Wednesday Nostalgia

As you probably know by now, I’m fascinated by names. Especially names from long ago. They cause me pause (why did the parents chose that particular name?) and cause me to laugh. (Sorry, ancestors.)

Here are some I’ve gleaned recently:

Zymetta Phillips 1875, m. Joan Abston

Onesephorus Masch, had dau, Hannah, b, 1757, Boston

Aylett Waller, m. Miss Armstead

Lorcufo Phillips

Maphibosheth Marsh, original settler of NJ

Truman Derastus Phillips, b. 1731, PA

Zalmuna Phillips, 1804-1883, m. Eunice Cobb

Lerias Phillips, m. 1816 Elizabeth Smith

Please use the comment box below to share some of the more unusual names from your pedigree. 

Wednesday Nostalgia

Know what this is? It’s Solanum tuberosum…… does that help?? Does this?

Washington is known for its apples but did you realize that potatoes in Washington have a much longer history. Back in 1792, Salvador Fidalgo, a Spanish marine explorer, supervised the planting of the first garden in Washington (by white folks) at Neah Bay. He used potato starts brought from San Blas, Mexico. The crop yielded enough to feed his crew.  Then in 1795, Englishmen planted potatoes near present-day Ilwaco. In 1825, Fort Astoria had a “promising crop” of potatoes. Didn’t take long for farmer-settlers to realize that Washington’s fertile soil would yield bounteous potato crops; “many a farmer reported harvesting potatoes that weighed eight to ten pounds and tasted far better than cake or ice cream.”

“Read all about” this subject in the Fall 1996 issue of Columbia a magazine of northwest history. I’m gleaning from an article by Jacqueline Williams.

Wednesday Nostalgia

Know what this is? U.S. census takers, as well as Lewis & Clark in their journals, used one of these.

This is a replica of a quill pen, a writing instrument from long ago. I spotted these in the gift shop of the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls, Montana. Maybe they were “true” and maybe just “for tourists,” but they looked very difficult to use ….. and what a broad line they would make.

quill pen is a writing implement made from a moulted flight feather (preferably a primary wing-feather) of a large bird. Quills were used for writing with ink before the invention of the dip pen, the metal-nibbed pen, the fountain pen, and, eventually, the ballpoint pen. The hand-cut goose quill is rarely used as a calligraphy tool, because many papers are now derived from wood pulpand wear down the quill very quickly. However, it is still the tool of choice for a few scribes who noted that quills provide an unmatched sharp stroke as well as greater flexibility than a steel pen.  (Thank you, Wikipedia.)


Wednesday Nostalgia

In rural southeast Spokane County there are three cemeteries with nearly the same name: Mica Cemetery, Mica Peak Cemetery, and Mica Creek Cemetery. They all date back 100 years ago. One is weed-overgrown and two are dry-mowed tidy. This is wheat farming country, big time.  Since they’re all on Elder Road, on the way to Lake Coeur d’Alene, of course I had to stop and roam around.

And of course the stories behind the stones captured my mind. Little baby boy Homer Jay Kidwell  was only three years old when he died that cold winter of 1913.  His baby brother or sister apparently died without even a name at the age of only one month in that hot summer of  1906. Think of the expense and effort to place a tombstone on the grave of those little boys! Sigh.

Wednesday Nostalgia

Remember the awful-terrible-horrendous fires near Manson and Chelan a couple of years ago? My long-time friend Maureen White accomplished something too many of us only think about or maybe talk about. She went about interviewing her Manson-Chelan neighbors, collecting their memories of that memorable day and had them all published in a book.

Titled Burned Out,  Maureen created a tangible memory-artifact for those who lost their homes or just lived through that awful-terrible day. Big Special Kudos, Maureen (proud member of the Chelan Valley Genealogical Society)!!

Wednesday Nostalgia

Ever taken the time to visit the Mukilteo Lighthouse on the waterfront down from Everett? It’s been there since 1906 (Everett was founded in the 1860s). The area has been turned into a lovely little public park and if I lived closer I’d go often! Luck you Everett-and-nearby folks.

Wednesday Nostalgia

All my Wenatchee friends kept talking about “the Pybus” as in “it’s happening at the Pybus” or “let’s go to lunch at the Pybus.” What the heck was the Pybus I wondered??

The Pybus is a thriving, vibrant community center in downtown Wenatchee! There are shops and eateries….a totally fun place. And what a transformation from an old steel-plant-warehouse.

E.T.Pybus was reared in northern England, immigrated early to the U.S., married in the Midwest, and ultimately moved his family west, settling in Wenatchee in 1911 where he founded a steel manufacturing plant. If you want to know more (and there is lots more!) just Google his name. I found two most interesting articles outlining his life and career.

E.T. “Tom” Pybus lies resting in the Wenatchee City Cemetery. I wonder how wide his eyes would pop open to see the transformation of his business into our businesses………..

Wednesday Nostalgia

Ever been to The Brick in Roslyn? I know the place from my favorite TV show, Northern Exposure. But The Brick has a cool history.

In 1889, John Buffo and Peter Giovanni opened a tavern in this location. The tavern was rebuilt in 1898 using 45,000 bricks and took the name “The Brick”.

Want to read more about this famous Washington saloon? Click to  Lots of good stuff there.

Today The Brick looks a bit sad and sorry………..  too bad.

Wednesday Nostalgia

Might can you identify the “Triangle of Fire”….. as it pertains to Washington history?

The great Washington history website,, gave me a super article on this topic: “Triangle of Fire: The Harbor Defenses of Puget Sound (1897-1953)”

The triangle of forts included Fort Worden (Port Townsend), Fort Casey (Whidbey Island) and Fort Flagler (Marrowstone Island).  I’ve visited these places……. all have beautiful walking beaches. (smile)

I think we, as Washington residents and tourists in our own state, need to understand fully about WHAT it is we’re looking at and walking around upon. HistoryLink will further your education in that department.

Wednesday Nostalgia

Many of us are bird watchers. Some casual, some hard-core. Me, I’m casual but I do enjoy Close Encounters of the Avian Kind.

My son, Timothy, took this photo of baby barn swallows on the cusp of fledging (they were gone next day). Momma built her nest in a hollow of an upright dock-holding-log on Lake Coeur d’Alene.  Barn swallows, with their blue and white coloration, and forked tail, are widely recognized all over the U.S. Might say they’re everybody’s most-recognizable bird. Did you know they can swallow 60 insects per hour? Or a whopping 850 million in one day??

Don’t you think our ancestors were bird watchers too? I’ve read diaries where New England,  Atlantic seacoast transplants and immigrants from forested countries to the mid-western prairies missed their birds (among many other things). There were none-to-few trees and hence, no birds. Another culture shock for sure.