British publication tells us what the American media will not.

Except Fox.

Sadly, there hasn’t been much news coverage of those killed and injured at Fort Hood. The names were just released by the Department of Defense yesterday but Fox News has a piece on the Americans who were killed.

Crickets chirp at MSNBC.

Nothing here either.

If you look really hard you can find the list at ABC.

Ditto, CBS.

Fort Hood’s Deceased

The fatal victims of the Ft. Hood shooting, as released by the Department of Defense on Saturday

* 1. Lt. Col. Juanita Warman, 55, Havre de Grace, MD
* 2. Maj. Libardo Caraveo, 52, Woodbridge, VA
* 3. Cpt. John P. Gaffaney, 54, San Diego, CA
* 4. Cpt. Russell Seager, 41, Racine, WI
* 5. Staff Sgt. Justin Decrow, 32, Plymouth, IN
* 6. Sgt. Amy Krueger, 29, Kiel, WI
* 7. Spc. Jason Hunt, 22, Tillman, OK
* 8. Spc. Frederick Greene, 29, Mountain City, TN
* 9. PFC Aaron Nemelka, 19, West Jordan, UT
* 10. PFC Michael Pearson, 22, Bolingbrook, IL
* 11. PFC Kham Xiong, 23, St. Paul, MN
* 12. Pvt. Francheska Velez, 21, Chicago, IL
* 13. Michael G. Cahill, Cameron, TX [civilian]

Associated Press list of victims.

My thoughts and prayers are with all the soldiers and families of the dead and the wounded.

02 Nov 2009 08:23 am


At least for a few moments.

01 Nov 2009 08:38 pm


It’s bad enough that the upstate New York GOP establishment considered Dede Scozzafava the best candidate for John McHugh’s old seat but now (predictably) they have big time egg on their face for not selecting an actual Republican to run.

Scozzafava got out of the NY District 23 congressional race this weekend because she is losing and like the vicious, worse-than-a-RINO that she truly is, Scozzafava is now urging her supporters to vote for the Democrat in the race. Oh yes, she still claims to be a Republican but we now know for sure what she really is.

Of course, many of us understood that Scozzafava was not a Republican before her withdrawal from the race.

Scozzafava is like many women in Congress (not all of course) who are very pliable to the current cultural milieu. They want the approval of their peers more than doing what is right. They get a thrill up their leg when Chuck Schumer comes calling.

And when they don’t get their way, they get vicious. Scozzafava is no statesman.

That’s why I would never put my trust in the moderate Democrats who are wavering over the health care bill. I’m not counting on Senators Blanche Lincoln or Mark Pryor to do the right thing. Given enough pressure from the Obama administration they will roll over and vote the way Obama wants.

Blanche Lincoln is running for re-election in Arkansas in 2010 and is polling terribly which is the only reason she is pretending to be concerned about the public option. Lincoln’s like Scozzafava in more ways than one.

The biggest winner in all of this, of course, is the great Sarah Palin who doesn’t cast her finger to the wind to decide what she believes. She was the first prominent Republican who endorsed Scozzafava’s conservative party opponent, Doug Hoffman and many other endorsements followed hers.

The biggest loser (sadly) is Newt Gingrich, who continued to defend his support of Scozzafava until she dropped out. Newt has hurt himself very badly in this escapade and contrasted with former governor Palin looks like a callous calculator.

The thing is…we need to stop Barack Obama in his mission to fundamentally transform the United States of America. We don’t need faux Republican representatives who, like Scozzafava, take calls from the likes of Chuck Schumer. We need to send bold conservatives who will fight the Obama transformation with conviction, courage and clarity. Politicians who deem it better to play along with instead of confronting Obama’s radical changes need to be sent home.

Sissy Willis shows us how it can be done.