November 4, 2014

All History is Family History

Have you ever set out to take a simple short drive in your car, but once you got out there, you encountered one detour after the next...where each new turn took you down roads and to places you'd never been to...or even knew existed?

That's sort of what's happened in my search to find my immigrating ancestors. I really believed it would be a short journey going back to the mid-1800's, at best, where I'd learn that my great or great-great grandparents left their homeland to find new opportunities here in America. That is exactly what I learned from all my family's lines...all, that is, except one! And, as it turns out, one detour in your path can make all the difference in the world.

When tracing back down my grandpa's father's line, the search didn't stop at the mid-1800's as didn't stop at the Civil War or the Revolutionary War or even the Salem Witch Trials. No, this journey took me down paths in this county's history that dated to nearly the arrival of the Mayflower and what I wound up with was a new perspective from which to view American history and myself.

So, come along with me...I'll take you on the shortcut path of my journey down just one of these family lines...the Ingalls' line that begins here in America with the arrival of my 10x great-grandfather, Edmund Ingalls, in 1628.

The list below shows each generation from Edmund going forward to my grandfather, Royal Cain. I love how it so clearly shows how I came to be born in Wisconsin (a wonder I'm always fascinated by)...much like a seed blowing in the wind. And, to simply see each generation before me like this makes me feel so...well...rooted!

The Ingalls Family Crest
The motto "Humilis Ex Corona" is
Latin and translates to "low (humble) from the crown"

Relationship between
Edmund Ingalls of Skirbeck, Lincolnshire, England
& Royal Gordon Cain

Our immigrating ancestors, down our Ingalls line – Edmund and Ann (Tripp) Ingalls and their six children - came from Skirbeck, England in 1628 with Governor John Endicott’s party on the ship “Abigail.” Edmund later founded the city of Lynn, Massachusetts. He is recognized as an early American founder by The Order of the Founders and Patriots of America. He is the 6x Great Grandfather of Charles Ingalls. He is the 7x Great Grandfather of author Laura Ingalls Wilder. He is the 5x Great Grandfather of Revolutionary War Patriot Jonathan Ingalls.

Edmund Ingalls (1598-1648)
Born in Skirbeck, Lincolnshie County, England
Died in Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts
Immigrated to America in 1628 on the ship “Abigail” landing at Salem, Massachusetts

John Ingalls (1624-1721)
Born in Skirbeck, Lincolnshire County, England
Died in Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts
John was identified as a “Yeoman”
Note: in the United States – 18th and 19th centuries – yeomen were recognized as non-slaveholding, small landowning, family farmers. In 15th century England, a yeoman was identified as a “commoner who cultivates his own land.”

Edmund Ingalls (1679-????)
Born in Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island
Died in Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts

Edmund Ingalls (1713-1749)
Born in Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts
Died in Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts
Was born a fraternal twin – with sister, Eunice (They were the namesakes of their parents)

Edmund Ingalls (1739-1826)
Born in Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts
Died in Hartford, Washington County, New York
Pioneer Farmer at Hartford
Revolutionary War Veteran – Enlisted May 8, 1775
Private in Cpt. Samuel Bliss Company

Edmund Ingalls (1761-1820)
Born in Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts
Died in Gouvernor, St. Lawrence County, New York
He and wife, Mary Stockwell, had 10 children together.
Occupation was farmer.

Wisconsin becomes a state in 1848 and government land is being offered to anyone willing to settle them at little or even, no cost. This Ingalls' line - and many others - seem to have taken the state up on that offer in that period. 

Otis Ingalls (1790-1856)
Born in Hartford, Washington County, New York
Died in Rushford Township, Winnebago County, Wisconsin
According to 1850 WI Census, he owned land and was living in Waukesha County, WI in 1850
Wisconsin became a state in 1848 and government land was offered for very little cost.
War of 1812 Veteran – Private, New York Militia, 118th Regiment
Occupation was farmer.
Otis Ingalls' gravestone and War of 1812 - Marker

Benjamin Franklin Ingalls (1838-1922)
Born in Hartford, Washington County, New York
Died in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California
American Civil War Veteran – Enlisted, Wisconsin Company A, 16th Regiment
Ultimately promoted to Brevet Captain – Died at Veteran’s Home in Los Angeles, California
Benjamin F. Ingalls gravestone
Los Angeles National Cemetery, CA

Henrietta “Mabel” Ingalls (1861-????)
Born in Nepeusken, Winnebago County, Wisconsin
Place and year of death unknown
Henrietta, her daughter, Margaret,
and grandson, John, in Idaho

William Roy Cain (1881-1970)
Born in Winnebago County, Wisconsin
Died in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
Worked as a Machinist & Mechanical Engineer
William Roy Cain

Royal Gordon Cain (1902-1980)
Born in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
Died in Green Lake County, Wisconsin
Worked as a Street Car Conductor, Tavern Keeper, Tool & Die Maker
Royal and Emma Cain at a wedding (1950) and at home (1942)

Perhaps this list will inspire you to set out on your own journey of discovery...if so, 
may your path be filled with detours.

August 24, 2014

Nature's Beauty in August

The dog days of August in Wisconsin are often high in humidity...
...even the spiders have to deal with it!

June 15, 2014

Walking With Dad

Its funny how certain events or activities in our lives, no matter how simple and ordinary they might seem at the time, crystallize into magical moments that stick with you and leave you with peace and joy through your whole life. For me, one such activity was with my dad in the mid-1960’s.

On more than one occasion, my dad would take me (just me) for a walk after dinner from our home on Montana Ave. in South Milwaukee to Grant Park. Judging by the darkness, my mind estimated it had to be 10:00 or midnight or something like that but I now realize it was more likely to be about 6:00 or 7:00 on those fall evenings when the sun disappeared early. Stepping out at night like that with my dad was the most exhilarating, mysterious and dangerous thing I had ever experienced in all my six years. With the first crunch of the leaves as we closed the door behind us, a whole new world opened up. Some times we'd depart from the front and walk past George’s Grocery Store or other times we'd take the spookier route through the alley. We’d walk (well, dad walked and I’d run or skip to keep up with him) the few blocks to the entrance of the park. On turning the corner, we stepped into an even more mysterious world and I’d hold dad’s hand tighter. We’d slow down, but not stop, to look at the lagoon then picked up the pace again to climb the huge hill ahead of us. (At some point, someone must’ve shaved the hill down, because it’s not nearly as steep now as I remember it to be then.) Once up the hill, we turned around and came home the same way…back into the warmth and light…a perfect circle that left me with rosy cheeks, a pounding heart and the happiest feeling.

In high school, GrantPark became a place for my friends and me to hang out. Those years were a time in my life when I was…let’s just say it…when I was often a real pain in the a** to my parents and my dad and I clashed on those occasions. As I’d drive past the lagoon and up the hill in the car with my friends, I’d think of dad and our walks to the park a decade earlier...and I'd miss him terribly.

Some time in the mid1990’s, dad and I and other members of our family joined in a Family Run/Walk event near White Lake Beach Resort. We all started out together but after a while, I was getting ahead of dad. Now, I really believe that he just let me get ahead of him but I remember thinking of our nighttime walks in South Milwaukee three decades before and how I had all I could do to keep up with him then.

Even now, nearly fifty years later, dad is with me on all my walks. With the sound of the door latching behind me, dad’s just ahead. And if it’s a fall night, I’m six years old, holding dad’s hand…and all is right with the world.

Thanks Dad...I love you.
Happy Father's Day


May 10, 2014

Under the Influence of Mom

Last spring, to celebrate Mother's Day, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel invited their readers to share memories about their moms relative to gardening and decor. I thought it was a good way to reflect on and appreciate the things my mom has done for me in my life so I took the bait. The responses were then published in their paper on Mother's Day.

She's there in the vintage vase you set on your dining room table. And in the lilacs you pick from the bush you planted together. Moms have a way of leaving their touch on the homes and hearts of future generations. To celebrate Mother's Day, we asked readers to share stories about how their mothers influenced their own decorating or gardening styles. 
As for my mom, I wrote...

My mom is one of those people who seems to have been born with what some would call “effortless style.” This style is apparent in everything she has her hand in…whether it’s her attire, home d├ęcor, preparing family dinners, wrapping gifts, gardening, etc. The result is always pleasing and inviting, never feeling contrived or showy.

When I was about 5 or 6, I began to notice mom’s skill in creating appealing vignettes throughout our home. She placed furniture in ways that invited you to come into the room and sit down. The little odds and ends she found to accessorize the room were placed on tables, shelves and walls in ways that compelled you to examine them more closely. Keep in mind, these were not rare items or fine antiques but rather average furnishings and objects, either purchased at minimal cost, handed down or found at a flea market.
I particularly remember, when I was about 8 years old, watching her arrange items on a wall shelf. The ultimate result was a very pleasing composition, with pieces juxtaposed with one another in a manner that presented them in their most interesting and energetic way. I sat on the couch, fixated on her as she worked…watching her place each item on the shelf: first a ceramic owl, then some books (first standing them up – then laying them down), then an old-looking candle snuffer, and so on, moving the items to various places on the shelf until she was satisfied they were each in their best location. Her attention then focused on how each item was facing - making small adjustments by turning them ever so slightly till they reached their ideal positions. Only after she stepped back away from the shelf a bit to review her work – then adding a small artificial vine as a finishing touch – did she consider the task complete.

Her care was so impressed upon me that later, as I'd go about my household chore of dusting, I’d think of her work and try to place the items back on the shelf or table exactly in the way mom had. To this day, when I set something on a table or shelf or hang something on a wall in my own home, I think of mom and the care and consideration she’d take in its placement.

After decades of contemplating what skill it is that she possesses or process she employs that allows her to achieve these desirable effects, I’ve come to the conclusion that it boils down to the fact that everything that my mom does is done with love.

This Mother's Day, whether you feel your mom (or female caregiver in your life) was good, great or even not-so-great, see if you can think of just one way she's positively influenced how you do something in any area of your own life. Take all the time you'll come to you - and then sit back and appreciate the gift that is your mom.

March 17, 2014

I-rish, You-rish, We All Wish We're Irish.

St. Patrick's Day is almost done now and I've been searching for the past week to determine whether or not I have any Irish in me. It now looks like my 9th great-grandfather, Joseph Pennock,* just may provide the link I'm hoping seems he came to America from Clonmel, Tipperary Parish (county), Ireland in 1685...but I still have to locate some sources (other than other family trees) to back that up. More on this later but for today, it'll have to do.

All that searching made me hungry and, as a nod to the day, I wanted to come up with an Irishy snack. I'm no expert on the cuisine of Ireland so I had to resort to the only Irish "dish" I know...corned beef sandwiches. I made a nice little quick snack of these mini grilled Reuben's using cocktail rye, Thousand Island dressing, sauerkraut, corned beef, and Swiss.

Butter one side of bread then layer the ingredients...

add top piece and "grill" till cheese melts and bread is browned. 

(Mr. Johnson from Wisconsin and I ate these up quicker than a leprechaun dancing a jig!)

*For my Cain ancestors, this Irish link comes from Royal Cain's ancestral line and is just one of many fascinating details being discovered...more to come...till then, Happy St. Patrick's Day!

February 3, 2014

Road T_ip!

Try as I might, I just can't seem to travel light when it comes to toiletries. I mean, even if you're low maintenance, you gotta have at least toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, shampoo, hairbrush, comb, sunscreen, soap, and razors...right? And if you notch up your maintenance requirements from that you can add lotion, makeup, hair products, nail clippers, tweezers. Then there's jewelry, hair ties and clips. What about medications, antacids or first aid...and if you have a traveling partner, multiply most of it by two! May the good lord bless you if you're traveling with a family!

The fact that you typically only get a teeny-tiny bathroom counter-top in your hotel room (or maybe no counter at all if you're the guest of family or friends) to hold such things only compounds the problem:


As you can see, and most likely have experienced yourself, you've got no counter space to set things on, stuff gets knocked off, and things that shouldn't get wet - get wet! If your solution is to relocate the stuff to some other area, good luck finding it when you need it!

The real solution (or something like it)
was purchased at Walmart for $5.87:
That's right...a 24-pocket (clear!) over-the-door shoe organizer!
Another bonus is it folds up very compactly and lightly to carry in your suitcase.

Installation is oh so simple:
Using the hooks included in the package, hang the organizer over the top of the 
bathroom door (or a door approved by your host) and load it up! 
Easy to see, easy to access and easy to put away!

I like to hang the organizer so it's outside the bathroom when the door is shut so two people can get ready at the same showering while the other is putting on the finishing touches! Plus, it keeps free the hook that's often hanging on the inside of the bathroom door.

Who knows, once you see how smooth this system works, 
you may just want to use it every day at home!