sunflower harvest time

8.1.20 ~ Buttonwood Farm, Griswold, Connecticut

We haven’t really done much to celebrate the First Harvest (Lughnasa, Lammas) in recent years. But I’m finding myself looking forward to the Celtic seasonal festivals again, as a way to acknowledge the passage of time in more even segments during this long-lasting pandemic. So we decided to visit Buttonwood Farm for the sunflower harvest. ‘Twas good to get out of the house and go for a scenic drive.

Due to the high demand earlier in the week and the continued heat and dry field conditions we have an extremely limited amount of sunflowers available to cut. The walking field is still open although the flowers are past their peak.
~ Buttonwood Farm website

July was terribly hot and dry in spite of the oppressive humidity. Not sure how that works. Even the sun loving sunflowers weren’t happy. But I enjoyed capturing them in these less-than-glorious poses. There is beauty to be found everywhere, including in “past their prime.” (I know! I’m a little bit zen, a little bit pagan, a little bit transcendentalist…)

Someone was sitting in front of a sunflower, watching the sunflower, a cup of sun, and so I tried it too. It was wonderful; I felt the whole universe in the sunflower. That was my experience. Sunflower meditation. A wonderful confidence appeared. You can see the whole universe in a flower.
~ Shunryu Suzuki
(Crooked Cucumber: The Life & Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki)

It’s kind of amazing how many different sizes and shapes sunflowers come in. Like people. There were lots of people there, perhaps only half of them wearing masks. A few weren’t repsecting social distancing at all and we found ourselves darting away from a few animated groups of folks who seemed oblivious to our presence. Tim thinks some of them may have been deliberately harassing those of us wearing masks. I hope it isn’t so.

On the other hand, there were some families with well-behaved children wearing masks, doing their best to politely keep apart from others. I found myself wondering how they will make out when they return to school come autumn, if the schools still plan to open by then.

There was a one-way path through the middle of the field but we didn’t dare take it, not knowing how the people ahead of or behind us might behave. We stuck to the perimeter and enjoyed getting lots of close-ups of the flowers.

I never noticed how pretty the back of a sunflower head is before!

We are the Flower — Thou the Sun!
Forgive us, if as days decline —
We nearer steal to Thee!

~ Emily Dickinson
(The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #161)

Tim’s computers weren’t communicating with each other properly so after supper he started working on them while I watched a bittersweet movie I hadn’t seen in years, Dancing at Lughnasa, with Meryl Streep. A perfect way to end the magical day.

We now have 151 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our town. Our county (New London) has 1,402 confirmed cases. Of those 2 are still in the hospital and 103 have lost their lives. Even though the numbers aren’t skyrocketing here they are still going up slowly, so we’re still playing it safe and staying home, except for walks.

I am so relieved to learn that my granddaughter’s school in North Carolina will be in session remotely until January at least. It’s good to know that common sense has prevailed, at least in her district.

a little stardust caught

“Field of Corn” by Louis Valtat

The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little stardust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.
~ Henry David Thoreau
(Walden)

William White, Englishman

This sketch of Salisbury is perforce an epitome; a catacomb of facts, tedious in the extreme, unless viewed sympathetically. The statistician’s only hope lies in the imagination of the reader. Then be a lithe hunter in the trackless wilds, a shrewd and cautious Hollander, a spare, twang-tongued New Englander, a Whig, a Tory, what you will, for there is no limit to your fictitious past. Leave for an hour the world of 1900 and these dry bones will be re-animated and invested with the charm of life in other days. The scene is set; you must be the player.
~ Malcolm Day Rudd
(An Historical Sketch of Salisbury, Connecticut, July 18, 1899)

The above note “to the reader” made me smile. While I find family history endlessly engrossing, most people I know find it “tedious in the extreme,” or at least, not viewed very “sympathetically.” It would seem to be the same for this writer 120 years ago!

But I have found an ancestral line I’ve been researching forever. My poor mother spent the last couple years of her life searching, too, mostly in person, traveling to town halls, county courthouses and historical societies with my father’s devoted assistance. I recently found some notes he took for her and added them to Ancestry.com. It didn’t take too long for “hints” to start popping up. Some didn’t fit, but some did.

My grandfather, John Everett White, had been told he descended from William White, the Mayflower passenger. They say most family legends have a grain of truth in them. As it turns out, his 5th-great-grandfather was a William White, but not that William White!

The line I had went back only 4 generations…

John Everett White 1905-2001 (my grandfather)
Samuel Minor White 1873-1949
William Martin White 1836-1925
Austin White 1806-1882
Oliver White 1764-1822

William Martin, Austin and Oliver all lived here in southeastern Connecticut and lie buried in Elm Grove Cemetery in Mystic. But where Oliver came from remained a stubborn mystery. My parents spent a lot of time trying to connect him to the Whites living in Rhode Island, many of them descendants of the Mayflower‘s William White. (I was interested, but very busy raising children.) Apparently not long before my mother died in 1991, they had set their sights on Salisbury, way up in the opposite (northwestern) corner of Connecticut. There a Lawrence White had a son named Oliver who was born the same year as our Oliver.

My father’s handwritten notes state this information was found in the Historical Collections of the Salisbury Association, Inc., Vol. II, p. 119. Whether they actually traveled to Salisbury or not is unclear to me. They might have found the book on one of their visits to the Connecticut Historical Society Museum & Library in Hartford.

After adding this information to Ancestry and piecing together the resulting hints, the line now goes back 3 more generations to an English ancestor, who arrived in America 59 years after the Mayflower!

Oliver White 1764-1822
Lawrence White 1732-1812
George White 1694-1776
William White 1664-1750 (my 7th-great-grandfather)

I found the following paragraph about William in An Historical Sketch of Salisbury, Connecticut (1899) by Malcolm Day Rudd. When this pandemic is over I see a day trip to Salisbury in the works, health permitting.

William White, an Englishman, who died Jan. 5, 1750-51, in his 85th year, had long been a resident of the Dutch settlements, married a Dutch wife and was a sergeant in the Manor Company of 1715.

William was born about 1664 in Brading (Isle of Wight) England and died in Salisbury (Litchfield) Connecticut. He arrived in America in 1679, when he was about 15 years old. He apparently married Mary (Meales) Hayes, a young widow, about 1690. They were the parents of eight children.

Williams’s sons, George (my 6th-great-grandfather), Joshua and Benjamin are on the list of original proprietors of Salisbury, when the new township was publicly auctioned at Hartford in May 1738. The town was incorporated in October of 1741.

Lots of work left to do…

Ship’s Carpenter, Father of Five Seafaring Sons

image credit: Wikipedia ~ Brevik, Norway

My 5th-great-grandfather, Tønnes Ingebretsen, son of Engelbret Olsen and Anna Dorothea Torbiornsdatter, was born 31 October 1753 in Arendal (Aust Ager) Norway, and died 30 October 1808 in Brevik (Telemark) Norway. He married 8 June 1778 in Arendal, Christiane Christensdatter, who was born in 1750 in Brevik, and died there 28 January 1831, daughter of Christen Pedersen and Stine Jeppsdatter.

We visited Brevik, Norway, briefly, in May 2015.

Brevik is regarded as one of the best preserved towns from the sailing ship era. The town is located on the far end of Eidanger peninsula (Eidangerhalvøya), and was a former export centre for ice and timber.
~ Wikipedia

Tønnes was working as a ship’s carpenter in 1801 and owned his own house in Brevik. The 1801 Census for Ejdanger, Brevig County, Brevig Parish, LAdestædet Brevig Sokn (subparish); Farm/house 216 records that Christiane & Tønnes were the parents of five seafaring sons:

i. Ingebrecth Tønnesen, born about 1779 in Brevik.

ii. Ole Tønnesen, born about 1781 in Brevik.

iii. Nicolaj Tønnesen, born about 1783 in Brevik.

iv. Hans Mathias Tønnesen (my 4th-great-grandfather), born in Brevik before 2 April 1786, the date he was baptized, died 4 December 1850 in Flekkefjord (Vest-Agder) Norway. He married 5 July 1810 in Brevik, Dorothea Larsdatter, who was born before 20 April 1786 in Stokkesund, Brunlanes (Vestfold) Norway, and died 7 November 1879 in Brevik, daughter of Lars Christensen and Maria Olsdatter. Hans & Dorothea were the parents of eight children.

v. Jørgen Tønnesen, born about 1789 in Brevik.

Sailed the Great Lakes

Tim’s 3rd-great-grandfather, Capt. Hermon Roberts Case, son of Aaron Newton and Laura Amanda (Roberts) Case, was born 10 April 1818 in Simsbury (Hartford) Connecticut, and died 17 February 1890 in (Lenawee) Michigan. He married (as his second wife), 5 March 1848, Paulina Elizabeth Minor, who was born 2 April 1822 in Mendon (Monroe) New York, and died 9 March 1898 in Cambridge Township (Lenawee) Michigan, daughter of William and Naomi (Reniff) Minor.

Paulina came to Ohio with her parents in 1831, settling near Cleveland. She and Herman lie buried in Cambridge Junction Cemetery in Cambridge.

Herman married (as his first wife) 28 December 1841, Mary Doty, who was born about 1820 in Euclid (Cuyahoga) Ohio, and died 16 March 1845 in East Cleveland (Cuyahoga) Ohio, daughter of Asa Doty. Mary lies buried in Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.

The following is from History & Biographical Record of Lenawee County, Michigan, Vol. I, by WA Whitney & RI Bonner, 1879:

Capt. Hermon R. Case was born in Simsbury (now Broomfield), Hartford county, Connecticut, April 10th, 1818. His father, Aaron N. Case, was born in the same place, in 1785, where he lived, and owned a farm, until 1832. He then moved to Windsor, Ashtabula county, Ohio, and purchased a new farm. He lived there on his farm until 1867, when he came to Cambridge, this county, where he died, in February, 1869. About 1813 he married Miss Laura Roberts, daughter of Lemuel and Roxey Roberts, of Windsor (now Broomfield), Hartford county, Connecticut, by whom he had five children, Hermon R. being the third child and second son. Mrs. Laura Case was born in Broomfield, Connecticut, in 1793, and died there in 1829. Her mother’s name was Roxey Goodwin, and her ancestors were English.

Capt. Hermon R. Case lived with his father until he was fourteen years old, and received but very little education. In 1833 he, with his brother Galusha, started from Broomfield, Connecticut, with packs on their backs, and walked to Ashtabula, Ohio. Hermon had seventeen dollars, and Galusha had about twenty-five dollars, which they had saved from their work the previous year. Hermon worked by the month until the spring of 1834, when he engaged as a sailor, on the schooner Morning Star, and sailed the great lakes until 1849. In 1838 he was promoted to captain, and commanded the schooner Hiram during that season. In 1841 he was mate of the steamer Eagle, on the Mississippi and confluent rivers. In 1835, while lying in the port of Milwaukee, unloading a cargo of provisions for the settlers, he, with his shipmates, assisted in raising the first frame building erected in Milwaukee. The last vessel he commanded was the schooner General Houston, which sailed between Toledo and Oswego for about three years.

In 1848 he purchased a new farm, in Cambridge, this county, on section nine, and moved his family upon it. He followed the lakes until the fall of 1849, since which time he has resided in Cambridge, on his farm. He now owns three hundred and twenty acres, on sections eight, nine, sixteen and seventeen and one hundred and sixty acres, on section twenty-five. He has erected two good frame houses, and five large barns, and has four hundred and thirty acres under cultivation. Where his present fine residence stands, was formerly a Shawnee Indian camping ground, it being between two beautiful little lakes, on an elevated spot. It was afterwards used as a camping ground by the pioneers, who traveled over the La Plaisance Bay turnpike, en route for their new homes. It was also used as a camping place by the men who constructed the turnpike.

December 28th, 1841, he married Miss Mary Doty, daughter of Asa Doty, of Euclid, (now East Cleveland,) Ohio, by whom he had one child, Laura, born in East Cleveland, Ohio, January 17th, 1845, now the wife of Frank Gray, of Franklin. Mrs. Mary Case died in East Cleveland, March 16th, 1845. March 5th, 1848, he married Miss Paulina Minor, daughter of William and Naomi Minor, of Cleveland, Ohio, by whom he has had four children, as follows: Marion, born in Cambridge, June 10th, 1851, a farmer, of Cambridge; Elona N., born in Cambridge, July 7th, 1853, now the wife of William Raven, a farmer, of Cambridge; two children died in infancy.

Mrs. Paulina Case was born in Mendon, Monroe county, New York, April 2d, 1822. She came to Ohio with her parents in 1831, and settled near Cleveland. Her father was born in New London, Connecticut, May, 25th, 1788. He died in 1856. His ancestors were English. His father commanded a vessel in the American navy, and took part in the seven naval conflicts, during the Revolutionary war. Her mother, Naomi Reniff, was born in Massachusetts, December 6th, 1790, and died in August, 1871. Her parents were natives of Massachusetts, and, in 1811, settled in Western New York, in what was then known as the Genesee Valley.

Hermon & Mary were the parents of a daughter:

i. Laura Josephine Case, born 17 January 1845 in East Cleveland, died 6 December 1924 in Clinton (Lenawee) Michigan. She married 28 August 1878 in Adrian (Lenawee) Michigan, Franklin Gray, who was born 21 October 1849 in Franklin Township (Lenawee) Michigan, and died 28 April 1916 in Clinton, son of John and Catherine (Ferris) Gray.

Hermon & Paulina were the parents of four children:

i. Doremus A. Case, born about 1849, died 18 April 1852.

ii. Marion Case, born 10 June in Cambridge, died there 18 November 1893. He married (as her first husband) 10 June 1874, in Tecumseh (Lenawee) Michigan, Mary Sterling Ladd, who was born in June 1854 in Cambridge, and died 20 March 1929, daughter of Ira and Ann (Bigham) Ladd. Marion & Mary were the parents of two children.

iii. Elona Naomi Case (Tim’s 2nd-great-grandmother), born 7 July 1853 in Cambridge, died 22 January 1929 in Badaxe (Huron) Michigan. She married 5 March 1878, in Cambridge, William Franklin Raven, who was born 12 July 1852 in Macomb (St. Lawrence) New York, and died 14 September 1917 in Escanaba (Delta) Michigan, son of Henry Charles and Clarinda (Sweet) Raven. Elona & William were the parents of seven children.

iv. Anna Case, born about 1864, died 17 October 1866.

William Hamblin & Amanda Bearse

My 3rd-great-grandfather, Capt. William Hamblin, son of Timothy and Rebecca (Bacon) Hamblin, was born 13 June 1813 in Hyannis (Barnstable) Massachusetts, and died there 26 May 1893. He married Amanda Bearse, who was born 27 September 1810 in Barnstable (Barnstable) Massachusetts, and died there 13 May 1890, daughter of Ebenezer Parker and Susanna (Baxter) Bearse.

William was a master mariner, who died of heart disease. He and Amanda are buried in the Baptist Church Cemetery, on Main St. in Hyannis. William’s will was written in 1890, and a copy of his signature is on a document from his estate, in possession of his 3rd-great-grandson, Richard Kelley. Probate was not settled until 35 years after his death, on 12 June 1928.

Amanda & William were the parents of at least six children:

i. Capt. Timothy Francis Hamblin, mariner, born 16 July 1839 in Hyannis, died there 27 September 1912. He married 12 June 1862 in Barnstable, Sarah C. Cannon, who was born in April 1840 and died about 1930, daughter of John and Ruth (Crowell) Cannon. The following is from the Hyannis Patriot, Hyannis, Massachusetts, 21 September 1908, page 2:

Capt. Timothy Hamblin
Timothy Hamblin came from old English stock. His great-grandfather came to Hyannis from Plymouth in 1745 and his grandfather, Timothy Hamblin, was born in Hyannis in 1775, and married Rebecca Bacon, sister of the late Owen Bacon, who had eight children–Simeon, William, Hiram and Joel, Betsy, wife of James Snow, Dorinda, wife of Nehemiah Baker, Sarah, wife of Capt. Philip Burgess, and Rebecca, wife of Joseph P. Bearse, all now deceased.

Timothy Hamblin, the subject of this sketch, was born in Hyannis on Ocean street in the 1839, son of William. He commenced going to sea with his father, who was skipper of many vessels in the fishing business. Later Timothy went on coasting vessels and was in the schooner Elizabeth B., previous to her going to the gold regions of California in 1849.

The EB., on her voyage to the gold fields, was commanded by Capt. Almoran Bacon, who owned an interest in her and was sailing master. Several of our smartest captains, who were masters of the famous clipper ships at that time, Capt. Frank Bearse, master whip Winged Arrow, Allen H. Bearse, of the Radiant, Orlando Bassett, John H. Frost, James H. Lothrop and Daniel B. Hallett were passengers. The vessel stayed there some two years, then the party disbanded, and Capt. Bacon brought the schooner home, the voyage being not a very successful one.

Later Mr. Hamblin was in the government employ carrying supplies to soldiers, to Wilmington, N.C., from New York, so he has seen something of the world. The Hamblins were always noted for their shrewdness and knew how to save money. Later Capt. Simeon was master of many fine vessels and made big money. At the time Mr. F.C. Tobey failed, he, like many others, deposited money in his hands supposing it better than any bank. We believe he paid 50 cents on the dollar, but Capt. Hamblin waited a short time and got the whole. Capt. Simeon Hamblin always lived on Ocean street, also Hiram and William. Mr. Roscoe Hamblin, his son, who was in Taunton many years in business, has a nice new house near the old homestead. The Hamblin’s were all branch pilots and knew every inch of water in Lewis Bay. “They say” that Tim can hold flaxseed in his hand and not let it slip through his fingers and hold on to a quarter of a dollar and make the eagle squeal.

ii. Capt. William Nelson Hamblin (my 2nd-great-grandfather), born about 1844, died 19 May 1883 in West Dennis (Barnstable) Massachusetts. He married 16 January 1868 in Dennis, Anna Eliza Baker, who was born 2 October 1845 in Dennis, and died 2 December 1927, daughter of Benjamin and Eliza R. (Eldridge) Baker. Anna & William were the parents of four children.

iii. Simeon Albert Hamblin, born 20 January 1847 in Hyannis, died 14 March 1927 in Barnstable.

iv. Ebenezer Porter Hamblin, born about 1849.

v. Eliza Anna Hamblin, born 8 September 1853 in Hyannis, died 28 January 1935 in Quincy (Norfolk) Massachusetts. She married (as her first husband) 12 November 1873 in Taunton (Bristol) Massachusetts, Francis P. Kelley, who was born 28 July 1848 in West Dennis, and died 12 September 1874 in Dennis (Barnstable) Massachusetts, four days after the birth of his son. He was the son of Francis and Paulina (Sears) Kelley. Eliza married (as her second husband) 21 January 1879 in Dennis, Marcus Bradley Baker, who was born 10 November 1843 in Dennis and died 21 October 1927 in Hyannis, widower of Emily (Crowell) Baker and son of Sylvester and Charlotte (Eldridge) Baker. Eliza & Marcus were the parents of four children.

vi. Harriet Amanda Hamblin, born 20 January 1856, died 18 April 1902. She married 2 September 1880 in Barnstable, Isaac W. Chase, who was born in November 1851, and died 30 May 1921, son of William and Amanda (—) Chase. Harriet & Isaac were the parents of a daughter.

Last Revised: 13 July 2020

when summer days are flown

anemone by Mabel Amber (pixabay)

Summer for thee, grant I may be
When Summer days are flown!
Thy music still, when Whippowil
And Oriole — are done!

For thee to bloom, I’ll skip the tomb
And row my blossoms o’er!
Pray gather me —
Anemone —
Thy flower — forevermore!

~ Emily Dickinson
(The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #7)

timelessness and quiet ecstasy

7.14.20 ~ ring-billed gull cooling his feet at Eastern Point Beach

The humidity lowered just a tad on Tuesday morning so we snuck down to the beach for an early morning walk. The only gull out and about was on the rocks, a ring-billed one with his bright yellow legs. He wanted to be friends and walk along with us.

When we went down on the sand he decided to come, too, and lead the way.

follow me, please
pardon me while I cool off my feet again

Then Tim spotted a butterfly flitting about on the wrack line!

monarch butterfly

When it moved to the sand I tried to get a shot of it with its wings open.

shadow on the sand

Yet there are other windows through which we humans can look out into the world around us, windows through which the mystics and the holy men of the East, and the founders of the great world religions, have gazed as they searched for the meaning and purpose of our life on earth, not only in the wondrous beauty of the world, but also in its darkness and ugliness. And those Masters contemplated the truths that they saw, not with their minds only but with their hearts and souls too. From those revelations came the spiritual essence of the great scripitures, the holy books, and the most beautiful mystic poems and writings. That afternoon, it had been as though an unseen hand had drawn back a curtain and, for the briefest moment, I had seen through such a window. In a flash of “outsight” I had known timelessness and quiet ecstasy, sensed a truth of which mainstream science is merely a small fraction. And I knew that the revelation would be with me for the rest of my life, imperfectly remembered yet always within. A source of strength on which I could draw when life seemed harsh or cruel or desperate.
~ Jane Goodall
(Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey)

nature’s delightful composition
gull tracks
song sparrow having its breakfast

I’d sit on logs like pulpits
listen to the sermon
of sparrows
and find god in Simplicity,
there amongst the dandelion
and thorn

~ Jewel
(A Night Without Armor)

wild carrot (Queen Anne’s lace)

We now have 144 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our town. Our county (New London) has 1,345 confirmed cases. Of those 4 are still in the hospital and 102 have lost their lives. I fret over the figures coming out of North Carolina and Georgia, where my children live. Stay safe and take care…