Sunday, November 18, 2018

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

John Boyne's novel The Heart's Invisible Furies was one of my favorite books of 2017. If the protagonist of Furies was sympathetic, the main character in Boyne's new book A Ladder to the Sky offers readers an entirely different type of character. For Maurice Swift uses everyone to advance his obsession to become a lionized writer of prize-winning books. On his way to the top, he breaks hearts and ruins and even ends lives. We despise him while finding him fascinating.

The story has a noir quality as Swift's crimes become darker. I was reminded of The Talented Mr. Ripely by Patrician Highsmith. One feels almost guilty about how enjoyable it is to read about very bad people.

The people Swift has used as rungs up the ladder tell their stories, until the end when we finally hear from a declining Swift. It is a compelling story.

I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

A Ladder to the Sky
by John Boyne
Hardcover | $27.00
Published by Hogarth
Nov 13, 2018
ISBN 9781984823014

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Identity Politics

The current political climate in America has led many to consider how we became a country torn asunder by factionalism and hatred of those who do not think or look or love or worship like 'us.'  There have recently been quite a few books out on Identity Politics and I have read several.

A LibraryThing win, The Splintering of the American Mind: Identity Politics, Inequality, and Community on Today's College Campuses by William Egginton considers how higher education contributes to divisiveness vs. the free exchange of ideas in America. The author considers identity, inequality, and community and how these values have changed in American society over my lifetime.

Egginton argues that identity politics has segregated society and that a sense of community and reasoned conversation must be rediscovered if the American experiment in Democracy is to survive.

His argument calls for a compromise or synthesis between a society dominated by an elite few and the tribal mentality of today.

He promotes a liberal arts education as pivotal to the education of good citizens, in terms of learning to dialogue and reason and communicate. Yet, with college education so competitive and expensive, few parents or students can justify the cost of a liberal education. It's all about money, today, preparing for "economic self-improvement" as Egginton puts it. I saw that even back in the 1970s when I completed my education.

"Listening to each other isn't just some surface fix, it's fundamental to the very idea of liberty that the United States claims to embody." William Egginton, The Splintering of the American Mind

The importance of establishing a nationwide sense of community is of tantamount importance. And Egginton believes it begins on the campuses of our colleges and universities. Emphasized is teaching for empathy and dialogue and communication, finding the universal experiences in literature, learning to tolerate differences, supporting freedom of expression, and creating an educated citizenry able to employ critical thinking and dialogue. A section of Media Literacy caught my attention as something I had used in my volunteer teaching with high school students. And of course, the importance of a groundwork upon which we can all agree.

I was inspired by his hopefulness.

"Yes, American history is a history of slavery, oppression, and extermination. But it is also a history of redemption, coming to terms with our nation's sins, and of overcoming them  on the way to a better future, on the way to, in Abraham Lincoln's words from the blood-soaked battlefield at Gettysburg four score and seven years later, "a new birth of freedom."

"The point is that our history, as full as it is of examples of depravity and corruption, oppression and discrimination, is equally full of stories of altruism and redemption, of the triumph of community over selfishness. These are the stories we need now." 

I was not comfortable with all of his interpretations and arguments. I appreciated his consideration of inequality and the call for reestablishing a common ground based on conversation and empathy.

The Splintering of the American Mind
William Egginton
Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 97816355713

After hearing about the book on NPR my husband suggested I read Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment by Frances Fukuyama.

One thing I appreciated about this book is how the author presents his arguments, explains them, and before he moves on to his next argument restates his case to that point. It really makes it easier for the general reader because this is a theoretical book.

The author offers a brief history of the development of identity from the ancient Greeks through the Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment, and revolutions in France and America to establish the rising concept of individuals' need for dignity and personal recognition. He discusses how democratic governments have failed to "fully live up to their underlying ideals of freedom and equality," with the violation of the rights of the poor and weaker citizens at the hand of the few rich and powerful.

Another aspect he traces is the rise of industrialization and cities which broke down traditional communities. The social upheaval and adjustment to a blended society left a nostalgia for a remembered and idealized past.

He blames the contemporary left for focusing on "ever smaller groups" instead of "large collectivities such as the working class or economically exploited." He also blames the rise of "self-actualization" as a form of narcissism. He sees the rise of Multiculturalism as divisive.

Fukuyama calls for the need of a strong national identity, with an official language and civics classes and shared cultural values. This need not negate diversity. He writes, 'National identities can be built around liberal and democratic political values, and the common experiences that provide the connect tissue around which diverse communities can thrive." He mentions India, France, Canada as countries who have successfully created a strong national identity that embraces a diverse population.

Fukuyama asks, "How do we translate these abstract ideas into concrete policies at the current movement?" He continues, "We can start by trying to counter the specific abuses that have driven assertions of identity," by protecting the rights of minorities and women, and promoting "creedal national identities" based on the ideals of a liberal democracy. He also calls for better assimilation of immigrants.

by Frances Fukuyama
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9780374129293

My frustration is that the policies presented in these books are not easily or quickly accomplished. Focusing on education will prepare future generations for citizenship if we can hold things together until then.

These books were challenging reads and I am glad I read them. They are interesting as a study of how we 'got to here' but I left with the need for something more to hold on to, something concrete that offers me real hope and surety.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Red & White Quilts: 14 Quilts with Timeless Appeal

I adore red and white quilts and was eager to get a look at Red & White Quilts from That Patchwork Place.

Fourteen designers were asked to create a red and white quilt they would treasure for a lifetime. 

Red and white quilts have been popular for generations. Turkey Red was one of the few colorfast dyes available to early quilters who could pair the red with white and not worry about bleeding. Today the color combo continues to attract quilters.
Red & White Quilts includes patterns ranging from the vintage-inspired to a modern vibe that will appeal to young people today.

One of my favorite quilts in the book is this mandala inspired wall hanging. It makes me happy to look at it! Helen's instructions for applique uses a glue stick, a tool I have been enjoying in my applique work.

Flower Power by Helen Stubbings, 52" x 52"
Patterns include patchwork, applique, and English paper piecing, each with an artist's statement and step-by-step illustrated instructions.

The designers include Lissa Alexander, Karen Styles, Susan Ache, Jill Shaulis, Helen Stubbings, Sarah Huechteman, Debbie Roberts, Lisa Bongean, Sue Daley, Kim Diehl, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Carrie Nelson, Camille Roskelley, and Jen Kingwell.

One of these quilts could be your next masterpiece, a showstopper stunner to be proud of!

Circles are a clear theme in several of the quilts. Sue creates large medallions with English Paper Piecing and presented in a Medallion setting.

Forever Thoughtful by Sue Daly, 64 1/2" x 64 1/2"
This original quilt on a circle motif uses interesting techniques that will expand your repertoire.
Enough With the Curves by Jen Kingwell, 46 1/2" x 46 1/2"
Don't let this stunner scare you! The diamonds are made with strips! Set-in seams are not as hard as you fear, thanks to good instructions.
Ruby Jubilee by Karen Styles, 76 1/2" x 76 1/2"
 This star block variation in scrappy red and white feels fresh and modern.
DayDreams by Camille Roskelley, 70" x 70"
Inspired by antique quilts, this is actually made of Flying Geese blocks. Instructions for using Triangle Paper is offered. Lisa starches her fabric well when working with small pieces.
Memory of a Masterpiece by Lisa Bongean, 76 1/2" x 76 1/2"
 Flying Geese around a common star makes for a dynamic quilt!
Stars in Flight by Jill Shaulis, 42 1/2" x 42 1/2"
Pieced units are sewn log-cabin style to form the blocks in this unique quilt. This photo doesn't do it justice as the quilt in its entirety has an almost Three-D effect.
Twisted Cabin by Sarah Huechteman, 76 1/2" x 76 1/2"
The alternating color in the blocks creates an interesting design with a lot of visual activity in the quilt below. It again uses strip sets to make the triangles.
Happy Accident by Susan Ache, 76 1/2" x 96 1/2"
A pieced quilt can fool the eye into seeing circles!
Sweet Dreams by Lissa Alexander, 78 1/2" x 96 1/2"
Inspired by antique Turkey Track blocks, Debbie's quilt adds a floral wreath center that keeps the design from being too heavy.
Tracking Tradition by Debbie Roberts, 57 1/2" x 60 1/2"
Kim collected fabrics in a range of values then mixed piecing and applique to make this Modern Traditional quilt.
Scarlet Song by Kim Diehl, 63 1/2" x 63 1/2"
Here is another way to use your red fabrics in a scrappy quilt. The zig-zag pattern constrains the scraps in its powerful design.
Walk With Way by Carrie Nelson, 71" x 76 1/2"
Victoria loves repetitive patterns using simple shapes. This unique quilt has a lot of activity that keeps the eye guessing.
Crowd Pleaser by Victoria Findlay Wolfe, 88 1/2" x 98 1/2"
I hope you are inspired to make your own red and white quilt to cherish!

I received a free ebook from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Red & White Quilts: 14 Quilts with Timeless Appeal From Today's Top Designers
On Sale Date: November 15, 2018
ISBN 9781604689624, 1604689625
Paperback |  112 pages
$27.99 USD, £26.99 GBP

Red and White Single Wedding Ring, circa 1915, made by Harriet Nelson

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg

Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg revisits characters from The Story of Arthur Truluv. I enjoyed Truluv very much and looked forward to this novel. (Read my review here.)

In Truluv, the elderly Arthur mourns his wife but carries on by investing in others, a truly loving man who rescues a lonely teenager and befriends a cantankerous neighbor lady, Lucille. Arthur dies but leaves his home to the teenager, who rents it to Lucille who, thanks to Arthur's encouragement,  is teaching baking classes.

The family who moves into Lucille's old house is dealing with a health crisis and Lucille helps care for their son. She hires an assistant who has just left an unhappy marriage. And meantime, Tiny and Monica are carrying torches for each other at the local cafe' but are unable to work up the courage to say anything.

As much as I enjoyed Truluv, I was not captivated by Miracle.

Early on, I was confused by too many characters, introduced in their separate stories. There was way too much space spent on the baking of cakes--meanwhile, the would-be lovers worry about weight and food. First I was craving a lush moist cake or snickerdoodles then I was reminded I am on a diet. I was not taken by the miraculous ending. Not my kind of book at all. Way too much sugar. But if you love It's a Wonderful Life, dive right in. This is your book! Too much reality isn't good for us anyway.

I received a free ebook from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Night of Miracles
by Elizabeth Berg
Random House
Pub Date 13 Nov 2018
ISBN 9780525509509
PRICE $26.00 (USD)

Read my review of Berg's novel on George Sand, The Dream Lover, here.

Read about seeing Berg speak at a local library here.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Latecomers by Helen Klein Ross

The Latecomers by Helen Klein Ross is a multi-generational story of an American family and the Irish immigrant with whom they share a secret. Ross was inspired by a real 1853 Connecticut house, Holleywood.

The novel begins in 1908 when Bridey and Thom plan to secretly marry and immigrate to America because of the feud between their Irish families. The marriage is delayed but the couple board the ship.  Thom dies of ship fever, leaving a pregnant Bridey to fend for herself in America.

Bridey must give her son for adoption and is hired as a maid for the wealthy Hollingsworth family. Their relationship becomes complicated upon the death of the patriarch, causing Bridey to return to Ireland.

The story follows the Hollingsworth family through the generations, set against the burgeoning changes in American life. A long-lost secret is rediscovered through genealogical research.

I had just finished watching Downton Abbey for the first time (yes, I know, years after everyone else saw it.) The early part of the novel reminded me of that series, from the time era to the upstairs/downstairs multigenerational relationships. Except, this story is set in America and continues into contemporary times.

Ross's extensive research shows in the period details she includes in the story. Historical fiction fans who enjoy learning about history in a sprawling novel spanning generations will enjoy this book.

I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

The Latecomers
by Helen Klein Ross
Little, Brown and Company
Pub Date 06 Nov 2018
ISBN 9780316476867
PRICE $27.00 (USD)

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Happy Birthday Aunt Pat

For my Aunt Pat Ramer's 80th birthday I researched her family tree on Aunt Pat married my mother's brother Dave Ramer. I discovered that her maternal line goes back to the earliest settlers in Connecticut! Aunt Pat is the proud wife and daughter of  Navy men, so I know she will be thrilled to learn that her ancestors served in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and WWII.

Aunt Pat and Uncle Dave

Maternal Family Tree of Patricia Margaret MacDonald Ramer

John Reynolds/Renalls 1637-1702
9th great-grandfather and first generation in America
Joseph Renalls 1660-1729
Son of John Reynolds
John Joshua Reynolds 1691-1742
Son of Joseph Reynolds
John Joseph 1727-1799
Son of John Joshua
David W. Reynolds 1752-1832
Son of John Joseph
Samuel Reynolds 1774-1850
Son of David W.
Samuel Reynolds 1803-1857
Son of Samuel
Edwin Miles Reynolds 1830-1857
Son of Samuel
Eugene F. Reynolds 1858-1956
Son of Edwin Miles
Eugene Heman Reynolds 1883-1971
Son of Eugene F.
Margaret Veronica Reynolds 1906-2000
Daughter of Eugene Heman
Patricia Margaret MacDonald

John Reynolds/Renalds/Ranells 

John Reynolds was born about 1637 and arrived in America in 1655. His father was one of three John Reynolds immigrants who came from England to America in 1635 and several who came via the Caribbean. Perhaps his father was John Reynolds of Wethersfield, CT who was in America by 1640.

John first is found in Old Saybrook (Lyme), Hartford County, Ct. on the east side of the Connecticut River now called Lyme.

Saybrook was settled in 1635-6 by John Winthrop, Jr. who built the fort and plantation or township. During the 1638 Pequot War it was a military base and continued in this use until 1647 when the fort burned.

In May 1659 the inhabitants of Saybrook were given permission to found the settlement they names Norwich, perhaps after their birthplace in England. The Mohegan Chief Uncas and his brother Wawequaw were paid for the land by the thirty-five settlers.

On December 3, 1659, John sold his house and land and with other Saybrook settlers moved to the wilderness to found Norwich, CT.

History and Description of early Norwich, CT
Norwichtown was founded in 1659 by settlers from Old Saybrook led by Major John Mason and Reverend James Fitch. They purchased the land "nine miles square" that would become Norwich from the local Native Mohegan Sachem Uncas. The 69 founding families soon divided up the land in the Norwichtown vicinity for farms and businesses. When the settlers arrived, “A few wigwams were scattered here and there, the occasional abodes of wandering Indians...But in every other respect, the land was in its wild natural state.” “The early houses covered a large area, but they were seldom thoroughly finished, and the upper rooms, of course, were cold and comfortless.  The old houses were generally square, heavy buildings with stone chimneys that occupied a large space in the center. The posts and rafters were of great size and solidity, and in the rooms heavy beams stood out from the ceilings overhead and projected like a low, narrow bench around the sides. The floors were made of stout plant, with a trip-door leading to the cellar. The line of shelves in the kitchen, called the dresser, often displayed a superb row of burnished pewter, performed the office of side-board and closet. The best apartment was used for the sleeping room and even the kitchen was often furnished with a bed. The ceilings were low, and the fire-place, running deep into the chimney, gaped like an open cavern. But when the heaped-up logs presented a front of glowing coals and upward rushing flame, when storms were raging without, or the heavy snows obliterate the landscape, such a foundation of warmth not only quickened the blood but cheered the heart, inspired gratitude, and promoted social festivity.”

He was a wheelwright by trade, took the Freeman’s Oath in 1663, and was a selectman (the board in a small town that acted as mayor) in 1669.

John died July 22, 170,2 in Norwich, New London, CT and is buried in the Founder’s Cemetery as an original settler of Norwich.  In his will he left his house, 79 acres, farm implements, and wheelwrights tools to his only living son Joseph.

John married Sarah Backus (1628-1702) whose father was William Backus, born in England and settled in Old Saybrook, CT before 1637 and died in 1661 in Norwich, CT. He arrived on the ship Rainbow. John later Married Judith Palmer (1646-1716)

John’s children included
  • John b. 1655 in Saybrook. While spreading flax, he was killed and scalped  by Native Americans during King Philip's War on 1/24/1676
  • Sarah b. 1656 married John Post
  • Susana b. 1658 married Joseph Kelley
  • Mary b. 1664 married Lothrop
  • Elizabeth b. 1666 married Lyman
  • Stephen b 1669 d 1687
  • Lydia b 1671 married Miller
  • Joseph  m Sarah Edgerton
King Philip’s War
A trial in Plymouth Colony resulted in the execution of three Wampanoag men. This caused their leader Metacomet to attack the city of Swansea, burning the town to the ground and killing many of the settlers. Over the course of the next year, 600 English colonists were killed and twelve towns completely destroyed. Around 3,000 Native Americans were killed and more were captured and shipped off to slavery. The few Native Americans left were eventually forced off their lands by the expanding colonists.

Headstone for Joseph Renalls

Joseph Renalls/Reynolds

Joseph was born in March 1660 and died in 1729.

In 1688 Joseph married Sarah Edgerton (1667-1714), who was the daughter of Richard (1620-1692) and Mary Sylvester Edgerton (1625-1692), founding settlers in Norwich. Richard served as constable and townsmen.

In 1714, John was licensed to keep a house of entertainment and rented to lodgers. “To be so licensed then, one must be a man of good repute and possessed of comfortable means.” John was a widower at this time. In 1718 he deeded the house to his son John.

Children of Joseph and Sarah

  • John 1691-1742
  • Mary 1693-1781 who married Robert Warren
  • Joseph 1695-1756 who married Hannah Bingham
  • Stephen 1698-1731 who married Mary Sanford
  • Daniel 1701-1701
  • Lydia b. 1702
  • Daniel b. 1705-1706
  • Sarah b 1707 who married John Calkins

John Joshua Reynolds

John was born Feb. 24 1691 in Norwich, New London, Connecticut and died on August 19, 1742, in Norwich. John inherited a large estate and was quite wealthy.

He married Lydia Lord, daughter of Captain Richard and Elizabeth Hyde Lord of Lyme, CT. Lydia was described as a “remarkable Christian woman” who lived to be 92 years old, 40 years a widow. The Lord family arrived in America in 1635, first settling in Cambridge before removing with Rev. Thomas Hooker and other settlers to found Hartford, CT.

Children of Joseph and Lydia

  • John d 1752 when his horse ran against a tree
  • Deborah b 1721
  • Ann b. 173
  • Sarah b. 1725
  • Ruth b. 1727
  • John b. 1730
  • Joseph b. 1732
  • Abigail b. 1734
  • Lydia b. 1736
  • Elizabeth b. 1738

Lt. John Joseph Reynolds

Joseph was born August 27, 1727, in Greenwich, CT and died on November 27, 1779, in Dutchess CO, NY. Joseph married Martha Tibbets.

Children of Joseph and Martha
  • Lydia 1752-1804
  • Eliphalet 1753-1849
  • John b. 1753
  • Israel 1753-1812
  • Parker 1755-1833
  • David Gardner 1756-1833
  • Joanna/Hannah 1757-1826
  • Asa 1759-1834
  • Stephen 1776-1854
  • Daniel 1778-1851
  • John 1785-1862
  • Silas 1786-1855
Joseph served in the Revolutionary War in the 1st Regiment CT Volunteer Artillery, having “joined and enlisted after muster in of battery” on June 28, 1798.

According to an application for Sons of the Revolution, Joseph served under Brigadier Gen. Nathaniel Woodhull during the Battle for Long Island. The soldiers were driving cattle away from Tory farms so they could not be used by the British and they prevented communication between the Tories and the British. Gen. Woodhull was ordered to fall back to Jamaica, NY where he was captured by the British and taken to a prison ship at Gravesend. His arm was amputated and he died Sept. 20, 1776. Gen. Woodhull’s brother Abraham was a spy for Gen. Washington, the story popularized in the television series Turn.

David W. Reynolds

David was born 1752 in Horseneck, Fairfield, CT and died March 31, 1832, in Dennysville, ME.

During the War of 1812 David enlisted in Lyme. CT in April 1777. He served under Capt. Ely for three years then was waiter to Lt. Col. Sills. He was taken prisoner at Tarrytown but escaped from a British prison ship at Passamaquoddy. He received a land grant in Maine for his service. His pension records show in 1818 he received eight allotments a year for a total of 48 pounds a year.

David married Hannah Hastings. Their children are
  • Isaac P 1773-1850
  • Samuel 1774-1850
  • Rhoda 1780-1787
  • Eliphalet 1804-1881
  • Thirza 1807-1880
  • Eliza 1810-1866

Samuel H. Reynolds

Samuel was born in 1774 in Horseneck, Fairfield, CT, moved to Yates Co, NY and then Allegheny Co, NY  then settled near Adrian, MI. He died suddenly in December 1849 in Lenawee County, MI. Samuel served in the War of 1812.

In 1803, Samuel married Abigail Belden or Belding (1777-1852) in CT. Abigail’s father Thomas Belding (1732-1782) was from Wethersfield, Hartford CT. He appears on the 1840 Fairfield CT census.

Children of Samuel and Abigail
  • Leonard 1801-1882
  • Samuel 1803-1857
  • Almira 1805-1881
  • Moses 1806-1886
  • Mary (Polly) 1809-1893
  • Julia Ann 1812-1900 m. St. John
  • William Pitt 1816-1900
  • Joseph Beldon 1818-1883
Samuel was a veteran of the War of 1812 and veteran records show he is buried in Rome Township, Michigan. Grandson, Wesley Reynolds in Illustrated History and Biographical Record of Lenawee County, Michigan by John I. Knapp states Samuel and family came to Michigan from New York in Sep. 1836. They "were farmers of Greene County, NY, Samuel was a soldier of the War of 1812. He came to Michigan with his wife late in life and died at his son William's at Wolf Creek, this county in 1850 aged 76. His wife died about two years after, aged 75 years.

The 1790 census shows Samuel living in Fairfield, CT.

Samuel Reynolds

Samuel was born December 1803 in Greenfield, NY and died March 22, 1857, in Humphrey, Cattaraugus, NY. He married Elizabeth Ann Hoyt (1812-1853) in 1826. He later married Lovina Slade in 1854 who had children Lucy and Edwin Hollister from her first marriage. Samuel was a farmer.

Children of Samuel and Ann
  • Samuel b. 1825
  • Cordelia Charlotte 1828-1916
  • Lydia Ann b. 1833
  • Martin Matillas 1835-1904
  • William Hoyt 1837-1907
  • Charles Elmer 1840-1848
  • Almira C. b. 1845
  • John Wesley 1847-1848
  • Manly Frank 1849-1902
  • Walter Wilden 1853-1941
Children of Samuel and Lovina
  • Lucy b. 1846
  • Edwin b. 1852
  • Parley Hollister b. 1856
The 1850 Humphrey, Cattaraugus census shows Samuel as a farmer. The 1855 New York State census shows Samuel aged 51 and Lovina aged 39. A May 3, 1858 probate record show Samuel’s estate went to Lovina Reynolds and Chase Fuller.

Eugene Miles Reynolds

Eugene M. was born June 1830 in Livingston County, NY and died July 1901 in Salamanca, Cattaraugus, NY. He was a cooper by trade.

Eugene M. married Alzina J. Leonard, daughter of Edwin S. and Lydianne Leonard. Eugene M. and Alzina had children
  • Ervine or Irvine M.
  • Perry E.
  • Mary Jeanette
  • Eugene F.
  • Lillian Blanche
  • Eugene
  • William
  • Sylvester
  • Rosalia
After Alzina’s death, Eugene M. married Lucinda B. Stoddard and they had children
  • Ada B.
  • Edwin S.
  • Frank B.
The 1850 and 1860  Humphrey, Cattaraugus, NY Federal census and the 1855 NY census shows Eugene M. and Alzina farming.  He and Alzina lived next door to her parents. The 1865 Livingston County, New York State census shows Eugene was a cooper. The 1900 Cattaraugus, NY census shows Eugene was a dentist and a widower.

Eugene F. Reynolds

Eugene F. was born February 9, 1858, in Orlean, Cattaraugus, NY and died February 20, 1952, in Buffalo, NY.

Eugene married Margaret Ferrier (b. 1861) whose father was born in Germany and her mother was born in France.

Their children were
  • Hettie
  • Myrtil
  • Sulter
  • Eugene H.
  • Luther F.
  • Arlen Rollin
  • Maleska Lillian
  • Eleckta
The 1880 Cattaraugus, NY census shows Eugene was a fireman. The 1892 New Y0ok State census and the 1900 Concord, NY Federal census shows Eugene was a sawyer. The 1910 Concord, NY census shows Eugene worked as foreman of a railroad gang and Margaret was a milliner with her own shop. The 1920 Concord, NY census shows Eugene was a derrick engineer on the railroad. The 1930 Springville, NY census shows Eugene was 21 when he married and Margaret was 18. His son Eugene H. supported his parents as a telegrapher at this time. The 1940 Springville, NY census shows he was a laborer on the railroad and had completed high school.

Eugene Reynolds of Springville, photo from family tree

Eugene H. Reynolds

Born August 1883 in Springville, NY and died in 1971 in Tonawanda, NY.

Eugene’s middle name was recorded as Seaman on the Social Security application claims index. But on his WWI Draft registrations, he wrote it as Heaman.

Eugene married Mary A. Larkin, daughter of Adam Ferrier born in Germany, on October 13, 1904. Mary had an older brother named Heman. Heman is a Biblical name from I Kings. Its popularity peaked around 1900.

The 1910 census shows Eugene working as a telegraph operator living with his family in Cattaraugus. The 1915 NY State census shows Eugene living in Concord, Erie Co, NY. and two of Mary’s sisters lived with the family. The 1920 census shows the family living in Concord Twp, Erie County, NY. where Eugene was an operator for the railroad. The 1925 NY State census shows Eugene and Mary living with son Eugene who was now a telegraph operator while his father was a “bridge carpenter.” The family had a servant and Mary’s sister lived with them as well. The 1930 census shows that Eugene was a telegraph operator for the steam railroad.

Children of Eugene and Mary
  • Tedman b. 1904
  • Densmore b. 1905
  • Margaret Veronica 1906-2000
  • Irene May b. 1909
  • Patricia Ethel 1910-1993
  • Irene M. b. 1911

Margaret Reynolds

Margaret Veronica Reynolds MacDonald

Margaret was born January 6, 1906, in Springville, NY and died April 3, 2000, in Tonawanda, NY.
Margaret married Allan Campbell MacDonald on February 7, 1908, in New York and died March 13, 1984, in N. Tonawanda, NY. Allan was a WWII Navy veteran. He enlisted on March 29, 1944, and was released on December 10, 1945. His father may be Allan McDonald born 1882 in Canada and died September 30, 1927, in N. Tonawanda, NY.
Allan MacDonald

Allan MacDonald in his fireman uniform
Children of Allan and Margaret:
  • Veronica b. 1934 
  • Patricia Margaret b. 1939 
  • Michael 
Patricia Margaret MacDonald

Pat married Lynne David Ramer in December 1950. Dave was born on Dec. 24, 193,5 in Kane, PA and died April 29, 1988 in Royal Oak, Michigan.

Children of Pat and Dave
  • Debora Ann 1959-2018
  • Cynthia Patricia b. 1960
  • Linda Mary b, 1964

Aunt Pat and family
Dave served in the Navy.

He was on the crew of a mini-sub in the Chesapeake Bay, the SSX-1. I visited Annapolis twice while he was working on this sub in the 1960s. It was painted a fluorescent orange and patrolled the Chesapeake Bay.

He also worked on the USS Angler 240.
Dave Ramer

The sub was declared to be toxic according to this article found at

The USS Angler SS 240 has been declared to be toxic, asbestos was used as a construction material in items commonly found on large ships. Asbestos is made up of tiny fibers, so the asbestos on board the USS Angler SS 240 could have been inhaled by the members of her crew, or could have stuck to the items being delivered to other ships. Asbestos can easily cling to most surfaces, and then be released into the air later. This led to the possibility that any person on a ship which received goods from the Angler might also have been exposed to this toxic material and these deadly asbestos fibers were also utilized within the piping duct systems construction. Exposure to asbestos is very dangerous and can lead to potentially deadly diseases such as asbestos cancer otherwise known as mesothelioma.

Operation Pacific (Warner Bros., 1951) Under John Wayne's leadership, the submarine Thunderfish fights the Japanese and rescues nuns and children. This film, the first of a spate of World War II submarine movies released during the 1950s, was loosely based on the true stories of the USS Angler (SS-240) and Growler (SS-215). Admiral Charles Lockwood, the commander of submarine operations in the Pacific, served as technical advisor.


Lynn D. Ramer, U.S.N., Retired

Lynne D. Ramer, U.S.N., retired, 52, a 19-year resident of Ferndale, died Friday, April 29, 1988 in William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak. He was born Dec. 24, 1935 in Kane, PA.

Mr. Ramer, who served in the US Navy in EN1 from 1955 to 1974, was a member of Fleet Reserve Association Branch 24 and the Solhin Club of Detroit. An employee of the City of Ferndale Water Department for 11 years, Mr. Ramer served as president of AFSCME Local 3120. he also belonged to the George W. Danuk American Legion Post 330 in Ferndale.

From 'We Notice That' column in Lewistown Sentinel, July 27, 1961. Submitted by Lynne O. Ramer to Ben Meyers: "July 16, 1961 "Arrived in 95-degree weather on the banks of the Severn River, directly across from the complex of our first USN Academy for would-be Admirals. Before the night was was in the innards of the USS-X1, our only four-man, 49-ft. sub, of which our son is a crewmember. Total of eight men in the crew." " July 4-10, Annapolis, MD. Daily jaunts into old Annapolis, around naval academy watching the X-1 crewmen doing aqua lung practices..."

New Project for Crewman Dave Ramer on Tiny Sub
We Notice That Column by Ben Meyers, in the Lewiston Sentinel, Lewiston, PA on May 6, 1968:

Loss of the atomic-powered sub the Scorpion was of special interest to Lynne Ramer. One of his twins sons is a submariner in the U.S. Navy, having been serving on the submersibles for 14 years or from 1954.

Lynne, a native of Milroy and now residing in Berkely, Michigan where he works for General Motors, reminded us about his son David while he (the dad) stopped here on his way to Annapolis to visit the submarine crewman.

Dave Ramer, with a rating of ENI(35), is one of the crewman aboard the Navy's only midget sub. It is based at Annapolis but is being moved from there for some special underwater project. The sub is known as the X-1 (SSX-1).

Now this streamlined midget weighs 30 tons, is 49 1/2 feet long, is diesel-electric powered and has a complement of two officers and six senior enlisted men.

The X-1 was accepted by the Navy and placed in service in October 1955 at New London, Conn. Test runs, extensive trials, and operations were made and then the craft received an availability. Then in December 1957 it was inactivated.

Lynne informs us that the tiny sub in 1960 was brought back into service as a Naval Research laboratory project. It operated in the Chesapeake Bay with a team of scientists watching it from a 10-ton aluminum cradle suspended from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Purpose of the project was to learn more about the basic properties and actions of seawater by direct observation of the Bay's eastern channel. Involved were weather forecasting as well as the fishing industry and military security.

"In 1969 the X-1 crew and families will be transferred to Panama City, FL, so this will be our last trip to Annapolis," Lynne informs us.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

David Grann's masterful account of the Osage Murders is one of the most horrifying histories I have read. Uncovering layer after layer of murders, Grann exposes an entire society in which (supposed) upstanding pillars of society committed horrendous crimes then orchestrated a massive cover-up. 

The Osage had been savvy enough to reserve the mineral rights to the land they bought and became rich leasing the rights to oil companies. White society did everything to limit the natives' access to their own money, requiring them to find trustees to handle their affairs. When the Osage began to die--of poison, guns, and bombs--their money landed in the hands of white trustees and spouses.

What kind of person raises children with a spouse and then participates in their murder---for money? One would think only a rare sociopath, but Grann discovers a whole was society complicit.

I commend Grann for his amazing research and his determination to find the truth and for his sensitivity and compassion toward the Osage and their heirs.

I received a book from my Goodreads friend Allen. Thank you!

“[C]lose to impeccable. It’s confident, fluid in its dynamics, light on its feet…. The crime story it tells is appalling, and stocked with authentic heroes and villains. It will make you cringe at man’s inhumanity to man.” 
—The New York Times

from the publisher:

A New York Times Notable Book

Named a best book of the year by Amazon, Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, GQ, Time, Newsday, Entertainment Weekly, Time Magazine, NPR, Vogue, Smithsonian, Cosmopolitan, Seattle Times, Bloomberg, Lit Hub, and Slate

From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Lost City of Z, a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. One of her relatives was shot. Another was poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more Osage were dying under mysterious circumstances, and many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. 

As the death toll rose, the newly created FBI took up the case, and the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including a Native American agent who infiltrated the region, and together with the Osage began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.