Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Help Wanted in a Historical Search

For over a year now, I've been trying my hardest to trace a certain book I have back to its owners in the 1880's. Trust me when I say I've run out of ideas. I've never talked about it here, but I've posted about it on various genealogy sites and so far I've had no replies. The time has come for me to expand my search in the hopes that somebody, somewhere will be able to help.  Here's a quick rundown:

I have a book called The Beauties of Shakespeare by Rev. William Dodd and inside is written a bunch of names of students who used it. I really want to find out more about them. Altogether there are ten names in the book. Here's what I have so far:

1. Lulu M. Hensley
     -sister of Herman. Parents were J.W. and Elizabeth Hensley. She was born in 1866 in Yates City, IL. She went on to marry William Lind. She is listed on the 1880 census as living in Yates City, IL.
2. Herman J. Hensley
     -brother of Lulu. Parents were J.W. and Elizabeth Hensley. He was born in 1863 in Yates City, IL. He went on to marry Effie/Effa Carter. He is listed on the 1880 census as living in Yates City, IL.
3. Maggie Clancy
     -She was born in October 1862 in Illinois. to James and Ellen Clancy. Her full name was Margaret. She is listed on the 1880 census as living in Yates City, IL.
4. Henry W. Flanegan [sic]
     - He was born in 1863 in Iowa to James and Susan Flanegan. He is listed on the 1880 census as living in Yates City, IL.
5. Pearl*
6. Guy*
7. J.H. Boggess
     - He was born about 1861 in IL. He is listed on the 1880 census as living in Yates City, IL, but not with his family. He is boarding with another family and is listed as being a minister.
8. Ben
9. Bradford
10. Doug Barker
* The two that interest me particularly are Guy and Pearl. They never wrote their last names in the book, but they did write love notes to each other. They're really sweet and I want to find out what happened to them! Pretty much the only clue they left is that they were part of the "class of 1881". At first I assumed they would be from Yates City, IL. as well, but I combed through the 1880 census a million times and didn't find either one. But then there are always middle names and nicknames that weren't listed. Honestly, I'm afraid that I've hit a dead end. 

So, anything that somebody could possibly say or guess about anybody from the book would help me so much! This is probably the most interesting mystery I've come across and I'm desperate to solve it!

Thank you!

P.S. I'm still working on my picture-a-day challenge and I've been keeping up! I just haven't had time to go though and edit them because I've been so busy with Christmas and birthdays. I promise to get them up soon!

P.P.S. I'll also work on taking pictures of the writing in the book so you can see how cool it is!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 11 - Love

Today's prompt was "love" and I procrastinated all day. It was super late by the time I took some pictures and my dog had already fallen asleep. I took a lot of pictures of her lying by my bed and she kept cracking one eye open and glaring at me as if saying "Aren't you done yet?! It's time to go to bed!" I took the hint and cut the photoshoot short. She was grateful and went back to snoring.

December 10 - Naughty/Knotty

So, my prompt for today was "naughty" and I spent forever trying to think up a good subject. I was stumped for the longest time and wandering around the park when I was struck with a thought...


I love homophones. Haha. So I end up going with a shot of this lovely tree that knots all over it.

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 9 - Ribbon

For today's prompt, "ribbon", I brought out a ridiculously big bow left over from a present last year and let my cat have fun. It took her a while to warm up to it, but eventually she started having fun and it was on. She even pulled a few ornaments off the tree!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 8 - Light

Today's prompt was "light". I tried a few shots with my pets lying at the base of the tree, but they weren't feeling too cooperative tonight. Maybe next time.

December 7 - Party

Today, some friends and I had a small get-together to exchange gifts before we all leave town. It was one of the last days we will all be together until the new year and we had a lot of fun.

For a while, I was left alone with my camera so I came back with hundreds of pictures to choose from.

The prompt was: Party.

Only eighteen more days until Christmas!

P.S. Sorry I forgot to post this on Friday! Busy day and all...I promise to get better!

Friday, December 7, 2012

December 6 - Peace

I took this picture for today's prompt, "Peace", because during the day around here, it's super loud and busy. But, once the sun sets, things start to calm down and it gets pretty much silent by the time I head to bed. 

Tonight was no exception.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 5 - Warm

I owe a huge thank you to my sister for today's picture. After a long, busy day she helped me come up with the concept. I couldn't have done it without her.

The prompt was "warm".

Also, while taking this picture, I discovered a new setting on my camera! Now I can hold the shutter open manually - I didn't know how to do that before. Yay!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December 4 - Soft

Today's prompt (soft) makes me wish I had my cat. She's so soft and cuddly, but not close by. So I used my sister's lovely hair instead.

Monday, December 3, 2012

December 3 - Crumbs


Talk about a random prompt! Haha.

It took me a while to figure out what to photograph, but I ended up liking my picture for today a lot.

I took my camera to dinner with me and I'm sure I provided quite the spectacle for the other people in the restaurant as I clicked away at my freshly-arrived food, throughout the meal, and at the empty dishes.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December 2 - Glitter

My day two prompt was glitter.

When the time came to take pictures, I discovered that my house is severely lacking in glittery things, but I was able to find a few suitable subjects. Halfway through, I had an epiphany which led me to taking way over my self-imposed limit. So much for that. Haha.

Oddly enough, the one I ended up choosing was a spur-of-the-moment picture I took while setting up lighting.

December 1 - Faith

For the month of December, I'm taking a break from the usual programming here and trying my hand at a photo-a-day challenge.

Here's how it'll work: every day at midnight my lovely sister sends me a prompt and I have twenty-four hours to take my photo. I'm trying to get the shot in fifty frames or less, but I don't know how long that will last.

My goal is to have fun and hopefully improve my photography along the way. I thought it'd be fun to share my progress.

For December 1st, my prompt was faith.

Any thoughts?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Lost Entry

"A Summer Book Sale"

Over the summer, I was able to make it to one book sale (the other one I usually attend has been postponed for a year due to construction) and I took lots of pictures of what I came away with and had a post all organized and ready to go...but then my laptop decided to go wonky and in the end I had to get a new one.
So, after much reorganization and sorting of files, and losing and rediscovering this entry, I've finally remembered to post it.
Allow me to share what I found:

First up are three books by Robert Louis Stevenson. They're from the early 1900's and in pretty good condition. About six years ago I read "Treasure Island" by Stevenson and I really liked it, so I can't wait to try these.

Next is a set of five books by J.M. Barrie. They date from 1912.

"A Concise Dictionary of English Slang" from the 1950's. Not only will it be useful for writing, it's pretty entertaining to read. There was certainly some interesting slang back then.

It apparently was given as a gift in '56 from a man named David. Usually I can decipher handwriting pretty well, but I'm having the hardest time reading the last part of this. Is that an "and" symbol in the middle, there?

"Reed's Word Lessons". There's just something about antique schoolbooks that I love. There just seems to be so much history behind them and I can only imagine how many little hands held this book as they learned from it.

What makes this book even better is the writing I found inside. Somebody went through and translated a lot of the words into different languages. Most of the ones on this page are translated into Norwegian and German. It struck me as interesting how this spelling book uses so many foreign words as examples. Like "Czar" and the "far" at the top of the page. What does that say about the school and students that used it?

And finally, this book, "The Family Book of Home Entertaining", was really interesting to flip through. It's from the '50's and some of the ideas are really cute. There are pages and pages of fun themes for just about every party you can imagine.

So, I had a lot of fun at the fair that hosted this book sale. There was a good selection, good prices, and I even got my picture taken for the paper!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Book – "Viva Jacquelina!"

 I’ve been waiting for Viva Jacquelina!: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Over the Hills and Far Away for almost a year now and I was so excited when it came in the mail last week.
The cover – lying on my bed.

This series is definitely at the top of my list. I’m on book ten and the stories keep getting better and better! L.A. Meyer is such a great storyteller – there’s never a dull moment!
Opening the cover for the first time!

I pre-ordered it and waited (im)patiently for it to arrive in the mail. When it came, I cracked it open and smelled the pages and, lo and behold, it didn’t have that usual new-book-smell. It smelled of fresh cut lumber! Haha!

Well, back to – as I called it the other night – Jacky, sweet Jacky. Happy reading!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Thirteen Confessions

Four months.

It's been almost four months since I last made a blog post and I sincerely apologize. Getting back into writing posts, I thought I'd start with this:
Inspired by this website: bookfessions, I drew up a list of thirteen of my own confessions.
1.       In high school I carried my purse around not to look cool but so I could keep it on my desk and read behind it during lectures.

2.       My bookshelves are so full they are actually beginning to collapse.

3.       The largest number of books I’ve bought at one time is 83.

4.       Most of my books I’ve bought for a dollar or less.

5.       I don’t like reading the summaries on the cover flap or the back for fear that the plot will be ruined for me. I don’t like it when I see things coming.

6.       When I go shopping with people, I bring a book. I read it while I’m waiting on others in the changing rooms.

7.       I once borrowed by best friend’s copy of Pride and Prejudice in middle school and accidentally ripped the back cover in half. I felt so guilty for damaging it I told her I had lost it and bought her a new copy instead. She still doesn’t know the real reason.

8.       I memorized my fourteen-digit library card number years ago.

9.       One of the things I hate most is finding a typo in a book.

10.   In tenth grade my English classroom was across the hall from the library. During the five-minute passing periods I would run to class to have enough time to check out a new book and get to my seat in time.

11.   My favorite books are the ones with a unique history behind them.

12.   My cousin told me she wants to have as many books as I do some day. I hope she does; I think it’s awesome.
13. When I was little I often got in trouble for staying up late reading instead of adhering to "lights out" times.

What are yours?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Postcard #2- St. Patrick's Day

About a month ago, I bought this postcard from an antique store. It was around Easter and the stack of St. Patrick's Day cards was dwindling down to about two or three and I was lucky to find this one.

St. Patrick's Day

Dear Cliff: One year of
my sentence is up. Only
two more years in prison,
then freedom. What are
you doing? I am still
on that case. he is getting
along fine. is going to
sitr [sic] life this week. I was
up and called on Miss
Smith yesterday. She
is going down home tomorrow.
How is the traveling out
to Bar Mills? You never
write to me. Will write Ma this
week some time.
With love

Of course that caught my attention. She's in prison?! With two more years left of her sentence?! What did she do? How did she go visit Miss. Smith if she's in prison? What case is she working on? The questions never ended!

So the logical plan of action was to find records of her and her brother. I knew one of their full names, I had a city and a state, and a rough date (all the postcards on the rack were from around 1910).

On to the census records!!!

Well, my search hit a pretty big snag in the beginning: I could find no record of a Mr. Clifford E. Jose living in Buxton, Maine. I searched his name every which way I could think of to spell it and still no luck.

My conclusion? They were spies, of course!

"Sis" wasn't really Clifford's sister and the postcard was all in code. She wasn't in jail, it was code for her location, and her two years left in her "sentence" was how long her mission would last. My theory explained her case and the reason that she could go out to visit Miss. Smith while seemingly incarcerated.

It accounted for everything!

Well, I knew that my theory was too far-fetched to let stand, so about a week later, I decided to go back and search for them again in census records.

I discovered that just searching for people with the last name of "Jose" in Maine brought up a list of family members, one of which included a Mr. Clifford E. Jose (who's first name was unable to be searched for some reason).

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you the real Clifford and Lena Jose:

They lived in Buxton, Maine all their lives. Their parents were John and Mary and they had two brothers, Charles and Horace.

1900 Census - Clifford is 16 years old and working as a farm laborer. Lena is 10 and attends school. John, Mary, Charles, and Horace all live at home as well as a 14 year old boarder named Matthew Pearson who attends school as well.

1910 Census - Clifford (26) and Lena (20) still live at home with their parents. Cliff works in the pulpmill and Lena has no job. Both of their brothers are married and work as carpenters.

1920 Census - Cliff and Lena still live at home. Clifford (36) has joined the ranks of his brothers as a carpenter and Lena (29) is working as a nurse at a hospital.

1930 Census - Clifford (46) is now the head of the household. He works as a carpenter and lives with his mom and Lena (40) who is a registered nurse.

1940 Census - Lena (50) is now listed as the head of the household. Both of her parents are dead and she lives with Clifford (56) who is a carpenter who works on building construction.

Decidedly less exciting than if they really had been spies, but interesting nonetheless. Neither one ever married and, from what I can tell, they lived together always. There was never any mention of Lena being in jail, so I still have no clue what to make of that.

Ah well. Perhaps I'll figure it out one day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What Can she Do?


"What Can she Do?" was originally published in 1873 by E. P. Roe, a Presbyterian pastor and an author. About a month ago I picked up this edition of the book, printed in 1901, and when I brought it home, I ended up doing something with it that I don't often do with my old books: I read it.

And I ended up really liking it!

Usually my older books are displayed on my shelves, protected from damage, and I'll occasionally flip through them and read a few pages here and there. But this book was different. It sat on the dining room table by my laptop for about a week and, whenever I was waiting for a game to load, I would pick it up and read.


From the title, I had no idea what to expect; I had never heard of the book or the author before. Well, after reading only the dedication I had a pretty good grasp on Mr. Roe's view of helpless, simpering women. Haha.

The plot centers around the Allen family which consists of Mr. and Mrs. Allen and their three daughters, Laura, Edith, and Zell. Mr. Allen is a wealthy businessman prone to taking risks and his ailing wife spends her time at home, relaxing and recuperating (until the next social event rolls around - then she's never too ill to get out of bed). Left largely to their own devices, the three girl spend their nights lavishly entertaining their beaux. Laura, the eldest, is being courted by Mr. Goulden, an attentive, somewhat dull businessman. Edith has Gus Elliot, a man easily-controlled, and Zell is being seen by the rakish Mr. Van Dam.

The family's hopes for a bright future are dashed when the conniving Mr. Fox utterly destroys Mr. Allen's business and the family loses their fortune. To top it all off, Mr. Allen suffers from an attack of apoplexy and dies. Suddenly the girls are thrust out into the world, penniless, jobless, and without skill. Moving to the country, the girls must find a way to support themselves despite never having been trained to do a single day of honest work in their entire lives. Can they rally together and make the best of the situation? What about the three men? Are they still willing to pursue marriage now that the girls haven't any money?

I won't give away any more of the plot so you can read it for yourself (hey, it's even a free ebook!).

One of the things I liked best about my edition of the book were the illustrations!

Mr. Allen and Edith.

Mr. Allen at head of table; Mrs. Allen to his right; Laura to Mrs. Allen's right; Zell across from Laura; Hannibal behind her; Edith to Mr. Allen's left.

Edith (standing) and Laura (sitting).

So, in the end, I wound up enjoying the book much more than I had anticipated. It had a nice plot and interesting characters and I found it a pleasing read.

There were only a few things I didn't like. Namely, Mr. Roe was very thorough in getting his message across. Understandable, though at times a bit repetitive.

Also, some of the dialogue was hard to follow since some of the characters' speech was spelled as it should be pronounced. Take, for example, the Scottish gardener, Malcom McTrump, has a very thick accent.
"Weel, noo, ye're a canny lass to coom and filch all old Malcom's secrets to set oop opposition to him But then sin' ye do it sae openly I'll tell ye all I know. The big wourld ought to be wide enought for a binnie lassie like yoursel to ha' a chance in it, and though I'm a little mon, I would na be sae mean a one as to hinder ye. Mairover the gardener's craft be a gentle one, and I see na reason why, if a whilte lily like yoursel must toil and spin, it should na be oot in God's sunshine, where the flowers bloom, instead o' pricking the bluid oot o' yer body, and the hope oot o' yer heart, wi' the needle's point, as I ha' seen sae mony o' my ain coontry lassies do. Gude-by, and may the roses in yer cheeks bloom a' the year round." (p. 160-161)
Needless to say, I read his dialogue twice.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Postcard #1 - Good Luck

When I go to antique shops, something I love looking though is the bins of old postcards. I can (usually) find some really interesting ones for a great price!

I spend ages sorting through the stacks of postcards, reading through them until I find ones with uniqute messages. Those are the ones I buy.

For example, a postcard that I bought fairly recently:


It reads "Good Luck" inside a four-leaf clover with some flowers (sweet peas? pansies? violets? - I'm hopeless at identifying flowers).


And the back has a message written in the area for "addresses only" (it was never sent, so unfortunately there's no date. I'd guess between 1905 and 1915 because of the ink and the fact that it was in a bin of other postcards dated around that time). It reads:

I think it
was Grace. Have
I guess [sic] right? Thank
you very much for
the card. hoping you
are all well.
Lovingly yours,

I just wish I knew the story behind it! (In case you haven't caught on by now, I'm big on the story behind things :D ) What did Grace do? Was she right? Who did Laura give this to? Did she ever even give it? Were they all well?! If only I knew.

But I guess that's what imaginations are for.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Story from 1834

Today I went to a booksale that the public library was holding and I came across several books that I just had to buy. One of my absolute favorites was this book that I found in the "Better Books" section for $10 (today was 50% off day!).


It's called "The Works of Laurence Sterne, in One Volume: with A Life of the Author, Written by Himself" and was published in 1834.


This is officially the oldest book I own.


In the front of the book, Thomas, the presumed owner of the book, wrote his name and the date "5th April 1837". The day he bought it? I love the old ink and his amazing handwriting.


One of the parts of the book that struck me as particularly interesting is that the images in the body of the text were glued in!


There was only one image in the main body of the text, but I did come across pages like this that made me think that perhaps it was where more pictures were originally but have fallen out over the years. I can only guess, though.


There were also three scraps of paper that I can only assume are bookmarks.


They were stuck in the middle of the book, so does that mean the reader never went back to finish?

At first I thought this one was a very old piece of ribbon until I turned it over and saw that it was a strip of newspaper.


And, lastly, in the back cover of the book, someone has written "See Eclectic Magazine, Sept. 1864." No clue as to why it's there, but I love it.


It's quite worn, but it has a history and such character. It will definitely get a place of honor on my bookshelves!