Saturday, December 13, 2008

Prosperity Is Kind of Small - 26 Sep 1900

Early fall in 1900 found Charles Logie and his wife in difficult financial circumstances. There wasn't much new construction or remodeling MckinleyTeddy1900occurring in Utah Valley and Charles carpentry business was slack.

He spent his days on a small project making tables and chairs for the school in American Fork.

There was a rumor of a school to be built in Manning Canyon out near the mineral mines and perhaps their daughter, Beatrice could obtain the position if she hadn't already agreed to teach at the Bingham Canyon school just below the copper mine.

Charles humor is less evident in this letter as he was undoubtedly feeling stress, yet, he wished is daughter well.

As the official curfew bell ringer for American Fork City, we can tell that he penned this letter late in the evening before the 10:00 p.m. curfew hour when he had to ring the bell. It is said that he only missed ringing it in person a few times in the several decades he had this position.

American Fork Sept 26/00 (1901)

Dear Beatrice,

The honorable Dr. Lee called in this afternoon to say that the People of Maning are going to have a School there & Lee said they want a teacher & he said there was a chance for you. They ofer 50 dols a month. There are some where about twenty children out there. About your blue hat the dame says you had better have it fixed over if she want to sell it. She could get nothing for it. Have you heared that Emma Mercer is going to Marry Dr. Styner. Send word soon what you think about this new vertion ie: the Maning yarn. Mother wants to let Lee know weather you have agreed to go to Bingham. She thinks that would be the nicest place of the two. Well I don’t know of anything new. We have the poney & dog show here tonight & last night. We did not go can’t afford it. Our prosperity is kind of small. Not much of it these republican times. Well Mother says that is all. So I may as well quit right here & now. Oh, the folks are all OK over at Mercur. I am sort of buisey just now making some cupboards & tables for the school. Have you seen Mis Styne Jensen. She called about a week ago & wanted to see you. That’s it. I’m happy to say we are well at this time. Hopeing this will find all you city people injoying good health. It is about bell time so I will wish you good night & sweet repose. We send our verry kindest Love to you all. Every one of you & remain as ever your affect Father.

Chas Logie Esqr

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Have You Heard From The Cat Charmer? - 9 Jul 1900

Charles Logie wrote regular letters to his daughter who was a school teacher in Bingham Canyon, Utah.

His unique nicknames for everyone and every event in his life display his mischievous sense of humor and make his letters even more precious to his descendants. I've retained his spellings a purposeful hacking of the English language in this transcription.

In this installment, Charles talked about the low voter turnout for school board elections, the plans to build a tabernacle in American Fork, Utah and the comings and goings of his married children and grandchildren.

It was hot in July 1900 in American Fork as the thermometer on his porch reported a temperature of 105 F in the shade.

The only photo I've ever found of Beatrice was in an old newspaper article standing by her students and have included it here.

American Fork July 9/00 (1900)

Miss Beatrice Logie

logiebeatriceYour letter came to hand yesterday, found us well. Mother got home all safe on the night of the fourth. I had a splendid time. Staid at home all alone and minded the Estate. Didn’t go over to Peats once all day. All the Bennett’s went to the Lake to spend the day & see the cranks play baseball. There is not much going on here just now. This is Election day & some are voteing for a School Trustee, John E. Buckwalter is the one selected in place of J. L. Snow. It is a verry quiet affair. I went over this morning about 10 & there was no one but the three trustees & there had only been 8 votes cast. Our beloved Brown is on the ticket for county Superendendent & there is no oppertion in our city. We had a pecular meeting last night. It seems that some of our church officials want a fine new place to hold Sunday School in & they want the people to agree to build a fine large Tabernacle & have it filed up while to accommodate the Sunday School. There was a committee appointed to make inquires about what such building would cost & how long it would take to build it. Carne Robinson & Geo. Currin have had quite a hot time about where the means was to come from & weather the people would be willing to build such a place for the benefit of the Sunday School. There was some pretty hot talk on both sides of the question. Sir Charles & Lady called last Saturday & took mother & Walter to the Lake in their fine chariot. I was busy getting ready for watering & could not go. They stayed to refreshments after they returned. Laura & Bertha are anxious to hear from you. Lee Clarke has a bran new sister came from Nebraska last Tuesday. We have not heared from Nelece yet or Libey (Grandma Elizabeth Bennett Drew). Mother says she had not seen any of the mountaineers (Alpine) yet & when any of them appear she will ask them when they will be ready to procede with that Barn. It is warm in the land thermomerter up to 105 under the poarch. I must stop for want of paper. Kind Love to Hall.

Still the same,

Chas Logie Esqr~

Upside down note on front page:

Have you heard from the Cat Charmer I have not got any answer to my letter which I wrote some two weeks since.

Embedded History

Standing in line with other fourth graders, I dropped my lunch ticket and bent over to pick it up from the floor. The fellow behind me had two newly sharpened pencils sticking out of his pocket and turned to talk to some one just as my head went down. I've had a one-eighth inch piece of lead from one of them embedded in my ear ever since.


Our grandchildren and possibly even our children don't know that story. Like my friend, grandpa Pickles, our grandchildren consider me to be ancient of days. Maybe they should. Who uses pencils and memorized trig functions in school anymore?

They don't know that I don't have much feeling in my body due to a spinal injury as a pre-teen when a car ran a red light and hit the young newspaper boy. Even if told they probably couldn't relate because they don't have any reference points in their own life experiences.

I often wonder about why my own ancestors worked in certain occupations or are listed as having certain idiosyncrasies.

My grandchildren don't realize that I am hyper-alert whenever using power tools because I watched my father slice his thumb lengthwise on a table saw when I was nine.

I've often been rewarded in my ancestral quest when opening my mind to more than dates and places. Watching for the "why's" and "what for's" is often more helpful to my research than just the raw facts.

Reading the disability statements in the Revolutionary War pension application of my ancestor gives me the hint that he probably had lead poisoning from a wound in battle slowly destroying his health. Not all fragments from the bullet were removed due to their location and the medical skills of the day.

The impact from his deteriorating health was heavily felt by his family as it became more and more difficult to manually work to support them.

A grandmother in my ancestral tree obviously died from Alzheimer's disease at a fairly young age and was said to have lost her mind in the year or two previous to her death.

I suppose family and friends referred to her as 'poor old grandma Bennett who lost her mind'. The impact on her family was substantial because of the substantial personality change and sudden dependency of the once stalwart matriarch of a large family.

Of course, our interpretation of the causes or diagnosis of problems is tenuous as we peer back through the lens looking across time, but often we can recognize symptoms and their almost certain results.

I suppose that if our ancestors looked back through the same lens at us in our day, they'd often shake their heads and using their closer to nature common sense reference points think that we are harming ourselves in our own life choices.

Either way, the time spent thinking about the events and reference points of the person in the study gives better insight into their lives, environment and personalities.

Trying to understand the conditions and lives of our ancestors make them more 'real' to us. More depth of knowledge about their stories and lives establishes a dimensional character that we can relate to and remember.

Think about your own ancestors without looking at your pedigree charts or databases first. Which individuals come to mind first? Which ones can you easily discuss when asked?

I'll bet it isn't the ones with just dates and places associated with their names. It is the ones that you've taken the time to clothe with facets of their reality and life experiences.

Don't forget to embed history and stories into an ancestors record while doing ancestral research. Even if it is only the story about a piece of pencil lead in their ear.