Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

Easter  Morning

One of my first original quilts was this wall hanging. My piecing was not impeccable. I never let lack of skill get in my way. I just went ahead and did it. Practice makes perfect and over time I developed better skills.

We had a pet rabbit for six years. She ran to greet us, bit our ankle if we ignored her and she loved peanut butter. When we went away she would attack anyone who came into the house to feed her.

We have crocus coming up. Spring has been so late here in Michigan that the Easter lilies and hyacinths from the greenhouses are still in bud.

Some years ago I made a 1920s pattern from Sentimental Stitches of bunny children. People always love it.  

A few years ago I got this from my brother.

He made the wood bunny and ate the chocolate one!

Have a wonderful day.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Rhodes Family Massacre at Tom's Brook

A period of terror and fear.” (from Old Homes of Page County, Virginia by Jennie Ann Kerkhoff)

In the late afternoon on August 11, 1764 the Reverend John Rhodes came to the door of his home in the Shenandoah Valley when he heard shouting from the yard. Before the sun had set the Reverend, his wife, and five of his children had been murdered, and likely scalped, and his home burned.

My fifth great-grandfather, The Reverend John Rhodes (Rhodes, Roads), died in one of a series of “Indian raids” that occurred in the valley. Because he, like the other first European settlers in th valley, was a Swiss Mennonite and a pacifist he would not have used arms to protect his family. His twelve year old daughter escaped and married my fourth great-grandfather Jacob Gochenour.
Mennonite Persecution and Emigration

In the 16th c. some groups began to feel that baptism had to be based on belief. They eschewed paid ministers and prepared sermons and participation in government. They were non-violence pacifists who objected to the swearing of oaths. They would not swear allegiance to the state or bear arms to defend their country's interests. These Anabaptist groups were persecuted across Europe by state churches and governments. Their afflictions included beatings, jailing, loss of property, confiscation of children, and sometimes even death.
The Swiss Mennonites of Lake Zurich in the Canton of Berne were exiled and moved to outlaying smaller towns. In 1650 these capable farmers were invited to the Palatine area in Germany to restore the war-torn, once rich farm land. They paid a fine to live there. Then around 1700 a new ruler ended toleration.

Those who remained in Switzerland were banished in 1710. The Berne Mennonites were allowed to sell their property, if they agreed to take the money and leave forever.
William Penn, the English Quaker who founded Pennsylvania felt a kinship with the Mennonites and welcomed them to settle.

So the Swiss Mennonites left the Palatine and Switzerland. Between 1711 and 1732 thousands of Swiss Mennonites immigrated to Pennsylvania, settling in Germantown outside of Philadelphia and in Berks and Lancaster Counties. Others had left the Palatine for Holland and England, and some became indentured servants to pay for their way to New York State and the Mohawk Valley By 1730 so many Germans had come to Pennsylvania the British colonists worried about “The German Peril.”  From Lancaster some immigrants followed the 'river road' of the Susquehanna River into the Shenandoah Valley.
John Rhodes Immigration

In 1711 the Mennonites in Sumiswald, Canton of Berne, Switzerland were exiled. John Rhodes (in German Hans Derik Roodt/Roth) and his parents Ulrich (born 1680) and Susanna immigrated to America. They arrived in Philadelphia, PA on August 19 1728. They settled in Lancaster, PA.

Pennsylvania was becoming rapidly settled. New lands beckoned. In 1730 John Rhodes and other Swiss Mennonites arrived in the Shenandoah Valley as the first European settlers. Among them were the Strickler, Kauffman, and Gochenour families.
In 1741 John Rhodes purchased 100 acres along the Shenandoah River adjacent to Martin Kauffman's tract. On November 4, 1760 he purchased land from Thomas Palmer of New York, who was granted the Virginia land from Lord Fairfax in 1751. Rev. Rhodes's estate grew to over 400 acres along the Shenandoah River, with his home situated at the mouth of Tom's Brook. The area today is three miles northeast of Mauertown, VA not far from Luray. The Rhodes home was in the shadow of Kennedy's Peak, the highest point in the Massanutten mountains.

For an article with photos on the area see:

The Rev. Rhoads married Eva Catherina Albright in 1740. They had thirteen children. On the fatal day, his eldest son Joseph and two daughters were already in their own homes. The younger children were still at home.
The Massacre at Tom's Brook

They were called Indian Raids. Between 5 and 6 p.m. in August 11, 1764, Simon Girty, “The White Savage” who had committed a string of attacks, led a party of eight Native Americans into the valley and to the Rhodes home. Their intent was robbery. The method was murder.

Rev. Rhodes shot in the doorway of his home. Eva and a son were killed in the yard of the house. The party followed two boys into a cornfield along the river. One boy climbed a pear tree 150 yards from the house, perhaps to hide, perhaps to try to see what was happening. The marauders found him in the tree and shot him. The other boy flew to the river, hoping to cross to safety. He was killed in Tom's Brook, and afterward the area was called Bloody Ford.
The marauders searched the Rhodes home but did not find the money that was hidden in a niche in the cellar wall. They burned the house down with Rev. Rhodes body in it. The money, along with important papers, were found safe afterward.

Twelve year old Elizabeth had grabbed 15 month old Esther and ran into the barn. While a man tried to break into the barn, she went through an opening in the back of the barn and ran through a field of hemp and crossed the river to find refuge in a neighbor's house about four miles away. From there she walked another eight miles to Ida, her baby sister in arms, to the home of her eldest brother Joseph. She told him of the horror that had descended upon their parents and siblings.
Two boys and one or two girls were captured and taken into the Massanutten Mountains. The party was in a hurry to get away. The frightened children could not keep up the pace. First they killed the 7 year old boy who had been ailing. The girl(s) refused to go on and were murdered and left with their brother. Michael alone survived. He was taken to Ohio and spent three years with the Native Americans before a treaty brought his released. He returned home.

Some sources say the family was scalped. The scalps were sold to the French for $15 each. The next day the neighbors came and buried the Rhodes family near the river. Their headstones are now in the Brubaker family cemetery.
Rev. Rhodes father Ulrich died on August 31, 1764.

The Children

  1. Joseph Rhodes was born in 1735 and died in 1766 at Massanutten, August Co., VA. He had a farm in Ida at the time of the massacre. By law he inherited his father's estate. Joseph married Elizabeth Mary Strickler, daughter of Shenandoah Valley pioneer Rev. Abraham Stickler. Abraham immigrated from Zurich, Switzerland around 1705 and came to Chester Co, PA before migrating to the Shenandoah Valley in 1726 with his sons. He was a master weaver and a Mennonite preacher.
  2. Anna was born around 1738 and died on May 6, 1774 in Ohio. In 1758 she married Christian Grove. In 1765 Christian was deeded 116 acres on the North Branch of the Shenandoah by Joseph Rhodes. Christian was born in 1738 in Lancaster, PA and fought in the Revolutionary War. After Anna's death Christian married Ester Musselman, of another early settler family. He died at Woodstock, VA in 1786. The Groves great-grandfather had left Zurich, Switzerland for Lancaster, PA.
  3. Susannah (Susan) Elizabeth was born in 1740. She married Mark (Marcus) Grove, brother to Christian Grove who married her sister Anna. Joseph Rhodes gave Mark 120 acres on the north for of the Shenandoah River at the mouth of Elk Lick Run. After Susan's death Mark married Mary. He died in 1800.
  4. Daniel born 1746 and died in the massacre on August 11, 1764.
  5. David who was born in 1745 and died at age 19 in the massacre on Aug 11 1764.
  6. A son born 1757 and died in the Massanutten mountains on August 11, 1764.
  7. A daughter, perhaps Mary, born in 1754 and died on August 11, 1764.
  8. A son born 1760 and died on August 11, 1764. Likely he was the son with Eva and killed in the house yard with her.
  9. Michael was born May 1, 1749, He was captured and taken to Ohio for three years. On March 26, 1780 he married Anna Strickler, daughter to Benjamin. Benjamin was brother to Elizabeth Strickler who married Michael's brother Joseph.
  10. Esther was born in 1762. She was rescued by her sister Elizabeth. In 1786 she married Dr. Jacob Kauffman. Esther died in 1836. Jacob's father the Rev. Martin Kauffman was one of the earliest settlers in the area. Kauffmans appear in the earliest annals of the Mennonite church.
  11. Elizabeth born July 31 1745 and died August 26, 1818. She married Jacob Gochenour, my fifth great-grandfather.
Elizabeth and Jacob Gochenour

Jacob Gochenour was born near Woodstock, VA, the grandson of the original Gochenour immigrant from Lake Zurich, Switzerland. The Gochenours had been Mennonite for generations, and a Gochenour appears in the annals of Mennonite martyrs. They were converted to Anabaptism by the Peter family.

Elizabeth was deeded 177 acres by her brother Joseph. Her dowry was situated on the east side of the Shenandoah River near Tom's Brook, where her brothers were killed. Jacob bought land across the river near Luray and built a flour mill.
My family tree goes like this:
  1. Gorg or Georg Gochanauwer born 1567 in Fischenthal, Zurich, Switzerland and died in Alsac Lorraine in 1609. He married Maria Weber in 1589.
  2. Jacob or Jakob Weber Gachnouwer born 1605 in Fischenthal, Zurich, Switzerland and married Margarethe Peter whose family were Mennonites and likely converted Jacob to the faith. A 1634 Census for Fischenthal shows Jacob Gachnauer and Margareta Peter with children Jorg age 5, Hannss age 3, Heinrich age 2, and Barbel age 1. War in 1693 drove Jacob and his family to Northern Germany where he settled in Friedrichstadt.
  3. Heinrich Gochenour who was born in 1632 in Frischenthal, Zurich, Swizterland and immigrated with his father to Alsac Lorraine and then to Ibersheim, Hesse, Germany. He was a tailor.
  4. Joseph Gochenour born in Ibersheim in Palatinate Germany in 1673 and immigrated to Hemfield, Lancaster, PA and died there in 1738.
  5. Jacob Gochenour 1715-1771 married Elizabeth Rhoades. He was a literate man who owned ten books. He obtained 400 acres of land. In 1769 he and Jacob Strickler petitioned the House of Burgess for the right to follow their faith and not bear arms but instead would contribute a “proportionable part of their Estates whenever the Exigencies of Government may require it”. A second petition in 1785 asked Mennonites be exempted from military duties. Among the seventy-four Mennonite signatures are the names of Jacob Gochenour, Joseph Gochenour, John (Johannes) Gochenour, and Abraham Gochenour.
  6. Abraham Gochenour born in Alonzville, VA in 1771 and died in 1812. He married Christina Haas, whose father Johann was an immigrant from Germany.
  7. Henry Gochenour 1799-1856 married Barbara Wiseman whose grandfather Johann Phillip immigrated from Germany.
  8. Samuel Gochenour 1826-1901, who served in the Virginia Militia as a Private, Company C, 3rd Regiment, 7th Brigade from July 1861 to September 1861; also from December 1861 at Woodstock, VA; and volunteered March of 1862. The Militia were issued no uniform or arms and usually were employed in manual labor. He married Susannah Catherine Hammon whose grandfather immigrated from Germany. She was a devote Evangelical Lutheran. They are buried in the Mt. Zion Lutheran Church Cemetery.
  9. Henry David Gochenour born in Fairview, VA in 1861 and died in Stonewall, VA in 1924. He married Mary Ellen Stutz whose grandfather immigrated from Germany.
  10. Alger Jordan Gochenour born in Woodstock VA in 1904 and died in Tonawanda, NY in 1955. He married Emma Becker, born in Volhynia, Russia, daughter of immigrant John Becker.
  11. Eugene Vernon Gochenour 1930-2008, my father.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Block Two of a Jane Austen Family Album

Barbara's Brackman's second block is Sister's Choice for Cassandra Austen, Jane's best friend and only sister. I am using some fat quarters I bought a year ago from MODA, and some red and cream from my stash. I need to buy more of the MODA from eBay! You can find the patterns and articles about each family member on Brackman's blog:

Most of what we know about Jane's sister Cassandra is from family letters and writings after their deaths. Jane's letters can be found online at

They are well worth reading to glimpse Jane's natural sarcastic humor and wicked insights into human nature. You can also find advice in novel writing, marriage advice,  poems, and read about the fabrics they buy.

This is what Jane had to say about her sister in a letter dated Sept. 1796:

The letter which I have this moment received from you has diverted me beyond moderation. I could die of laughter at it, as they used to say at school. You are indeed the finest comic writer of the present age.

Never having been a 'crowd follower' or a conformist (which I blame on my Anabaptist roots, lol) I feel compelled to mention that I became an Austen reader back in 1978 at Temple University in a year long honors course on Austen, taught by Toby Olshin. I blogged about this previously.

But I am thrilled that the movies based on her books has brought her books into the mainstream and into the lives of readers of all ages.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring=Flowers. Floral Handkerchiefs

Orchid handkerchief quilt; mid-century cotton hanky with triple borders

Just when I thought spring would never come, the daffodils and crocus have started to peek from the earth. The snow has melted over the last two weeks, but in shady places I can still see a foot of snow.
Even after six hours of thunderstorms overnight.

We had four months with deep snow on the ground, with below freezing cold, and lots of wind. So I am more than ready for spring. So I am sharing some of my favorite floral handkerchiefs from my collection.

Mid-century cotton hanky with roses

Lotus cotton hanky

Mid-century cotton hanky. Pansies.

New hanky bought several years ago at a restaurant in Gaylord MI. Cotton.

Mid-century tulip cotton hanky

Mid-century peony cotton hanky

Mid-century cotton Iris hanky

Mid-century violet bouquet cotton hanky

Water lily cotton hanky, mid-century

Wildflower cotton hanky, likely 3rd quarter 20th c

Oversize flower hanky, cotton, mid-century
cotton hanky with petunias and flox

Pansies mid-century cotton hanky
Pussy Willow mid-century cotton hanky
Cotton late 20th c hanky

mid-century cotton hanky with poppies and gladiola

Mid-century pink lilacs cotton hanky

c. 1940s cotton hanky with roses

Saturday, April 12, 2014

1928 Presidential Campaign Hanky

What does the 1928 Presidential election, Clark's O.N.T. sewing thread, and an elephant hanky in my collection have in common?
An August 10, 1966 article published in the Lewistown Sentinel column "We Notice That" featured my grandfather Lynne O. Ramer's memories of the Fennimore Hotel in Cooperstown, NY. At first I was revisiting the article as a lead-in to writing about sewing thread. Then I realized I had a back door into sharing an eBay purchase I made of a "circus elephant handkerchief".
First the 1966 article by columnist Ben Meyers:
A Fabulous Family
O.N.T. stands for “Our New Thread” and it isn’t so very new any more. It’s been used by the Clark Thread Company since 1862 when it developed a thread suitable for use in the newly-invented sewing machine.
As for the scarcity of plain white cotton thread, it isn’t used much any more. We learned at the fabric department in one of the stores we researched that the synthetics aren’t in good demand, but the trend continues to be for the mercerized.
However, the mercerized is simple cotton under another name. The word was coined after John Mercer, an English calico dealer [who] invented the process to treat cotton thread in fabric with a caustic alkali solution.
This gave the material more strength so it could be used on the sewing machines then coming on the market. Also the process gives cotton a silky luster and makes it more receptive to dyes than plain cotton.
Lynne Ramer tells of an amusing encounter he had with a member of the fabulous family of Clarks, founders of the thread company by that name.
It was back in the year 1927 when Lynne was teaching in a school in the Leather Stocking country of New York. He was standing in front of the now-long-gone Fenimore Hotel at Cooperstown, named in honor of the author of “Last of the Mochicans” and other novels which still have a fascinating appeal to boys. Cooper made the American Indian a lasting figure in fiction.
A very heavy set gentleman was sitting in his custom-built limousine when Lynne spied him. He was sweating it out in the hot sun as long as he could stand it. Then he tried to get out and walk up the steps to the hotel, but being an arthritic and short of breath he didn’t seem able to make it. So Lynne gave him a helping hand to alight and mount the steps.
About the time he got to the top, the chauffeur who had left the famous Ambrose Clark sitting in the sun came back. Ambrose was so busy hewing out the hired help he didn’t find time to thank his rescuer.
Lynne adds this final touch to the episode:
Along Lake Otsego, Aldolphus Buesch, heir to the Budweiser fortune, had a private zoo. He extended Lynne a standing invitation to take his students from near-by Hartwick Seminary on a tour of the wild and tame animal menagerie.
But Ambrose Clark never invited the public to see his rare horses and prize cattle. Yet nowadays for $1 you can see the “Americana of Agriculture” in the Clark stables that once housed the horses and cows, plus an old church of early New York architecture and other colonial-day houses that were moved there and restored.
Nowadays, too, visitors to Cooperstown who come to see the ‘Baseball Hall of Fame” may see the jointly-controlled tourist attraction known as the “Clark Estates”.
Oh, yes, Lynne has one more memory of Cooperstown to add. It was in 1928 When Lynne was waiting on the same steps of the Fennimore Hotel where he previously helped Ambrose Clark. This second time Lynne waited and sweated it out for three hours under the hot sun while waiting to hear a campaign speech by Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
“Because FDR didn’t excuse his delay among friends up at Lake Otsego and because I came from a Republican heritage, I didn’t vote for him. It was the very first time I ever voted,” says Lynne. “I could have voted for President in 1924, but I was a student at Suskie University [Susquehanna University] at that time—and absentee voting wasn’t yet common, as now.”
Looking up Ambrose Clark I discovered that he was the quintessential equestrian, perhaps of all time. Grandson to Edward Clark, who with Isaac Merritt Singer became rich from their newfangled sewing machine, he never attended school or had to work. He had a 5,000 acre farm, Iroquois, near Cooperstown, NY. He was buried next to his beloved horse Kellsboro, winner of the 1933 English Grand National steeplechase race.
The 1928 Republican Presidential candidate was Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, who ran when Calvin Coolidge declined to run again. The Republicans were associated with the boom times of the 1920s. Other Republicans in the race included Senate Majority Leader Charles Curtis and former Illinois governor Frank Orren Lowden.
Al Smith campaign handkerchief
The Democratic candidates included Al Smith, who had tried for the presidency twice before. Al Smith was Catholic, a major concern for many, plus he had opposed Prohibition.
Hoover won the Republican Presidential nomination and Curtis the Vice-Presidential. And that is where the elephant hanky comes in.
I purchased it on eBay for a few dollars. I did not believe it was a child's circus elephant hanky for one second. It was silk for one thing. And the H and C initials were a real giveaway.
After I received the hanky I wrote to the Hoover Presiential Library and Museum. They agreed it was a campaign hanky, one they did not have in their collection.
But why did Gramps hear FDR speak, not Al Smith?
After contracting polio, Franklin Roosevelt's first step back into politics came in 1924 when he attended the Democratic Presidential convention. Using two crutches and aided by his son, he walked to the podium to nominate Al Smith for the Democratic presidential candidate. "His fingers dug into my arm like pincers" his son later said. (from The Man He Became by James Tobin) In 1928 FDR again nominated Smith for presidential candidate.
Gramps did not hear FDR campaigning for himself, but for Al Smith. And Gramps voted for Herbert Hoover in the Presidential election. The Ramer family had only been in American for a few generations, and had to have been Lincoln Republicans.
Lots of pics in this history of sewing thread found at