Saturday, August 30, 2008

Not your ordinary vice-presidential candidate

Here's Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, in the Anchorage office where she works as Governor of Alaska. According to this morning's New York Times, her father shot the grizzly bear.

And as long as I'm posting about pictures of Palin, here's one that I can't copy and save, but is worth a look. Check out the expression -- and the tiara -- on Palin's youngest daughter, Piper.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"I feel like it's all my fault nobody could play."

Jericho Scott, a 9 year old flame-throwing little league pitcher, has been told that he is too good to play.

Jericho doesn't know that the feeling he's expressing in the title quote, unearned guilt, is the one that is currently destroying the world. A lot of terrible things happen around the globe, child molestation, rape, genocide, etc., but none of it gets to me like this story did. At such a young age I would think something like this could easily be as psychologically damaging as all that other bad stuff. This kid has had his world turned upside down on him at an age at which he is most likely way too young to be able to understand the nature of his enemy and combat it. The message being sent to him is "achievement is bad, mediocrity is good." They might as well have chopped off his arms.

As Eric Hoffer said, "We have rudiments of reverence for the human body, but we consider as nothing the rape of the human mind." Apparently Hoffer was wrong in this case, however. If you type "Jericho Scott" in to Google, you'll find a lot of outraged people all over the country.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Some Family History

Last week while I was in Keuka Lake, Grandma Frey and I drove over to the east side of Seneca Lake, where her mother grew up, to look for family history. We found a lot of it, so this will be a long post. Here's where we started, at the intersection of Route 414 and Sunset Shores Road in Burdett, New York, just below Hector:

William Wickham was my great-great-great-great-grandfather, if I'm counting generations right. The "Earl of Wykham" mentioned on the sign is a mystery. The family story is that William descended, not from an earl, but from a bishop: this William Wickham. Of course, a bishop shouldn't leave descendants, but maybe the family line runs back to the nephew mentioned in the article. Maybe he was the earl. In any event, Grandma Frey remembers being told by her grandmother that the family motto was "Manners Makyth Man." When she and Grandpa Frey visited Oxford while they were in England, they found the motto engraved on an arch at New College, which was founded by Bishop Wickham.

Getting back to the William Wickham who settled Hector, here is a biography:

"The first permanent settler was Wm. Wickham, who left Orange County with his wife and four children in the fall of 1790, and came as far as Tioga Point, now Athens , where they passed the winter. In the spring they again took up the line of march, loading their effects into a canoe, together with a barrel of flour he had purchased.

"He paddled up the Chemung to Newtown, then working their way through the pine swamp slowly and laboriously, as best they could, to Catharinestown, then paddled on down the creek and the lake until they reached the point on lot No. 40, which Mr. Wickham had purchased of his brother at $1.25 per acre, and which is below the present residence of his grandson, M. L. Wickham, arriving here May 3, 1791. They climbed the hill a short distance, and came to the road that had been made by Sullivan's army, and is now known as the Lake Road. Here he built a temporary hut and commenced a clearing. As soon as a sufficient number of logs were prepared, he invited his neighbors -- living at what is now Havana and Watkins -- to assist him in raising his log house. It was commenced Saturday morning and finished on Sunday. This undoubtedly was the first house built in the town, and stood a few rods south of M.L. Wickham's present residence. The barrel of flour was left at the Point some time before it was brought up to the house.

"One and a half acres of land were cut over and the brush burned the first spring, and corn planted wherever a space could be found. For three or four years the logs were burned, or left where they fell. For the first year or two his work of clearing was down without oxen. But he finally bought a yoke of oxen from Deacon Waldron, and they were used by several families. The nearest blacksmith was at Newtown, and Mr. Wickham was so unfortunated at one time as to break the yoke-staple, and he was compelled to follow the Indian trail on foot to Newtown, to get it repaired.

"They raised a large family of children, -- Samuel, William, Clark, Phebe, Fanny, and Mary, who married Harry Ely, who is still living at the age of ninety years. Richard Ely, of North Hector, is their son. Clark was born, lived, and died on the old homestead. His youngest daughter is the wife of William H. Wait, ex-County Treasurer of Schuyler County. William married Martha Hultz, of Enfield, who was the mother of fourteen children. When the thirteenth child was still a babe, she journeyed on horseback over the hills to visit a brother living at Ithaca. He met her with the remark, "What! another child, Patty?" She replied, " Oh, yes, I have just commenced on my second dozen.

"There are several descendants of William Wickham living in the town, among whom is Erastus Wickham, of Bennetbury.

"The old road from Culverstown (now Watkins) to Hamburg (now Burdett) crossed the head of the lake on a bar, which extended from near the traditional elm, diagonally to the point at Glen Excelsior. While crossing this bar, on the evening of Nov. 2, 1800, his horse lost his footing, and he was thrown into the lake. He was an excellent swimmer, but in the darkness was unable to save himself, and, it is supposed, swam out into the lake, as his body was found next day some distance up the inlet. Mrs. Wickham was left with six children, and the farm upaid for. At his death they had one cow. [The cow] was killed by a large tree falling upon her the next spring, leaving a heifer-calf a few days old, which was raised on hay, tea, and eggs. From this calf, as a beginning, Mrs. Wickham raised cattle, which she sent to Orange County, and paid for the farm. She was of a resolute and fearless nature, and it is related of her that on one occasion, while she lived in the frame house, which was also used as an inn, a half-drunken Indian came in, and wanted more "fire-water." She declined to furnish him with it, judging that he had enough already; and he seized a broom, and endeavored to enforce his argument with that. But as he raised it to strike her it caught in the joists overhead, and threw him forcibly to the floor. She promptly wrenched it from him, and turning his own weapon upon him, succeeded in driving him from the house."

-History of Tioga, Chemung, Tompkins & Schuyler Counties, NY,

This was your ancestor, children.

Tioga Point, where William and Phebe and their children passed the winter before paddling their canoe to the cabin site, is in Pennsylvania, just below Waverly, New York. Newtown, where they began slowly working their way through the pine swamp, is the old name for Elmira.

Here's a map of the site of their log cabin, partway up the east side of Seneca Lake. Click the larger map link and zoom out to see just how far they had to fight their way through that pine swamp between Elmira and "Catharinestown" -- now called Montour Falls, just below Watkins Glen.

View Larger Map
Here is the view of Seneca Lake from the site where they built their cabin:

A short way north of the cabin site is the house below, referred to in the article above as the house of M.L. Wickham. M.L., whose full name was Mortier Lafayette Wickham, was the son of William Wickham's oldest son, also named William. Understandably, Mortier Lafayette did not often use his first name, preferring to be called Lafayette or simply M.L. He and his wife Pruda Erway Wickham were Grandma Frey's great-grandparents. She remembers visiting this house, and she has a picture of her grandparents and their children gathered on this porch.

Grandma also remembers visiting her great-aunt Edith Wickham Knowles, whose house was just up the road a short distance. Here's a picture of the house, which is now called Skyland Farm. A crafts shop and tourist attraction is operated out of the old barn.

We stopped in at Skyland Farm. Here is Grandma sitting in the garden at her Aunt Edith's house:

Here's part of a biography of Mortier Lafayette Wickham, which also adds a bit more detail about the first William Wickham. It came from here:

"More than a century has passed since the Wickham family was established in this county, for William Wickham;, the grandfather of our subject, took up his abode in the town of Hector in 1791, becoming its first settler. He made his way westward from Orange county, New York, and settled on the land now owned by our subject, erecting a log cabin on what is now the Lake road near the present home of his grandson. At the rate of ten shillings per acre he purchased six hundred and. forty acres from his cousin, George Wickham, who was an Orange county banker and also dealt in real estate: John Waldron (better known as Deacon Waldron) brought the first team into the town of Hector - a pair of three-year-old steers - which were subsequently purchased by William Wickham. He then did all the teaming for his neighbors, who were widely scattered at that time, living miles apart. While yoking his cattle one day the staple dropped from the yoke broken, and in order to get it welded he was compelled to walk to Elmira, a distance of twenty-eight miles, the only path being an Indian trail. That city contained the nearest blacksmith shop at that time. William Wickham bought fifteen sheep, which he brought from Easton, Pennsylvania. These he usually herded at night, but one evening they were not to be found and during the night the flock was entirely destroyed by a pack of wolves. At that time Indians were quite numerous but friendly, and had a peach orchard on the point that extends into the lake about a mile north of- the Wickham log cabin. It was from this orchard that the little village on the Lake road directly above derived its name of Peach Orchard.
On coming west William Wickham was accompanied by his wife, who bore the maiden name of Phebe Rose and was a native of Long Island. They became the parents of seven children: Esther, who remained in Orange county, New York; Fannie, Phebe and Samuel, who went to Ohio; William, Jr., the father of our subject; Mary; and Clark. The last three always remained in Schuyler county, living on adjoining farms. The father of this family was drowned in the inlet of Watkins in November, 1799, at the age of fifty-two years, and his was the first death in the town. His widow remained in the wilderness and paid for the farm by the proceeds which she realized from raising cattle and driving them to market at Easton, Pennsylvania. The nearest settlers to the pioneer home of the Wickham family were near Lodi, but the Livingston family came soon afterward and settled in the same portion of the county. Then came the Jackson family, who were also from Orange county.
Upon the home farm William Wickham, Jr., the father of our subject, was reared and he assisted in the arduous task of developing the wild land and transforming it into productive fields. Throughout his entire life he carried on agricultural pursuits. He was the last survivor of his father's family, passing away at the age of eighty years. In his family were thirteen children, of whom M. La Fayette is the youngest. There are three daughters still living, Mrs. Catherine Dunham, Mrs. Esther Ho well and Mrs. Ann Dunham, all residents of the town of Hector.
M. La Fayette Wickham was educated in the early subscription and district schools and in an academy at Groton, New York, acquiring a good education for that time. Before he attained his majority he was engaged in teaching school in Niagara county, New York, and also in the town of Hector. When this work was completed he turned his attention to farming and has developed his land into one of the finest farms of the county. He now has in his possession sixty-eight acres of the old original tract of an entire section which belonged to his grand-father, William Wickham.
Mr. Wickham, of this review, was born on the 13 th of August, 1836, and when about twenty-nine years of age was married. It was on the 17th of January, 1866, that he led to the marriage altar Miss Pruda A. Erway, a daughter of Benjamin and Mary (Dunham) Erway. The lady was born in Steuben county, New York, and they became the parents of twelve children: Mary E., now the wife of Wilmer La Fever, a resident of Corning, New York; Cassie D., the wife of Frank Lowe, a farmer living a mile and a half east of North Hector; Carrie, the wife of E. D. Holden, whose home is in Boston, Massachusetts; Harry, who is living in Boston, where he is employed as "an assistant in electrical engineering; Harriet, the wife of Claude L. Carr, a resident of Knoxville, Pennsylvania; Edith, at home; Benjamin and Randolph, who are also with their parents; one who died in infancy; Frances Augusta, who died at the age of two years; George G., who died at the age of ten months; and Ira, who departed this life when but a year old.
In his religious views Mr. Wickham is a Methodist, attending the services of the church. Politically he is independent, supporting the men and, measures that he believes are for the best good of the country, community, state and nation, without regard to party affiliations. He owns one of the finest farms of Schuyler county, having a beautiful place which commands a splendid view of Seneca lake and the surrounding country for many miles. He has always lived a quiet, retired, unostentatious life, but is one Of the best known men of the county and is considered one of the influential fruit growers of this portion of the state. "

Mortimer's daughter Cassie (full name Catherine) is my great-grandmother. Grandma Frey and I went hunting for the house where she lived with Frank Lowe. We found it on the Searsburg Road in Trumansburg, New York, right across the road from a brand-new go-kart track.

Nobody was home, so after hesitating a bit, we got out and explored the outside. Grandma spent several summers here when she was growing up. She remembers an old swing that hung on the front porch (the swing is gone, but the hooks are still there.) She remembers sleeping in the bedroom upstairs with the two narrow double windows. In winter, it was bitterly cold up there, so her grandmother warmed it up for her with a hot water bottle and a featherbed. Her grandparents kept the lawn mowed by staking out their cow, Brownie, on the grass, and moving her around as she grazed it down. Grandma can remember tying Brownie to this apple tree:

The lane in the background runs back to a deep creek, crossed by a bridge, where Grandma used to play. Here's the barn where Grandma's grandfather kept Brownie and his team of work horses. He planted buckwheat in the field in the foreground.

There is a lot more Wickham family history online, including a description of an armed robbery that took place at the Searsburg Road house. However, I don't mean to fill up the whole blog with it. Maybe I'll post some more later. Also, sometime I need to post some links to the history of Grandpa Ober's family, which runs just as far back. Meanwhile, as far as I can tell, here are how the generations run back to the William Wickham on the sign:
Grandma Frey
Edith Lowe Ober, Grandma's mother
Catherine Wickham Lowe, married to Frank
Mortier Lafayette Wickham
William Wickham Junior
William Wickham Senior

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Huge Mistake

Obama-Biden will now be known as the Gasbag Ticket. Yackety-Yak.

Change? Biden? Nah. Mainstream Washington, DC.

Well, at least he thinks that Obama is the first "African-American" candidate who is clean.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Energy "Independence"

John Stossel.

"Central energy planning and government-funded prizes are economic idiocy."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Obama on Abortion

"But let me speak more generally about the issue of abortion. Because this is something, obviously, the country wrestles with. One thing that I’m absolutely convinced of is that there is a moral and ethical element to this issue. And So I think that anybody who tries to deny the moral difficulties and gravity of the abortion issue is not paying attention."

What? Empty suit.

"Alternative" Energy

What do wind and solar have in common? You can blanket the countryside with either of them and it still won't amount to a fart in a windstorm.

"Alternative" Medicine

What do chiropractic, homeopathy, acupuncture, and herbal remedies have in common?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Michael Parenti

I thought this was worth posting:

Stupid lying leftist nihilist pragmatic concrete-bound pseudo-intellectual attempts and fails to criticize capitalism, which to him is nothing but a floating abstraction with no tie to reality. This brain-eating monster is the face of evil.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

How I spent my summer vacation...

Making ugly websites.

Grandma Frey Turns 80

We found her a swing much like the one that stood outside the front door of the cabin. It had to be disassembled and lugged in pieces from North Norwich in the bed of the pickup truck, then put back together again by a crew of Freys and hooney-moonies.

She liked it. (The crown was made by Julia.)

Trevor and Ned liked it, too.

Grandmother, Grandson, and Swing.

Friday, August 01, 2008


I love the look on Maher's face as Hitchens explains the fallacy of the Bush joke. He looks like he's in one of those nightmares where you go to school without your clothes on.