Let’s Talk About: Bits & Pieces, This ‘N That

If you are (as I am!) a fan of the TV Star Trek spinoff show Deep Space 9, then you recognize Quark, the Ferengi barkeeper on that station. Ever wonder where the script writers find these crazy terms? WELL, ferengi is a old recognized word meaning foreignerCool, eh?

Here’s a quote from Valorie Zimmerman, VP of the Washington State Genealogical Society, referencing the recent awards’ announcement:  “It’s so good to see so many genealogical societies swimming together!” We agree, Val. 

One innovative airline seems to have captured a unique clientele…. for an incredibly hefty price, they will fly your pet in comfort to your destination. Apparently they noticed that there has been a steady rise in the number of people traveling with their pets and have not been happy with the restrictions placed on these special passengers.  Really?

Do you know where the longest bridge is in Washington? Constructed in 1966, the 21,474 foot long behemoth was built to connect Astoria, Oregon, to Megler, Washington. It was build so people could cross the Columbia River at its mouth quicker and safer. 

Aristotle called the hand the “tool of tools; Kant, “the visible part of the brain.” The earliest works of art was handprints on the walls of caves. Throughout history hand gestures have symbolized the range of human experience: power, tenderness, creativity,, conflict and even bravo. Without hands, civilization would be inconceivable.  So the discovery in 2011 of the bones of a dozen right hands at a site were the ancient Egyptian city of Avaris once stood, was particularly unsettling. To skip to the end of the story, the ritual seems to have become standard practice in Egypt, with soldiers returning from combat and presenting the dismembered right hands of defeated foes to their pharaoh or military commander. (Want to read more? The story was in the newspaper; New York Times, Franz Lidz, photo by Julia Gresky.) 

Would you have guessed that they’re still finding unexploded shells on the Gettysburg battlefield? Yep, according to a bit in the May/June 2023 Archaeology Magainze, a U.S. Army ordnance disposal team was summoned to Gettysburg when a 160-year-old live artillery shell was uncovered during archaeologizl work. The 7-inch long unexploded round was found two feet below the surface near a rocky outcrop known as the Little Round Top.  Unbelievable, no? 

Let’s Talk About: Gems From Old Family Histories

Transcript from Genealogy of the Anthony Family from 1495-1904, compiled by

Charles L. Anthony in 1904.

Page 18-20:  Dr. Francis Anthony, London, born 1550, died 1623. A very learned physician and chemist of the last century. His father was an eminent goldsmith in the city of London and had employment of considerable value in the jewel office of Queen Elizabeth. This son was born April 16, 1550, and having been carefully instructed in the first rudiments of learning at home, was send, about the year 1569 to the University of Cambridge, where he studied with great diligence and success and sometime in the year 1574 took the degree of Master of Arts. It appears from his writing that he applied himself for many years and studied the theory and practice of chemistry, leaving Cambridge at the age of 40. He began soon after his arrival, to publish to the world the effects of his chemical studies and in the year 1598 send abroad his first treatise concerning the excellency of a medicine drawn from gold. He commenced medical practice in London without a license from the College of Physicians, and after six months was called before the President and Censors of the College, A.D. 1600.

He was interdicted (forbidden/prohibited) to practice; for disregarding this injunction, he was fined five pounds and committed to prison, whence he was released by a warrant of the Lord Chief Justice. The college however got him recommitted and Anthony submitted.

Being again prosecuted for the same offense and refusing to pay a heavy fine, he was kept in prison eight months until released on petition of his wife on the grounds of poverty in 1602. But he continued to practice in defiance of the college and further proceedings were threatened but not carried out, probably because Anthony had powerful friends in court.

His practice consisted chiefly, if not entirely, in the prescription and sale of a secret remedy called “Aurum Potable,” from which he derived a considerable fortune.

He died May 26, 1623, leaving two sons, John and Charles (by his first wife, Susan Howe). John became a physician in London and Charles practiced at Bedford. He died in his seventy-fourth year and was buried in the church of St. Bartholomew the Great. In the aisle that joins the north side of the chancel, a handsome monument has been erected to his memory with a very remarkable inscription:

“Sacred to the memory of the worth and learned

Francis Anthony, Dr of Physic

There needs no verse to beautify they praise,

Or keep in memory thy spotless name

Religion, virtue and they skill did raise

A three-fold pillar to thy lasting fame

Though poisonous envy ever fought to blame

Or hide the fruits of thy intention,

Yet shall they comment that high design

Of purest gold to make a medicine,

That feels they help by that, thy rare invention.”

The career of Dr. Anthony and his conflict with the College of Physicians illustrated the condition of the medical profession in the 17th century. He was obnoxious to the college, not only because he practiced without a license, but because he kept the composition of his remedy a secret and put it forward as a panacea for all diseases…… the efficacy of the remedy, if any as a cordial, was possibly due to certain ethers which would form in the process of distillation and also to the good canary wine in which it was ultimately dissolved…… the secret recipe was long in Dr. Anthony’s family and very beneficial to them. (They made lots of money!)

Pages 18-21 gives a few more details but I’ve shared the gist of the story.  If anyone would like to know more about Aurum Potable, click to Marieke Hendriksen’s article, published online in 2013, which I found on Google: “Arum Potabile and the tears of brides: A history of drinkable gold.”

Gold anyone? And you thought gold was only for jewelry!

Let’s Talk About: Fort Wright’s Hospital

Care to hear my confession? My Air Force father was lucky to draw housing for our family of five in 1954 in what is now a house owned by Mukogawa (Japanese Girls’ School) in Spokane. This is a photo from 1960; I remember bike riding with friends to the backside of this venerable old building and crawling inside through a broken winder to explore the abandoned building. Weren’t we terribly bad and daring?

Thanks to the website Spokane Historicaland the article by Lee Nilsson titled WWII Convalescent Hospital, I learned more about my place of adventure.

“Training for combat at Fort George Wright gave way to recovery and recuperation during the second World War. In 1941, Fort Wright had changed hands and become part of the U.S. Army Air Force. Being used as a base hospital for its first few years, in early 1944 Fort Wright was turned into a full fledged army convalescent center.  Soldiers and airmen who had been wounded in action fighting against Japan and Germany found a place of peaceful healing at Fort George Wright. Aside from direct medical care supplied by the Army and Red Cross staff, the Fort was designed to heal the spirit of the wounded warriors as well.”

** There is available more to learn about Fort George Wright and the hospital.  Enter the link below….. there is even a short video!

Lee Nilsson, “Welcome to Historic Fort George Wright,” Spokane Historical, accessed September 13, 2023, https://spokanehistorical.org/items/show/173.

Let’s Talk About: Computers, Then & Now

Most today have a quick and clear mental image when we hear the word “computer.” But did you realize that the abacus was really the first “computer” developed some 3000 years ago? 

Next came Blaise Pascal’s arithmetic machine in 1642. This machine operated by dialing a series of wheels bearing the numbers 0 to 9 around their circumferences.  

In 1822, Charles Babbage, a British mathematician, built this difference engine to produce tables for navigation and astronomy. It was Babbage who first came up with the idea for a computer, a machine which could handle any sort of mathematical computation automatically. 

Dr. Herman Hollerith, a statistician from Buffalo, New York, solved a problem of major importance for the U.S. Census Bureau when he designed his electric tabulating machine in the 1880s. Before this, a decade would nearly pass before the previous census was counted. 

Computers from the 1940s to the 1960s looked like this………… and never no way would an individual be able to use one…………..for family history!!!

*** Big, BIG thanks to an old magazine advertisement from IBM; think the ad was under infosystems.

Let’s Talk About: Two Towns, Two Churches

Did you realize that the lovely old church in Port Gamble, Washington (which you see on your way to Port Townsend or Port Angeles), was built in 1870 by two homesick Bostonians? They patterned their church after the 1836 church in Machias, Maine (lower). See the similarities?

The Straits of Juan de Fuca. You’ve read about it, been on it and been by it many times, no doubt. But ever wondered where such a Spanish-sounding name got tagged onto this body of water?  In 1592 (100 years after the discovery of the New World by Columbus) the entrance to Puget Sound was first seen by Juan de Fuca, a Greek mariner in the service of the Viceroy of Mexico. De Fuca had been commissioned in that year to explore the west coast of the New World and claimed that he sailed along the California coast until he came to the latitude of 47 degrees and there, finding that the land tended north and northeast with a broad inlet of sea, he entered and sailed for more than twenty days. De Fuca was firmly convinced that he had discovered the “fabled Straits of Anian,” the connecting link between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

The explorers who came after, the English especially, sought to discredit the performance and claims of de Fuca. He was pronounced a myth…his discovery a fable. Even Capt. Cook, while attempting to discover the illusive passage to the Atlantic Ocean entered this notation in his log book: “It is in the very latitude where we now are, that geographers have placed the pretended Strait of Juan de Fuca. But we saw nothing of it nor is there the least possibility that any such existed.”

The Green mariner was vindicated after all; the strait now bears his name even if it is not the “Strait of Anian.”

What is a “megacity” would you guess? The answer is: any city with a population of over 10,000,000 people.  And how many are there? You’d be amazed.  Asking Goggle’s help for “world most populous cities,” I browsed through a list of 1000 cities from all around the world.

Most populous city in the world? Tokyo, Japan. Followed by Delhi, Shanghai, Dhaka (in Bangladesh), Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Cairo, Beijing, Mumbai and Oskaka.  It makes sense that the majority of bigger cities are in China and India which are the two most populous countries.

The U.S. doesn’t make the list until #41: New York City. Next after that is Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia………. And that last is #323!  Seattle is #750. Frankly, I’m glad that we don’t have “megacities” in America.

China has six megacities; India has five. The source found by Google stated that “of nearly 8 billion people on Earth, 7% live in megacities (where population exceeds ten million).”

Point of the story: Be thankful for where you live. Not in a million-people megacity!

Let’s Talk About: Shackleton Crew Desdendants

Are You A Descendant?

Of one of the men who sailed to Antarctica with Ernest Shackleton?

By Donna Potter Phillips, 2023

Might you possibly be a descendant of a member of The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1916, led by Sir Ernest Shackleton?

The story of the ship Endurance and her 28 brave crewmen is well known. Multiple books, movies, TV specials and YouTube videos can be accessed to learn the full (and horrifying) story of the unspeakable trials these men lived through. (For instance, marooned on ice, they survived eating seal and seaweed.)

My interest was piqued and I asked Google for information on each and every one of those 28 men with Shackleton. Many never married or had no children. But some did:

Crewman name                   Wife                            Children                   

Ernest Shackleton              Emily Dorman           Edward, Cecily, Raymond

Thomas Crean                     Ellen Herlihy             Mary, Eileen, Kate (d. young)

Alfred Cheetham                 Eliza Sawyer             “13 children”

Lewis Rickinson                 Margaret Snell          Lewis, Betty

Alexander Kerr                    Lillian Mitchell          Jack, Eileen

Alexander Macklin              Jean Hanton             Alexander, Richard

Reginald James                  Annie Watson          John, David, Margaret

George Marston                  Hazel Roberts           Heather, Bevis

Thomas Orde-Lees             Rhoda Musgrove     Grace

Harry McNish                       Lizzie Littlejohn        Thomas

William Stephenson           Edith Binks               Doris, Mellie, Gladys (d.y.)

Ernest Holness                    Lillian Bettles                        Lillian, Renee, Stanley, Ernest (d.y.)

Walter How               Helen Varey                          “2 daughters”

John Vincent           Alice Parker                          “4 children”

Perce Blackborow  Kate Kearns                          Jim, Peggy, Joan, Kenneth, (2sons d.y)

Daniel Gooch          Mary Munro                           Lancelot, Phyllis, Robert, Daphne

So do you carry one of those sixteen surnames? Or do those surnames appear on your family tree? Is your interest piqued?

Disclaimer:  I did not do extensive research for this bit. And I only was looking at the 28 men with Shackleton and not the other 28 men comprising the Ross Sea party. And admitting that Grandma Google furnished my information, I admit to any mistakes!

P.S. Did you know that in March 2022 the ship Endurance was found? She rests upright nearly 10,000 feet deep in the Weddell Sea. Ask Grandma Google for images!

Let’s Talk About: First U.S. Navy Death in Pacific

1856: First U.S. Navy Death in the Pacific

“Curiosity got the better of Gus Englebrecht. He poked his head above a log to view a Brave just fired upon and wrote himself into history.”

Thus, Gustavus/Gustave Englebrecht became the first U.S. Navy casualty in the Pacific. He died on 21 November 1856 during the Battle of Port Gamble.

The Battle of Port Gamble is an isolated engagement between the U.S. soldiers and the Tlingit native peoples. A minor incident, it is historically notable for the first U.S. Navy battle death in the Pacific Ocean. Here’s the story:

In November 1856, a Tlingit party of about 100 warriors and their families, in a fleet of canoes, entered Puget Sound in what was then Washington Territory. Why they came was never asked; their presence spooked the alarm among the white folks. When the fleet of canoes approached Steilacoom, the residents alerted the U.S. Army garrison at Fort Steilacoom who, in turn, sent word to the nearby U.S. Navy gunboat, the U.S.S. Massachusetts.

On November 20th, the Tlingit approached the logging community of Port Gamble and the nearby band of S’Klallam Indians. (Note: The Tlingit were likely on a slave raiding party a most common custom then.) The superintendent of the logging mill blew the mill’s whistle prompting the community to evacuate to the nearby blockhouse.

The U.S.S. Massachusetts arrived at Port Gamble soon thereafter and finding the natives landed and camped at the edge of town, put ashore an armed force of 18 sailors. The Massachusetts’ skipper had twice sent messengers to the Tlingit chief with offers to tow them to Victoria but both offers were refused. The next morning, the captain began shelling the native camp, inflicting heavy casualties. During this melee, small arms fire was exchanged between the war party and those 18 sailor/soldiers resulting in the death of Cosxwain Gustave Englebrecht.

Donna’s note:  I searched all the “low-hanging” fruit for more information on Gustave/Gustavus but found hardly anything. His official military death notice said he enlisted 15 June 1855. He is buried in a lovely fenced plot in the little hilltop cemetery in Port Gamble. Most information for this bit came from www.historylink.org, the free Washington history website.

Was he the Gustave Englebrecht, age 18, born 1832 in town of Heiligenstadt (Bavaria), and who left Bremen on 22 May 1850 bound for Baltimore, Maryland, on the ship Rebecca??

Guess it’s up to somebody else to solve the mystery of Gus Engelbrecht, the man “who wrote himself into history.”

Information and images below are from www.findagrave.org

“United States Navy Sailor. He was serving as a Coxswain on board the wooden steamer warship “USS Massachusetts” when it was part of the United States Navy’s Pacific Squadron in 1856. He was killed in a minor engagement between the ship and the Native American Tlingit people at Port Gamble, Kitsap County, Washington Territory on November 21, 1856, making him the first Navy combat death in the Pacific. A historical marker that was erected near his burial site reads: “1856. National Historic Site. First U. S. Navy man to die in action in the Pacific. During the Indian depredation, Port Gamble was attacked. Mill workers hoped for relief from a U. S. Navy Warship the ‘Massachusetts’. The ship arrived, and the skirmish resulted in this American casualty. Curiosity got the better of Gus Englebrecht. He poked his head above a log to view a brave just fired upon, and wrote himself into history.”

Let’s Talk About: Newspapers, Community Voice

FIND 2-Inch Nail In Baby’s Throat – Spokesman Review, 5 Nov 1921

Cut Child’s Windpipe and Use Magnet With Success

A nail two inches long as been removed from the lung of a 15-month-old baby at the Deaconess hospital. The child, who is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Leo Dahlin of Nine Miles, swallowed the nail October 29th, and the mother did not discover the trouble until X-rays four days later disclosed the nail.

At the time the child choked (sic) until it was black in the face, but when Mrs. Dahlin was ready to start for town the trouble seemed to depart and the baby appeared normal. Later the lungs of the baby began filling with mucus and the mother brought the child to Dr. T.E. Hoxsey. On October 24 the child’s condition seemed alarming and an operation was decided upon. Dr. O.M. Rott, a through specialist, assisted Dr. Hoxsey.

An incision was made in the neck through which the windpipe was cut. But inserting a powerful magnet the nail, which was two inches long, was drawn out. The parents of the baby report that it is well on the road to recovery. 

Let’s Talk About: Bits & Pieces, This ‘N That

 Who has not seen this fantastic image of the Titanic’s bow as she rests nearly a mile deep in the Atlantic:

Bet you did not know:

  • She was the largest moving man-made object until 1912.
  • Some 4000 workers took 2 years to build her in Belfast, Ireland
  • She cost $10,000,000 in 1912 dollars (about $322,000,000 today)
  • The 4-day, one way, first-class passage cost about $80,000 in 1998 dollars
  • Lifeboat requirements were based on tonnage, not passenger count
  • New York Evening Sun ran a headline: ALL SAVED FROM TITANIC
  • The 1997 movie, Titanic, cost 24 times what the ship itself cost to build in 1911 (you do the math!)
  • One body, still floating in its life vest, was found 2 months la
  • More than 3000 books have been written about the Titanic
  • The last funnel on Titanic was  “dummy” for ventilation and aesthetics and no smoke came out of it
  • The Titanic Historical Society, founded in 1963, has 5000 members; PO Box 5153, Indian Orchard MA  01151


August, 2023: Miami, Florida:  Archaeologists have found a submerged gravestone in Dry Tortugas National Park near the Florida Keys and they say the discovery could also mean there’s a cemetery and hospital in the area. The site could have been used for quarantined yellow fever patients on a small island that has since eroded into the sea.


Jeanne Coe, a longtime member of EWGS, does indexing under the SCRIBE project for the Washington State archives. She notes odd and unusual names………. like these:

  • America Jane Chamberlain, b. Oregon
  • Ralph Oregon Dunbar, b. Illinois
  • Mary Nevada Kiner, b. 1877 in Iowa
  • Nevada Melvina Cameron, b. 1901 in Washington
  • Hazel Inez Price, b. 1892 in King County, WA; her father was Lake Erie Price, b. Minnesota and her mother was Capitola Albatross Fuller, b. Kansas.
  • Denver Colorado Sayler, b. 1906 in Kansas


From Kenneth Roberts’ book, “Trending Into Maine,” published in 1938, I learned that the Salish word for white person was soo-yap-ee, which meant “upside down face.” This happened because most 19th century Euro-American men wore beards.