My People

My People
My People - Cosette, Austin, Oliver, Cody, me & Ryan. Just think, had I not lived, these people wouldn't be on the planet. They are my whole heart!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tuesday's Post (that I never finished) plus Wednesday and Thursday Stuff

(from Tuesday)

My boss referred to me as an "old experienced peddler woman" yesterday. I think this was a compliment. Things are really lighthearted on the job. Hectic. It's super fast paced. But it's remarkably stress-free. Maybe because I'm only there half the time. I don't know. I will toot my own horn enough to say that I have the same number of sales so far this month as two of the full time people who are supposed to be primarily sales people - when I'm supposed to be primarily a service person.

I've always believed you should bloom where you're planted, however, sometimes fertile soil, a little water and sunshine goes a long way.

I'm working all five days this week. So it's "three day week - four day weekend - five day week - four day weekend - three day week". If you can follow that. I'm still just working 24 hours this week. I haven't slept well the past two nights, tacked on to a much more lively than usual weekend (even if it was a four day weekend), so I'm fairly wiped out today.

(And now that it's Thursday and I've finally got a "late" work schedule today - 11:30 to 4:30 - I'm totally wiped out. I can't seem to get enough sleep this week... my body feels like it's made of lead... not sure if it's that nasty fibromyalgia flaring up or if it's just adjusting to a more active schedule. Either way... this weekend I plan to be curled up in the mountain nest, elbow deep in genealogy or reading or whatever entertains me.)

I'll still probably stay up late tonight because I'm all politically geeked out over the Republican National Convention. I mean... my tv has mostly been on Fox News, C-Span and the Weather Channel over the past two days. I watched the entire state roll call this afternoon. I got a little misty when Scott Romney gave the delegate count for the State of Michigan. His pride for his brother was touching. And you know how fascinated I am by people who are passionate about things. You don't get more over-the-top-passionate than at a political convention. I can't wait to hear Ann Romney speak tonight.

 (I fell asleep before she spoke... and missed Chris Christie too. I missed Paul Ryan last night.)

 I may not be aligned one hundred percent with every single aspect of Mitt Romney, or for that matter, the Republican Party (I know, *gasp*) but I knew four years ago that hiring a community organizer to run the biggest business in the free world - the United States Government - was a mistake. Remove religion, views on abortion, birth control, gay marriage, etc, from the equation.  Remove proper documentation - such as birth certificates and tax returns - from the equation - I'm far more interested in content of character and ability than I am in ability to provide documents that could easily be altered or manipulated. I am not convinced that Obama has any sense of patriotism or respect for our government. I just so completely disagree with the ability of the government to give and take away. The more government programs that are developed, the more dependent we grow on the government. The more freedoms that are taken from us.

It has always made far more sense for me as a single woman earning below the poverty level to be a Democrat than a Republican, yet, I'd rather live off what little I can make on my own than ask you to share your paycheck with me. You don't owe me.

------------------- end of political rant, end of Tuesday's half post. Now it's Thursday.

Yesterday my boss called me "faster than a greased pig" - in reference to my part-time status. In other words, I'm there such a short time (5 hours) that I'm in and out faster than a greased pig. He was totally joking. I said, "greased pig? why is PIG the first thing that came to mind? why not greased LIGHTNING?". Most of the employees are there less than a full 40 hour week. Everybody has some weird combination of hours. That's why I know he was joking. That's what works for their office and I'm glad that there was a place where I would belong.

I had to re-qualify for my sales agreement which includes passing the credit requirements. If you've read my blog for any length of time you can easily assume that I have poor credit. This meant that my employer had to write an appeal to allow me to work there despite my credit. They willingly did and the waiver was allowed. Not many employers would do that. I have sort of been afraid to put down roots and settle in out of fear that  we wouldn't be able to get past that. There is still one more hurdle and I'm trusting God that everything will go smoothly.

This morning I rescheduled my doctors appointment for Wednesday... I wanted to attach it to a weekend since the doctor's office is in Gainesville - closer to the mountain house than to Riverdale. I wanted to postpone it to October but they wanted to see me some time this month. I'm having some carpal tunnel like pain so I guess it's better that I go. This is the pain doctor - the one who manages the back issues and the fibro issues and such. I've got a reprieve from the regular doctor until January.

I also spent my morning ordering internet service for the mountain house. I can't afford to pay for satellite service - although I'll miss watching football this fall when I'm up there - it just doesn't make sense to take on that kind of expense for the few days we're there each month. Internet service, yes, because I can do a lot of scanning (taking the scanner up this weekend) of old photos and old documents and working on my genealogy project and so on and so forth. I know that I can afford the internet service and I want to help as much as I can on expenses. Since I'm paying all of my medical costs out of pocket and paying for my car and life insurance, I don't have a lot of give in my budget but... I do what I can.

I sat down at 9am with the intention of blogging and doing whatever else I wanted online until 10 am and then I would get ready for work... I'll leave here at 11. And then my birthday boy, Cody, came by and with the dogs and the tv and the cats and trying to read back through what I've already written... that hour has flown by. Oh well. Better to spend time with the three dimensional people than to focus my efforts on cyberspace. After work we're going out to dinner for Cody's birthday... and I will be C-spanning and internet surfing until I fall asleep. The days really fly by.

I told Cody when he came in this morning that I was his age when I had him. He's 22. I was 22 when I had him. He shook his head. Hard to imagine how ridiculously young we were.

Anyways... so that's what's happening around here... hope you have a great Thursday and if you're somewhere that's getting drenched with rain, you're in my prayers! Love and hugs and Happy Friday Eve, y'all!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Reasons to Love Monday - Warm Fuzzies and Right Turns

I'm aching from every single joint in my body, partly from the move into the mountain house and partly from that ole nasty storm out in the gulf. I'm one of those people who feels a storm... and still, even though a long day is staring my painful body right in the face, I'm going to dig deep and find a few reasons to love Monday!

1. This was my blood pressure on Friday. It was the lowest blood pressure I have had in the four years I've been going to this doctor's office. They made me feel like a ROCK STAR and I've been riding the wave of that glimpse of what good health looks like and feels like all the way since Friday. My nurse asked if I had a camera phone and I told her no... but I did have a camera with me. She said, "take a picture" and so I did. It's not exactly practical to have a general practitioner who is ninety miles away... but... it's worth it to me to stay with people who understand the challenges I'm facing.

2. I loved spending time in the mountains this weekend... even though the mountain house has not yet achieved the place of rest and relaxation that we hope it will some day be... it was great to be there working together as a family to put things together. I spent Saturday night digging through a huge box of family archives from grandma and I found some really awesome things that she had written about our family history. My paternal grandmother liked to write. My maternal grandfather wrote a book that I've been eager to read and transcribe. My dad writes each morning. My brother writes songs. It's almost as if I was born to be a writer. I know that the mountain house will be a great place for me to exercise my creative abilities. I had decided that I was fine with being off the grid there... and it really was nice and peaceful Saturday night... yet, I think I might be able to accomplish more in the way of writing if I had access to the internet. Still thinking on that. At any rate... the only thing that was hard about being in the mountains over the weekend was missing my little Trouble kitty. I know this picture reinforces my "crazy old cat lady" status but I don't care. I love that cat!

3. THIS was the moment that I really felt the potential for our mountain home to be a wonderful gathering place for our family. In the lead is my brother Michael who has probably only appeared on my old blog way back in the day. I rarely see him or his boys. They are Jehovah's Witnesses so they don't do holiday gatherings. They live in Chattanooga so they are too far away to just "pop in", although, I will say that Michael is really good about visiting mom when she's in the hospital and things like that. He's the middle child and he has two sons and a step-daughter, Tiffany, who is as much a Gant as anyone born in our family. Everyone was running up the hill to get away from the lake because it was thundering. In the back is Jim and Angie (holding hands) my nephew Cory (Michael's son) is watching everyone come up the hill. There is nothing like spending time with family to give you the strength and energy to carry on with your life... feeling connected to something... gives me warm fuzzies!
4. Talk about warm fuzzies! Another really rare picture. The last time these kids were together was in March 2006. They are (l-r) Sarabeth (9) Matthew (12) and Cory (15). Cory was my first nephew. I have the family's first three grandchildren... so I waited awhile to be an aunt. I was so proud to have this little boy (who now towers over me) in our family. A few years later we gained Matthew (who really, really hates having his picture taken because his eyes are sensitive to the light). And, I had two nieces enter the family by marriage, Tiffany and Elizabeth (who is Matthew's age) but Sarabeth was the first girl born into our family since me... it was a 34 year gap between baby girls! She is such a beautiful girl... so tall and graceful. She has come a long way in breaking out of her shyness but this picture was a stretch... having to stand with boys she didn't know, even if they are cousins. It just did my heart so much good to see these babies together!
5. Another warm fuzzy... my brother Michael teaching my niece Jamie how to fish. Jamie had really no memories of her Uncle Michael but she warmed up to him right  away.

(I'm running out of time.. gotta put this on the fast track)

6. Reason to Love Monday - Republican Convention! I am excited to hear the speeches, get encouraged and enlightened about what the Republican Party has to say - to hear their ideas about getting us back on track. And... that Tampa Bay convention venue has an organ that my son installed. I don't know if they're using the organ for the convention but if they do... just know that MY KID did that!

7. During my trip up this weekend I got to spend a good bit of time with Austin. He is doing a few things that I'm not crazy about. He needs a haircut. He hasn't done laundry in weeks - their washer broke down. There's a laundrymat about a quarter of a mile from where he lives so he has the option to go there but just hasn't. I offered him the change... he said he had the money. It's a long story. He's not in imminent danger or anything... and he does seem to be working consistently... he just needs a mama still and it hurts me that I am not able to be there for him. My reason to love Monday? I'll be back up there in a few days and can do a little to help him.

8. My reason to love Monday is not that my eyes are closed in this picture... not that I'm hiding behind my mom... trying to hide half my hefty self...my reason to love Monday is the fishing lure that Jamie was casting that if you look very closely below my dad's ear, you'll see... right in the split second before it whacked my mom in the head. That was on Saturday night and it's still funny! You can tell that my brothers stole all the height in our family!



9. When I'm driving, I hate to make unassisted left turns. I hate that feeling of having to time things so that I don't end up in the back of an ambulance with my car on the back of a wrecker. I always choose the path of least resistance. When I faced the loss of my job, therefore the loss of my income, I was faced with a hard, blind, left turn. And I've got to tell you, I really grieved the loss of living in the mountains. I am perfectly happy, content, safe, etc here in the suburbs but at my heart, I'm a mountain girl. Being able to know that in a few short days, I'll be looking out at this same awesome view... makes Monday just the necessary evil that I must go through to get to my four day weekend ahead. It feels like I'm through with those awful left turns and am happily making safe, easy right turns now. It's gonna be a great week, y'all!

If you're in the path of nasty weather, please be safe! Love and hugs!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Freaky Friday. Not really.

Living with chronic pain is like living on a fixed income - you know if you spend your strength in one area, that you won't be able to spend it somewhere else. It's not like you can take a hot bath, take a few pain pills, go to sleep and wake up brand new the next morning. You might take the edge off but whatever you do one day means that tomorrow you're going to be able to do less. That's what I'm having to think about today. I've got a few things on the agenda today...

doctor appointment
picking up a few things for the new house
taking austin to the bank
changing my voter registration
making some changes to my insurance (like, moving those policies down to my new office)
going to see a friend

And I'd like to do a little bit in the way of cleaning and/or moving the things I can carry on my own into the new house. I just don't want to drain the energy bank and not be able to be productive tomorrow. The other thing... living with my mom and dad... mom and I kind of split the energy burning activities. We switch off on taking the dogs out, feeding the cats, cleaning the kitchen, etc. And no matter what I accomplish up here today, my mom is draining her energy by doing the things I would normally help with.

Just doing the things on my agenda for the day would be more than I would normally do on any given day. Yesterday I did a lot more than I would normally do. On Wednesday I worked longer than I usually do and also had that klutzy fall that drained off some of my account by increasing the pain level. Tomorrow is the big moving day. Sunday we need to get back to the southside of town. I'm working five days next week. It's cumulative. So today... I've got to be conservative with what I do.

Let me just tell you how much I hate that. I hate having training wheels on. I want to just Forrest Gump it - run and run and just not stop. I am a - "let's work and get it done so we can rest and enjoy the fruits of our labor" kind of person. Chronic pain has made me a "it will still be there tomorrow" kind of person. Sometimes it makes me an, "do I really care if this gets done or not?" person. And it's definitely made it hard for me to deal with deadlines. Or work with anyone else who needs me to carry my share of the load. There is a limit. It's not a limit I picked... it's a limit that fate handed to me. And what I've done for the past 19 months since my circumstances changed is learn to not feel guilty about the things I can't do.

But it still makes me mad sometimes.

Anyways. I love these mountains. I love getting to see my girls (and their parents, of course). I drove the girls to school this morning and it just makes me feel so connected to them. I have other nieces and nephews... four in one place, three in another... that geography and circumstances have prevented me from being a part of their every day life. I'm just that aunt that they know nothing about and would be awkward around since we never see each other. I have aunts like that and it's sorta sad to miss out on those connections. With Sarabeth and Jamie, I get to know the places and people in their lives and have little inside jokes with them and know what they like and don't like. Yesterday I picked up two little tote bags at Walmart. I knew the purple one would be Jamie's favorite and I knew Sarabeth would like the hot pink one. Sure enough, when I got to their house, Jamie was dressed in purple and Sarabeth was dressed in hot pink. I know these girls and I don't it for granted.

I loved spending time with Austin yesterday. I had to fight the urge to play Mommy-Fix-It when I found out that he didn't have lunch yesterday because they were out of bread and nobody has a car to go to the store. His work program only guarantees him a job through August. They help place him in a permanent position but there's no guarantees and they may or may not provide transportation. I have a thousand suggestions of how to work around the different obstacles he's facing but what I've found out through my almost 26 years of parenting is that it's really good for people to learn to solve their own problems. Had he moved to Riverdale with me he would have learned nothing, would probably still not be working and he would just create a whole new layer of stress for me and my parents. I'm glad to be a resource, glad to give my opinion, glad to share from my own experiences but having Austin living on his own and supporting himself is a good thing. I'm just glad to have a place where I can go and visit him without crowding him.

So... this home is special to me for those opportunities it provides plus allowing me a way to be a part of a part of the world that I really love. And whatever it takes to make this place a comfy place to crash, even if it's a painful process, is a labor of love for me.

Gotta put some makeup on and get things started! Have a great day, y'all!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Carefree Thursday


This is a picture my brother Bryan took before Cody & Marquee's wedding. I love it for soooo many reasons... mainly, because this is such a perfect depiction of our Jamie girl...  and the one word I would use to describe her, "carefree". She's just so precious!

And that's me, for a little while today. The power is out at the office due to some Georgia Power upgrade or catastrophe or something. They called initially and asked me to come in an hour late... and then I thought... hmmm... if I could just *not* work this afternoon and go ahead and head to the mountains, rather than facing rush hour traffic after work. I spoke with the Office Manager and she said it was fine... no power means no phones and things were already slow before the power went down. She said I could work a few extra hours next week if I wanted. Sounds like a plan!

So I'm heading north... having dinner with my kid and his girlfriend... spending the night with Jim, Angie, Sarabeth and Little Miss Carefree Jamie Gant.

There's lots to do this weekend so it's nice to start it off with a leisurely, carefree Thursday.

No internet at the mountain house yet... but I'll be at Jim and Angie's until Saturday so I guess I'll be back online at some point. If you don't hear from me, assume all is well!

Happy (early) weekend! Love and hugs, y'all!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Whiny Wednesday? Not so much.

When you go to put your pants on in the morning and fall over... you realize it's a Whiny Wednesday in the making.

Like, seriously... a year and a half ago I could do a split. Now I'm so off balance that I can't stand on one foot long enough to put my other foot in a pair of pants.

The good news? The pants fit. A month ago they didn't. Not that I've been deliberately dieting or anything but I have been busier and have skipped a few meals. Pop has lost 13 pounds this week, so his hardcore, doctor supervised diet definitely works. Even on your family members, apparently. I'm collateral damage to my dad's diet. Love it.

The fall wasn't too bad. I mean, I'm 5'1. I don't have far to go. But my room is a converted garage so the floor is hard and I feel sort of like I've been in a car wreck, a minor one.

I went on to work though... I fed my hurt feelings with two krispy kreme donuts, hot and ready. They tasted like hot grease and sugar but it hit the spot. So did the hazelnut iced coffee.

I got to work early, stayed late, got a lot done and was so, soooo glad to be there, despite the pain. This is a work environment that I enjoy so much that I don't mind being there. It's a place where I feel appreciated.

There's a slight problem with my credit history which impacts my sales agreement. It's something that could have been a major problem in a different place but where I am, it can be handled. I sorta expected this little issue. Most of my debt is medical debt, except for a couple of things from the Darby Era that I'm still sorting out. The good news, what helps my case, is that I haven't established any new debts (other than medical) in the past 8 years and the fact that my expenses are minimal. We're getting there. I'm headed in the right direction, at least.

Except when I put on pants. I  love my heating pad.

Tomorrow night I'm heading to the mountains, no matter what. I can't wait to see my girls. I'm taking them to school on Friday morning. Every time I see them they're an inch taller and seem to have aged a couple of years. They have always been a joy to be around, now they're just so much more so.

I can't wait to see Austin, too. It was less than a month ago when I prayed a prayer that God would just make a way for Austin, inspire him, motivate him, let him find his way. He's been working since just a few days after that. I talked to him yesterday and he was at work. I said, "are you at work?" and he said, "I work every week day". Like, it's just what you do. For a kid who NEVER made it to school five days in a row, that's a huge, huge change of perspective. Coincidental? Not in my mind.

So, despite my lack of grace, I'm surrounded by it. And... although I may struggle from time to time, life is better than it's been in a very long time.

Whiny Wednesday? Eh. Not so much.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Quiet

There is currently one cat in my bedroom window.
One cat on the kitchen table on a box.
One cat on a shelf in the computer room.
One cat asleep in the bathroom sink.
There is one dog asleep beside the front door.
One dog asleep guarding the door to my room.
And one dog asleep beside me in the recliner covered in (one of) his favorite blankets.
The tv is on mute.
Pop is at work.
Mama is at work.
I will work from 11:30-4:30.
Cody will go to work whenever his dad wakes up and comes by with the work truck.
Marquee's mom (or my mom, I forget whose turn it is) will come by and take her to school.
Austin is at work at the Goodwill store in Toccoa.
And Ryan is doing whatever wherever he is. I can't keep up with him.
It's quiet here, but I'm really looking forward to the quiet of the mountain house.
I'm not sure if we'll have internet and/or satellite initially.
Heck, the bed my parents were going to use is being used to stage Grandma's house for sale...
so their first days in the mountains might end up being like my first days - on an air mattress.
Although, I have my bed and couch and loveseat and super comfy big chair -
which would all be more comfy than an air mattress.
There's a lot of stuff to move in this weekend...
And I suppose from there it will be a process of taking things from this house to that house.
Making sure that there are creature comforts in both places.
And mama's fishing pole.
In a way, I'm looking forward to a little bit of solitude.
I've been in a bit of a spiritual drought.
Not because the rains haven't come - they pour down all the time.
I just keep my big golf umbrella of selfish, sometimes worthless, pursuits blocking the rain.
When I was working full time I saturated my morning with prayer.
I needed God's help to survive the pain.
I spent my lunch breaks in bible study.
I needed to hide myself in His Word.
I prayed a prayer of praise, often in tears, on the way home.
I prayed a lot for the boy I was raising.
I would say that the last five ten all of my adult years - have brought me to my knees in prayer.
Out of desperation.
And God has been faithful.
Not in the terms of giving me everything I ask for or dream up or could ever want.
But He's always been faithful to me in meeting my daily needs.
He helped me accomplish the job I hired on for at the age of 18 - raising my boys.
He helped me find a way to earn a living despite feeling worthless because of my disability.
He put me in a place where I could form bonds that will carry me through this next season of life.
However, I have participated for the last five ten all of my adult years in "Crisis Christianity"
I know how to seek Him in times of trouble
I know how to make Him my savior
I just forgot never learned how to make Him my Lord
And to come to Him from a place of peace, just to keep the faith
There have been times that I wondered and waivered and struggled
Is He really there?
And I wondered how I could wonder that, after all the remarkable, miraculous things He's done in my life.
Then I remembered that He is the author and perfector of our faith
And if I'm not visiting with Him regularly, He is not able to write any more stories about faith in my life
Or make my faith perfect.
I had to learn how to be an employee with a disability and still be productive
Now I have to learn how to be a Follower of Christ with a disability
And let that rain fall down on me.
I think rather than buying a tv for my mountain space... I need to buy a porch swing...
And spend some time looking at the lake, listening to the silence...hearing a still, small voice
"You will find me when you seek me with all of your heart"
And I've still got the book that granddaddy wrote that I want to read.
I've got a ton of half finished bible studies that I want to complete.
There are people and places that I love up there that I haven't seen in over two months...
With my work schedule over the next two months, I'll have about 4 long weekends where I can go
It would be a good time to get to know Him from a place of peace.
Happy Tuesday, y'all!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Reasons to Love Monday, Take Two!

I'm unintentionally back to my ridiculously early morning routine. I fell asleep early last night and woke up about 3am writhing in pain. I got up and got on the heating pad and it's better. I may grab a nap before time to get up for work.

SOooo... despite my early morning... there are still reasons to love Monday... here goes:

1. I get to go to work today! I love my job. I love being there. I love the way everyone who isn't on the phone greets me when I walk in. I love the sincerity in their voices. I love that there is absolutely no resentment toward anyone who works less than full time hours. I love being part of their lottery pool and the birthday list and all the things that make it feel like a real team, not just a group of people who happen to work together.

2. I love going to a place that appreciates my abilities instead of constantly making me feel guilty for my disabilties. Once we get the mountain house settled, I know there is going to be a huge pull to be there all the time but I love working here so much, I imagine that I will stay there as long as they'll have me and as long as I'm able. It's like... when you struggle for so long to fit somewhere you don't fit... and then all of a sudden you find your niche. It makes life soooo much easier! It doesn't feel like work at all!

3. Speaking of the mountain house, can you believe I still haven't seen it?

I just haven't gone up there yet. Thursday evening I HAVE to go up there because Friday morning I HAVE to do the bloodwork and doctors appointment that I've been putting off for a month. Thursday I'll probably stay with Jim and Angie and hopefully, by Friday evening, I'll either have my bed or a couch set up so that I can sleep there. The goal is to have the entire storage place emptied out by the end of the weekend. Austin is eager to help. Cody and Bubba and even my brother Michael are going to help on Saturday. 

4. I haven't seen Austin since June 23rd. I miss him but I'm proud that he's been able to make a way for himself. I hated ripping off the bandaid... I would have preferred to help nurture him into adulthood but... maybe this was what we both needed, for him to find his own path. I'm excited about seeing him this weekend.

5. I haven't seen my brother Michael in two years and that was just a few minutes while my mom was in the hospital. He's coming with my nephews, Cory and Matthew (who are 15 and almost 13) that I haven't seen in a long time either. I hope and pray that the mountain house will give our family a place and a reason to get together more often. There are 27 members of our immediate family and if we ever get together (the last time we were all together was 2006), we need a good bit of space.

6. After writing those first five points, I went back to bed and sorta slept a little longer. I'm having wicked muscle spasms today and the pain is so bad that it had me breaking out in a cold sweat. That's a new one. I'm awake again and have another hour and a half or so before I have to leave for work... but here again... I'm so grateful that my time away and the time that I have to be functional is around six hours, max. I can do this, right?

7. Pop's doing good on his diet. He's doing this high protein program that his doctor put him on. It's mostly just protein and veggies. This is closer to the clean eating way I *want* to eat but I get in these ruts of eating easy to fix meals or meals that someone else fixes. Clean eating is basically eating foods that are single ingredient - usually food without preservatives, etc. The main thing that he can't eat is carbs and I usually include a lot of grains/beans in my clean eating plan so it's been tricky trying to adjust our meals to fit his needs but fortunately I've got a lot of experience losing weight. Unfortunately, I've got a lot of experience with gaining weight. 

8. Oscar is snuggled up beside me sleeping. He came and got in bed with me for about thirty seconds earlier, when I went back to sleep. Nothing like getting woke up by a cold, wet nose! I'm leaving before my mom comes home from her first shift so the poor puppy is going to be alone for a few minutes. Hope he can handle it!

Soooo.... there you have 'em... a few reasons I'm loving Monday today. I'm sure as I go through the day I'll find more and more. I hope you find a few of your own and I'd love to hear them! Have a great Monday, y'all! Let's do this thing!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Harlette Herleva of Falaise

I love stories of strong women. Not that I prefer men to be wimpy, or anything like that, it's just that women are supposed to be "the weaker sex" and... I mean, yeah, I may run the other way when I see a spider but I've given birth three times which I think is MUCH harder than killing a spider.

So today in my research I came across this lady.... Herleva of Falaise... the mother of William the Conquerer AND the mother of my 29th great-grandmother.


Herleva (c. 1003 - c. 1050) also known as Arlette, Arletta, Herlève and Herleva, was the mother of William I of England. She had two further sons, Odo of Bayeux and Robert, Count of Mortain, who became prominent in William's realm.
The background of Herleva and the circumstances of William's birth are shrouded in mystery. The written evidence dates from a generation or two later, and is not entirely consistent. The most commonly accepted version says that she was the daughter of a tanner named Fulbert from the small Norman town of Falaise, where they lived. Translation being somewhat uncertain, Fulbert may instead have been a furrier, embalmer, or a person who laid out corpses for burial.
 
It is argued by some that Herleva's father was not a tanner but rather a member of burgher class. The idea is supported by the fact that her brothers appear in a later document as attestors for an under-age William. Also, the Count of Flanders later accepted Herleva as a proper guardian for his own daughter. Both facts would be nearly impossible if the father (and therefore her brothers) of Herleva was a tanner, little more than a peasant.
 
Relationship with Robert the Magnificent
According to one legend, still recounted by tour guides at Falaise, it all started when Robert, the young Duke of Normandy saw Herleva from the roof of his castle tower. The walkway on the roof still looks down on the dyeing trenches cut into stone in the courtyard below, which can be seen to this day from the tower ramparts above. The traditional way of dyeing leather or garments was for individuals to trample barefoot on the garments which were awash in the dyeing liquid in these trenches.
 
Herleva, legend goes, seeing the Duke on his ramparts above, raised her skirts perhaps a bit more than necessary in order to attract the Duke's eye. The latter was immediately smitten and ordered her brought in (as was customary for any wench that caught the Duke's eye) through the back door. Herleva refused, saying she would only enter the Duke's castle on horseback through the front gate. The Duke, filled with lust, could only agree. In a few days, Herleva, dressed in the finest her father could provide, and sitting on a white horse, rode proudly through the front gate, her head held high. This gave Herleva a semi-official status as the Duke's mistress.
 
She later gave birth to his son, William, in 1027 or 1028, and probably a daughter, Adelaide, in 1030.

Some accounts indicate that Robert the Magnificent is NOT Adelaide's father but... either way, Herleva the harlot is still my great-grandmother. Gotta love it!



Herleva of Falaise (1003 - 1050)
is your 30th great grandmother
Daughter of Herleva of
Daughter of Princess Adelaide "Countess of Aumale" of
Daughter of ADELIZA
Daughter of Lady Adelise de
Daughter of Hawise Maud de
Son of Rohese
Daughter of Gilbert
Daughter of Heloise de
Daughter of Agnes
Daughter of Anice
Daughter of Joyce
Son of Ellen
Son of John
Daughter of John
Daughter of Jane
Daughter of Elizabeth
Daughter of Muriel
Daughter of Ellen
Daughter of Ursula
Daughter of Ann
Daughter of Margaret
Daughter of Mary
Son of Hannah
Son of William
Son of Benjamin
Daughter of William
Son of Pansley Elaine
Daughter of Moseley Peyton
Son of Rosa Bertha
Daughter of Charles Pelham
Son of Leta Mae
Daughter of James Edward

The Bullock Family of Buena Vista, Georgia, part two

This is a typed "recollection" by my grandmother about her family. If you missed the first part of this story... click here to go back and read it....

There were the days we visited Juniper, Georgia. Aunt Mae and Uncle Will Posey lived there where Uncle Will had a casket factory. Later on, the casket factory burned and he worked for the post office.

Myra, George, Leon and Virginia are Aunt Mae and Uncle Will's children. Cynthia and Charles loved to go to Juniper (they are near the ages of these children). I only remember the big house and yard, the lake, the bridge over teh lake. Sis liked to mimic Aunt Mae calling the children home: "Lee-on, Geor-ge, My-ra, Shug". On the back porch were basins for us to wash up for dinner.

There were times we drove to Talbotton to visit "Miss" Pearl and her husband John. We would catch June bugs -- in some way we tied string to one of their legs. (Buddy Jordon, Virginia's future husband lived in Talbotton).

One time we were riding to Buena Vista in the old Whippet. A bee got in the window. Aunt Kate, Harry Bird and Edd Jr. were with us. The bee stung one of them. This temporarily presented a problem but relief finally arrived!

Aunt Relia and Uncle David moved to Atlanta in the 30's. (sidenote: the 1940 Census shows them living at 1290 S. Oxford Road in unincorporated Emory - Dekalb County, Georgia) Uncle David and a Mr. Fuller opened a fried pork skins business. This became a very profitable operation. Unfortunately, David Jr. lost his life in a plane crash at a young age. George joined the army. He was killed while on R&R - plane crashed into the side of a mountain somewhere in Italy. O.C. joined the Army during WWII. He became quite ill. Aunt Relia flew out to see about him. Barbara went off to Virginia Intermont College. (Barbara is about  5 years younger than I). Frank was still in school. (he is about five years younger than Barbara). After O.C.'s tour of duty he married Vivian Calloway. They have two daughters, Cordy and Karen.

Barbara married John Harris, a Georgia Tech graduate. They have one son, John III and two daughters, Susan and Kathi.

Frank, Aunt Relia and Uncle David's youngest son ws very active in the family business. He and his wife, Rita, have two daughter, Jan and Pam. Rita died some years ago. He is now married to his childhood sweetheart, Kitty.

Mother and Daddy's home was a gathering place for relatives before any of them moved to Atlanta. Daddy was a General Practician, practicing medicine at Crawford Long Hospital and had an established office located at the Flat Iron Building in downtown Atlanta.

Aunt Mae and Uncle Will moved to Atlanta in the 30s. Aunt Lillian and Uncle Oscar Garner lived in the Stone Mountain, Georgia, area where Uncle Oscar's family lived. (sidenote: the 1940 Census shows them living at 998 Cleburne Avenue, NE, Atlanta) They were "hard-shelled" Baptists, as they called them, whom used no organs or pianos- used a dulcimer-type instrument. They would have foot washings and there would be "dinner out on the ground" after preaching. I had the pleasure of taking Uncle Oscar and Aunt Lillian so experienced what the early Christians did as Jesus washed their feet.

Uncle Oscar was a World War I survivor. Aunt Lillian and Uncle Oscar have two sons, Charles, about Sister Jane's age and Robert, about Sister Bette's age. Uncle Oscar and Aunt Lillian eventually settled in East Atlanta on Portland Avenue. Uncle Oscar worked with his sister Rena's husband who had a large lumber yard, Williams Brothers. Nunnie (Aunt Lillian) enjoyed keeping a clean house - - I can visualize the curtain stretchers out on the driveway -- shortly there would be a beautifully starched organdy-type curtains. Nunnie also liked to cook... her chocolate pudding was so creamy and rich!

Charles Garner, Aunt Lillian and Uncle Oscar's son, was killed in a plane crash when he and his wife, Betty's  only son Charles Patrick Garner was only five months old. Charles was to participate in President Truman's inauguration - had been a top-notch pilot during World War II. It was a very sad time for all of us. The Lord, however, sustains us in our trials of life. Somehow He gives us strength - thought love and comfort of family, friends.. and Behold, we can now face the future with hope. Betty and Pat lived several years with Nunnie and Unk. They were devoted to them, attempting to fill the void left by the absence of Charles. Some  years later Betty met Culver Shore, son of a Methodist Minister. They were married about twenty five years. He was devoted to Betty and Pat - and helped Pat develop into a fine young man. (Betty and I shared many hours as friends and I enjoyed being in their home while they lived in the Orlando area.)

Robert, Nunnie and Unk's youngest son, married Grace early in life. They have 2 children, Robert Jr. and Carole Ann. They live in Birmingham, Alabama.

Aunt Kate, Mother's youngest sister, lived with Uncle Edd Hendrix, her husband, in the Grant Park Area. Uncle Edd had a Barber Shop (also "dabbled" in Real Estate, etc) --very successful business man. He and Aunt Kate have two sons, Edd Jr, little younger than Sister Jane and Harry Bird, about seven years younger than I.

Aunt Kate would ride the streetcar over to our home (while Uncle Edd was at work). She was a beautiful person, wore a short barbed hairstyle, had a natural waves in her hair. Aunt Kate was small in statue and a bit stout. She loved to cook, especially sweets, making the best chocolate fudge. Harry and Edd Jr. always looked like they "stepped out of a band box", their clothes so clean and pressed... we didn't get to enjoy her friendship long. She died of breast cancer at age 39.

Edd Hendrix, Jr. served in WWII. I can remember his homecoming and how Bette, Mary Rogers, Edd, myself and others went horseback riding. At that time there was a popular song out, "It Could Be Spring". Edd married Elaine; they have two children, Cathy and Eddie. 

Harry Bird Hendrix married young. He and Flora have 3 children, - Debra, Doug and Beth. (Harry may have been in the Navy during WWII days - I'm not sure).

Uncle Edd remarried one of Aunt Kate's friends. She was a wonderful companion to Uncle Edd and loved the children and grandchildren. Uncle Edd was always attentive to Mother and her sisters and interested in Uncle David's welfare. He was especially kind to me while I was experiencing a divorce and trying times -- he came to the house on Alder Court one day with a big bag of oranges!

Aunt Mae loved to eat, as most of we Bullocks do. When she prepared a meal it was a delicious spread, with all those homemade preserves and relishes. We learned many lessons in family life from Aunt Mae after she came to live with us. Mother was working, Daddy deceased. She saw that meals were prepared and chores done. Aunt Mae wanted the children to display good manners, especially at the dinner table. I remember our planting corn; she would drop the seeds in the ground, we would cover. We had fun working together.

Uncle David, Mother's only living brother, was a successful businessman. How we admired Uncle David -- he surely watched over his sisters, being sure all was well with them. He loved to smoke "Bull Durham" tobacco, rolling his own cigarettes. After he and Aunt Relia moved to Atlanta we saw them more. Bette, Barbara and I spent many happy times together, playing and going places with one another in the Little Five Points vicinity. Them they moved to a large home on South Oxford Road. Later on Uncle David bought an old mansion on Ponce De Leon Avenue, but, that must not have seemed like home -- they liked South Oxford the best, near Emory University.

Aunt Relia (Aurelia Highnote) Bullock, Uncle David's wife, has always been a remarkable person, standing tall in times of adversity. She not only stood the sorrow of losing two sons, she helped family members shoulder hard times. She was so good to our Mother, taking her to Sunday School and church and to the United Methodist Women's meetings. She visited in our home and was a great comfort to Mother after all of us had gone our separate ways. After Uncle David and Mother died, she and I shared many phone conversations. She was House Mother at one of the Fraternity Houses at Georgia Tech. I shared in some of the activities where she served as Chaperone. 

Kate Green Hall, Mother's cousin, moved to our home on Oakdale shortly after her husband, W. H. Hall had died. Cousin Kate was a business woman in Columbus, having her own millinery shop. How she met Mr. Hall, I do not know. What I do know is that she was a might brave woman to have married a man with seven children. (She must have been in her forties when wed). She and Mr. Hall ran a boarding house on Piedmont Avenue, beautiful old home with a large front porch. We would visit them on Sunday afternoon. Usually she served us homemade ice cream. (I can see her, right now, sitting in the corner of the sofa, feet propped up on the  coffee table as she corcheted... talking to us as she did.) She made delicious fruit cake, darling little caps and booties for babies and lovely pieces of crocheted lace, which would be inset into linen tablecloths. She was a pillar of St. Mark's Methodist Church. One time she said to me, "Don't you think I have a good figure for a woman my age" as she died a modeling act. We'll always remember Cousin Kate, tiny and somewhat stout, wearing her hair with a knot on top of her head... 
(sidenote: Kate Hall's address in the 1940 Census was Piedmont Ave, Atlanta, Georgia).

Kathryn Holmes, mother's cousin... closely associated to Cousin Kate Hall, spent time at our house, visiting as a young woman, then living several months with us after suffering a stroke. When I was working in Arlington, Virginia as a Government Employee, Pentagon Building, she showed me the Washington D.C. attractions. She was employed by the Navy Department and boarded in a lovely old home in a well-to-do neighborhood in Washington.

I believe her grandmother and our grandmother were sister-in-laws. When Kathryn died Emily Posey gave me a lot of her memoirs. Many family pictures were among these but no names on them; yet, some of them favor our relatives. A favorite writing you may remember, written by William Shakespeare was penned in an old autograph book, belonging to her mother, Mary:

"To thine own self be true, an it will follow as the night, the day. Thou canst not be false to any man."
"To be true to oneself and to all men is to be true to God. This is your desire, and by His grace will aid you in all the trials and realities of life, bringing you to a triumphant end and an abundant entrance into the everlasting  home of the soul". 

This was penned December 26, 1887.

The Depression affected so many people... our Father, for one. He had invested in Real Estate. Then he was involved in an automobile accident and left in poor health. He gave up office in the Flat Iron Building, renting a smaller place on Linden Avenue. After making a trip to Florida, hoping to improve his health, he came home, developed a cerebra hemorrhage, dying July 30, 1939. Our father made a name for himself in his "heyday"; he was one of the discovers of an ailment, called pellagra) He had a big practice and probably would have died wealthier than he was had he not had heart and not charged those who could not afford to pay... or if he had pressed hard to collect from those who could... 

To be continued....

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Really, Really Thankful this Thursday!

Yabba dabba dooo! Today's my Friday!
I work from 11:30 to 4:30.
It's payday and I already have my direct deposit in my account.
First paycheck since March 16th!
Can you imagine surviving for five months without any income?

From paycheck to paycheck... five months...
and when my paycheck came in there was $7.32 in my account, ten dollars in cash in my wallet.
But last night for dinner we had salmon, roasted chickpeas and mushroom "fries".
I didn't starve.
Isn't it amazing how God provided for me and Austin and Stubby and Trouble through all of that?
We never missed a meal, that's for sure!
Family members who generously provided for us...
Parents who were willing to let me crash their empty nest...
Even with two rotten cats...
Austin having a place to live, not the place where I would have chosen but so far, it's ok.
Austin is still working and loves getting paychecks.
I can feel the pride he feels in himself. That feeling is addictive.
I feel it myself today.
We made it.
I found a job that is exactly what I needed...
flexible hours, and employer who sees a person's abilities, beyond their disabilities...
Every day there I feel more blessed.
Every day HERE I feel more blessed.
And this season of life that had loomed dark and scary...
Involves so many wonderful surprises...
Time with Cody and Marquee and Sammy dog...
An Oscar dog who climbs in bed with me when Mawmaw leaves in the morning...
A Lily dog who waits patiently for the opportunity to lick my plate after every meal...
Old Rosie cat who can barely see but likes to eat treats out of my hand...
And Lady and Stubby and Trouble and Tommy and Eddie, the "Ginger Cat" and the fish and the Gram-sters...
Mom and Pop... finally being an "only child"... finally being finished raising children...
Finally, after 36 years in the same house, my parents are buying a new house today...
Going from one little house with about 1100 square feet where they raised five kids and a couple grandkids...
And an ex-girlfriend, an ex-boyfriend, a few stray people and a lot of stray animals...
To having that little house PLUS a huge (to us) Mountain House with another 2600 square feet...
Without a mortgage. God is that good!
Is there still pain? Yes, every day.
Uncle John is very sick in a hospital in Texas and we worry for him.
Grandma is settling in to her new season of life in Assisted Living.
Mom's longtime friend Becky's husband is in the hospital awaiting heart surgery.
We still miss Gramps
and know that when we celebrate Sarabeth's tenth birthday in October that we will feel his absence terribly.
We have hearts that are fragmented and bruised.
There are loved ones, living and dead, that we wish were here with us...
We carry along with us the scars that accumulate through life.
But we also carry along great hope for a future that seems brighter every day.
Hope that comes from fruit that comes from what seems like a barren tree...
Seeing, once again that joy DOES come in the morning...
and that although we may not have everything we wish for, we certainly have everything we need.
I'm thankful this Thursday and I hope you are too!
Love and hugs!
(and ps, we still need help moving on August 24th- 25th)





Wednesday, August 15, 2012

REAL New Yorkers!

I have always been fascinated with New York City. Not the tourist perspective, but the perspective of people who live there... and go to the restaurants... and go to the theatre and the museums... and don't rely on their own vehicles for transportation. The way that city functions just amazes me. 

I'm even more fascinated with the history of New York City... building the subway system, the Tenement Museum, Ellis Island (which I didn't get to visit but still would like to)... I love seeing old photos of NYC and knowing where the original boundaries of Manhattan were. 

The deeper I dig into my family genealogy, the more branches I find that go through New York. There's a measure of sorrow and sadness for me when I come across my Southern ancestors that participated in the abomination of slavery. I was of the perspective that my Northern ancestors were lily white and pure as the driven snow as far as guilt of crimes against humanity. That may not be accurate. It seems that there were many, many accounts of crimes against the native Americans, driving them out, taking their land from them. And one, particularly haunting account that my 11th great-grandfather took part in. 

The article below is incredibly interesting to me and for those of you who are interested in History or love New York, you will appreciate this view back to the past. Also, in Beacon, NY there is a historic site that has preserved the family home site. I would love to go there. If you're near there and have been, I'd love to hear your insights.  http://www.mountgulian.org/verplanck.html 

This article is copied from ancestry.com - I believe it is copied from some other source but I have been unable to find it and therefore can't credit it. I've added links for additional information where possible. There is SO much information out there, I tried to condense this article but I didn't want to leave anything out. If you're reading just to see the New York landmark/locations, I've tried to make them into links. 


   The Verplancks may lay just claim to belong to the veritable Knickerbocker stock. The first of the name in this country, of whom any record has been kept, was Abraham Isaacson Verplanck, which being translated means simply Abraham Verplanck, son of Isaac. There is a family tradition that his name was Abraham Jacobson Verplanck, but it is unsupported by any evidence whatsoever, in fact it is amply proved to have been as first stated, by the records of the Old Dutch Church in New York, as preserved in Valentine's Manual, where the names and dates of baptism of several children of Abraham Isaacson Verplanck are given, and these the same as those of the traditionary Abraham Jacobson Verplanck.

Abraham Isaacson Verplanck came from Holland, according to the same family tradition, about the year 1640, and married " the widowMaria Ross, whose maiden name was Vigne ;" she being a daughter ofGuleyn and Ariantje [Cuviljc] Vigne. Whether this marriage took place before his arrival in this country, or whether it was a second one consummated afterwards, I am unable to say. The presumption is very fair that they were married here, and there is no evidence that he was a widower as well as she a widow, for which also there is no other proof than the aforesaid tradition. But certain it is that the second child of Abraham Verplanck was born January 1st, 1637, and named Guleyn, the same as her father, but whether he was born here or in Holland I do not know. From his christian name I should suppose him to have been her child, which if so and born in this country, which I also think most likely, would place the arrival of Abraham Verplanck here at an earlier date than that given, which undoubtedly was the case.

He dropped the patronymic and was known as "Abraham" or "Abram" Verplanck, to whom in the years 1643 and 1644, land grants were made. He was a witness to a conveyance from the Indians to Governor Stuyvesant, January 23, 1656; and September 5th, 1664, was one of the signers to a " Remonstrance from the people of New Netherlands to the Director General and Council of the Dutch West India Company.''

After the surrender of New York to the English, he was among the citizens who, (n October, 1664, swore allegiance to the King ; but when on March 31st, 1665, a meeting of the burghers and inhabitants of the city of New Amsterdam was called by the Burgomasters and Schcpens to meet at the City Hall and agree upon how many of the English soldiers each would lodge in their respective houses, opposite to his name appears the decisive answer "cannot take any." It was finally ordered that those who could not accommodate any of the soldiers should be assessed a certain sum in lieu of the accommodations, and his name is on the assessment list as " residing on the Smet Valye." Smit Valye or Smidt's Valey, abbreviated Smct or Smce's Vly, was a marsh extending from the rising ground, a little north of the city walls, along the East river, or shore of the present Pearl Street, to the rising ground near Fulton Street. This valley or salt marsh was bounded westward by the high ground along the rear of the lots on the north-western side of Pearl Street, and is spoken of by this name as early as the time of Van Twiller. Abraham Verplanck lived on what would be the west side of the present Pearl Street, between Franklin Square and Wall Street. The same list contains the name of "Abigal Verplanck, residing on the Hooge Straat," or present Broadway. She was likely the "Abigil Verplanck and child " who arrived in "April, 1664," in the ship Concord, and might have been a sister-in-law or sister of Abraham Verplanck, or indeed even his mother, from whom his eldest child and daughter was named.

In February, 1674, after the recapture of New York from the English, the Burgomasters and Schepens of the city notified the governor, that having become greatly indebted, and being daily vexed by some of their creditors to make payment, they solicited that some expedient might be invented by which these debts could be liquidated. After taking it into serious consideration, the governor decided that no remedy could be applied more prompt, than that the money should be obtained by taxation of the wealthiest inhabitants " as often in similar occurrences had been put in practice in our Fatherland ;" therefore he deemed it necessary to command " that by calculation a tax be levied on the property of this State without exception, from all the inhabitants of this City of New Orange, those only excepted whose estates are calculated not to exceed the sum of one thousand gilders seawant value," and named six impartial men to levy and collect the same. From the list so made out Of the " most wealthy inhabitants," I find:

Abraham Verplanck. Estate valued at Gilders Holland value, 300
Guiliane Verplanck. " «•«••••• $i000

It may appear strange at first sight that Guiliane or more properly Gcleyn, should have at that early day an estate of so much greater value than his father, but this statement is reconcilable from the fact, if from no other reason, that six years before he had married into the Wessels family, one of the wealthiest in old New York, through which connection he doubtless obtained a large estate. The difference between "gilders seawant value" and "gilders Holland value," was very considerable; the exact proportion however I am unable to give, but abraided string of seawant, a fathom long, was worth a few years before only three-fourths of a guilder, and it was rapidly depreciating in value. This seawant or scawan was the name of the Indian money commonly called wampum. It cons1sted, as is well known, of beads formed of the shells of the quahaug and periwinkle; shell fish formerly abounding on our coast, and was of two colors, the black being held of double the value of the white.

Mrs. Verplanck died in the year 1671, and her husband survived her many years, dying at an advanced age, but exactly at what date I have been unable to discover: it is however believed to have been about 1680. He had nine children in the following order, viz.:

1.              Abigail, married A. Van Lac 1s.
2.    Geleyn, of whom hereafter is known as Gulian
3.    Catalyna, married David Pieterson Schuyler, October 13,1657.
4.  Isaac, baptized June 26,1641, died doubtless in infancy.
5.   Sussanna, baptized May 25,1642, married Martin Van Wacrt, December 4,1660.
6.   Jaconnyntje, baptized July 6,1644.
7.   Ariantje, baptized December 2,164C.(this is my ancestor)
8.   Hellegond, baptized November 1,1648.
9.   Isaac, baptized February 26,1651, married Miss Coeymans of Cocymans Patent, whose descendants live in the neighborhood of Albany.

A book published in Amsterdam, in 1651 (" Beschrymnghe Van Virginia" etc.), contains the earliest pictorial representation of the little dorp or village which has since become the commercial metropolis of America. This print represents a fort at the southern extremity of the island of New York, close to the water's edge, with a few houses sparsely scattered to the east and west of it, the roofs of some of which, from the inequality of the ground, are alone visible, and towering above all, that indispensable and uniformly prominent object in a Dutch village, a windmill. Before the drawing for this print was made, or, to express it more definitely, in 1630, four years after the purchase of the island from the Indians, when the entire population, men, women, and children, did not exceed three hundred souls, Abraham Isaacson Ver Planck, or, as he was sometimes called, Planck, was married to Maria, daughter to Jan Vigne, one of the proprietors of the land surrounding " The Collect," or Great Fresh-water Pond, which existed up to the early part of the present century, on the space now bounded by Broadway, Grand, Chatham, and Reade Streets. As he was the first immigrant and common ancestor, it may not be inappropriate upon an occasion like this to put together from our early Dutch records what has been preserved respecting him. In the year of his marriage, a director of the Amsterdam Company, named Pauw, obtained a patent for a large tract of land, opposite the little settlement, upon the western bank of the Hudson, which included what is now Jersey City and HobokenThis tract, to which he gave the Latin name of Pavonia, was granted to him as a Patroon under the imposing title of the Lord of Achtienhoven, that he might found there a feudal estate or manor of the kind which Van Rensselaer about the same period established in the land about Albany. Having vainly endeavored for several years to accomplish this object, -he gave up the grant, and Abraham Verplanck was the first to avail himself of the opportunity thus offered to obtain, by purchase, a considerable portion of this fertile tract at or in the vicinity of Jersey City, where he soon established a flourishing farm, and, by selling off other portions of it unconditionally to actual settlers for farms and tobacco-plantations, he managed to bring about what the would-be feudal proprietor could not, an •active and thriving agricultural settlement. In 1641 he was selected by the inhabitants as one of the council of " Twelve Men," the first attempt at any thing like representative government in the colony, which had its origin in the following circumstance:

Indian Massacre

In 1626 a peaceable Indian from Westchester, accompanied by his son, a young boy, started for the Dutch fort to barter some beaver-skins, and was met upon his way, in the vicinity of "the Collect," by three of the inhabitants, who robbed him of his peltries, and, to conceal what they had done, murdered him. The boy, however, escaped, to remember the deed and to avenge it in the manner of his race. When he had arrived at the age of manhood, fifteen years afterward, he went to New Amsterdam, and, entering the house of an humble mechanic, struck him dead with the blow of an axe. This open and daring act, perpetrated under the very walls of the fort, filled the whole settlement with consternation and alarm. The governor demanded the murderer, but his tribe, approving of what he had done, refused to give him up, upon which the heads of families in Manhattan and its vicinity were summoned to the fort, and, upon the governor apprising them of his design to make a general war upon the Indians, they selected twelve of their number as a representative body to confer with him. The " Twelve Men " decided against the war, evasively advising the governor to wait for a fitting opportunity; and, having in this way been called into existence as representatives, they proceeded to recommend a remodelling of the government, so as to secure to the inhabitants the rights and privileges they had enjoyed in Holland, which resulted in an ordinance of Governor Kief dissolving that body and forbidding any future assemblage of the people, as " dangerous and tending to the great injury of the country and of his authority." Very soon afterward Abraham Verplanck was arrested " for slandering the authorities and maliciously tearing down an ordinance posted on the gate of the fort," possibly the one dissolving the popular body, for which he was fined three hundred guilders. The imposition of this fine, a very heavy one at the time, appears to have wrought a thorough change in his sentiments j for in the following year, with two others who had served with him in the Council of the Twelve Men, he went to Kief, and, falsely professing to represent the wishes of the inhabitants, proposed that an attack should be made upon the unsuspecting savages, he and his two associates offering to guide the soldiers and to assist them in making it. The proposition was eagerly accepted, and led to the perpetration of the darkest deed that stains the annals of New Netherland. One hundred and twenty Indians at Pavonia and Corlear's Hook were massacred in cold blood in their wigwams at midnight. Forty were murdered in their beds. Infants, torn from their mothers' breasts, were chopped into pieces with axes, and the fragments thrown into the fire. Neither age nor sex was spared; and the cries of the unhappy wretches, borne across the waters of the Hudson, were heard on the ramparts of the fort at New Amsterdam, by the navigator De Vries, who has recorded the incident.

That Abraham Verplanck was not merely one of the instigators, but one of the chief actors in the execution of this bloody deed, may be inferred from the fact that, when the matter came before the States-General for investigation, the committee to whom it was referred recommended that two persons should be brought to Holland for examination, and Abraham Verplanck was one of them. It may very well have been, in view of this circumstance, that Mr. Verplanck never felt any desire to write the history of New Netherland, but left the task to be discharged long after he had become prominent as a literary man, by Dr. O. Callagham and Mr. Brodhead. Indeed, with the exception of a slight allusion in an oration delivered half a century ago, I am not aware that he ever wrote any thing about the people of New Netherland or their history.

The investigation in Holland seems to have been abandoned, or at least was productive of no injurious consequences to Abraham Verplanck, for he grew in favor under the subsequent government of Stuyvesant. In 1649 he was the owner of a plot of ground adjoining the fort, upon which he had a house and garden, which I suppose to have been the site of the present Bowling-Green, as it was taken that year to be used as an open place for the holding of the weekly fairs, ox markets, another piece of land being given to him in exchange for it, and because there was only one open space or public square within the city walls for more than half a century afterward. 

In 1655 his name appears upon the list of those upon whom a compulsory tax was imposed for the defences of the city, and it may be mentioned as a characteristic, that it does not appear upon the list of those who had previously made voluntary loans for the building of the wall from which Wall Street takes its name. Ten years afterward he appears as a witness to a treaty which Stuyvesanteffected with the Indians for the acquisition of lands upon the South River, in Delaware, of which he became one of the grantees. He appears by the records to have been no respecter of the ordinances, where the disregard of them was attended by any advantage in trading, and to have been very litigious, involved in lawsuits with his mother-inlaw and his wife's relations respecting the lands surrounding " the Collect," and with others. In 1664 he was one of the signers of the remonstrance urging the inexorable Stuyvesant to capitulate to the English; and we can imagine the temper with which the indignant governor read the passage advising him not " to call down the vengeance of Heaven for all the innocent blood which may be shed by reason of your honor's obstinacy." Upon the capitulation of the city,Abraham Verplanck was one of the two hundred and seventy-two who swore allegiance to the English, and with that act his name disappears from our records.

Gulian - my 11x great-uncle

His son, the first Gulian, was the founder of the subsequent wealth and prosperity of the family. He became a merchant, having his store uponPearl Streetwhich then faced the water, between Broad and Whitehall Streets. He was a sharp-sighted man of business, attentive to his own interest, but regarded as worthy of so much trust and confidence, that he was one of the three persons charged with the care and settlement of Governor Lovelace's estate. When the Dutch repossessed themselves of the city in 1673, he was one of five selected by the government, out of fifteen recommended by a vote of the inhabitants, for the oflice of schepen, a position ranking next to that of burgomaster; but, while filling the position, he was tried for holding intercourse with the English, a grave offence on the part of a magistrate in the eyes of his associates; which he defended upon the ground that he did so to secure his estate in New England ; which not being considered satisfactory, a heavy fine was imposed upon him of five hundred beaverskins. Upon the restoration of the city to the English in 1674, an enumeration was made of two hundred and seven of the most wealthy of the inhabitants, in which his personal estate is put down at five thousand florins, being the twenty-eighth in order on the list. 

A few years afterward he united with others in a purchase from the Indians of a large tract of land upon the Hudson, which was followed shortly thereafter by the location of Fishkill, of which he was one of the founders— the first settlement made in Dutchess County. It was by this act chiefly that he laid the foundation of the future wealth and social influence of the family; his descendants having managed, amid the mutations, revolutions, and changes, that have occurred in our history, to retain, to a very great extent, what he had the forethought to acquire. A family homestead, built about the commencement of the last century, was Mr. Verplanck's country residence, which, together with the lands around it, has passed, by his death, to his only surviving son, William S. Verplanck, Esq., the father of a numerous family.

During the colonial period, the Verplancks, by intermarriage with the leading English and Dutch families, the Bayards and the Ludlows, the Van Cortlands and the Beekmans, increased in wealth and social importance. By their marriage with the Van Cortlands they acquired the large tract of land jutting out into Hudson Biver which is known as Verplanck's Point. In 1730 they intermarried with the Crommelins, an influential Dutch family, long afterward, and until a few years ago, represented in Amsterdam by the wealthy banking-house of that name.

Abraham Issacsen VerPlanck was the father of
Ariantje VerPlanck who was the mother of
Wynant Melgertse Vanderpoel who was the father of 
Abraham Vanderpool, who was the father of
Wynant Vanderpoel, who was the father of
Mary Vanderpool, who was the mother of
Cecilia Moad, who was the mother of
Mary Polly Doherty, who was the mother of
Cordy Bullock, who was the father of 
George Washington Bullock, who was the father of
Sarah Jane Bullock Ward, who was the mother of my grandmother,
Leta Ward Gant Harris, whose son
Jim Gant is my daddy.