Sunday, August 13, 2017

Eclipse Puts Spotlight on Hopkinsville

Eclipse viewers
Eclipse watchers in Paris, 1912.
(Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons)

It's so exciting! On August 21, 2017, the Great American Eclipse will occur, and the point of greatest eclipse (the place where the sun, the moon, and the earth are most perfectly aligned) will be just a few miles from Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

The eclipse is the main topic in our local news and talk. Apparently, a lot of people are coming to Hopkinsville -- thousands and thousands of people. Maybe 20,000, 50,000, or 100,000. Or more? Or maybe, not that many? No one knows! We're trying to be ready.

Hopkinsville has just finished building a new visitors' center. It's supposed to be open next week, just in time to serve the eclipse visitors. Road crews have been working on city streets and some of the highways coming into town. Improvements have been made to our little airport. Obviously, we're trying to make a good first impression. 

The Kentucky New Era published an editorial (July 30, 2017) about the importance of this event. The gist of it is that we'll have all those visitors in town, and we'll be in the spotlight of national news that day. We want and need to make a good impression, Our civic leaders are trying to plan, but Hopkinsville is unaccustomed to and under-equipped for big events. So, wherever plans fall short and needs develop, every local citizen should step in and help with a spirit of genuine southern hospitality.

The editorial offers the following suggestions in conclusion:
Our advice to cut down on your own obstacles is to simply be prepared. Mentally prepare yourself, but also stock up on what you need well in advance, including gassing up the vehicles. After you enjoy a day’s worth of activities at one of the events around the county, end it with a family dinner at home allowing greater opportunities for our out-of-town guests to sample the local food offerings.
Then, for those who simply can’t get their heads around this astronomical event, make sure you have plenty of reading material at the house or take a road trip beyond the eclipse path. But, be sure to leave early. 
Oh … and by the way, first impressions also include the astounding beauty of this community. Keep your curbside trash off the street, at least until after our guests leave.

It's ironic that any local residents who actually might need the condescending advice of the last paragraph are the ones who are least likely to read and heed it.

Eclipseville, Hopkinsville's official eclipse website, lists many eclipse events in the area
Camera atop Hopkinsville Elevator to stream eclipse (in case you can't attend in person)
The Eclipse Song performed by Barrenhart (video below) 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Wary of Ticks and Chiggers

Sunflower patch
A profusion of tall flowers
I have two things to say about this scene:
  1. Nature certainly can be exuberant! 
  2. That patch of flowers was probably full of ticks and chiggers.
Here in Kentucky, we accept ticks and chiggers as a hazard of warm weather. Most of us guard against them as much as possible, because we suffer if we don't.

For example, if I was going to wade into that patch of flowers, I'd spray myself from the neck down with heavy duty insect repellant, and I'd check myself thoroughly for ticks at the first opportunity. I know from past experience that the itching of a mass of chigger bites is hell on earth, I don't want to go through it again. Tick bites itch, too, and even worse, ticks can carry serious diseases.

Believe it or not, when I was a little girl, growing up in the Nebraska Sandhills, I didn't know that ticks and chiggers even existed. I think that they weren't a problem where we lived because the Sandhills are so dry. Rock County, Nebraska (where I grew up) has an average annual rainfall of 24". In comparison, Christian County, Kentucky has an average annual rainfall of 51".

Friday, August 11, 2017

Photomyne as a Downsizing Tool

I'm in my mid-60s, and after a lifetime of collecting books, my house is full of them. So I'm trying to reduce the size of my library. It's part of a desire (and a need) to downsize my entire collection of worldly possessions.

I've been looking through the old school textbooks that I've gathered over the years. I like them because of the insight they give about life in former times and I've collected them for that reason.

To help me let some of the old school books go, I installed an app called Photomyne on my smart phone. With the app, the camera on your phone acts as a scanner, so you can capture any printed image. The basic version is free, and the pro version costs 99¢ per month. I went pro because it allows you to store your images online (if you want) instead of filling up your phone with them. The scanned images upload automatically to the Photomyne website, and then I can download them to my desktop computer.

The Photomyne people mostly talk about using their app to scan loose snapshots or in pages in photo albums. But I have been using it to scan some pages.from my old school books. It works fairly well. I'm pleased enough with it that I've now scanned parts of four textbooks. After capturing what I want to save from them, I am now OK now giving three of those books away. I'm going to keep the fourth one.

If I keep working at the rate of one book every day or two, and my discard ratio holds true, I should see a bit of empty bookshelf space soon. That would be a good thing.

Here are a few images from one of the books I am letting go (Healthy Living Book 2, by Charles-Edward Amory Winslow, Dr. P.H. Published in 1924 by Charles E. Merrill Company.) These scans are exactly as the Photomyne app produced them.

Switchboard operator
Switchboard operator
Some of the images have some arcing of the straight lines.  That's because the pages of the book were not lying perfectly flat. I believe it would be a problem when scanning from a book in an ordinary flat-bed scanner too. I could try to fix the distortion with imaging software, if it really bothered me. (I use Paintshop Pro, but Photoshop, Gimp, and many other programs would do the job, too.)

The lab equipment of a bacteriologist, 1920s
Bacteriology lab equipment of 1920s
All of these images were small pictures on the pages of a small book, but the app did a good job of enlarging them, in my opinion.

Alcohol content of patent medicine compared to whiskey
Alcohol content of a popular patent
medicine compared to various liquors

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Three W.E. Blackhurst Books for Sale

W. E. Blackhurst books about the lumber industry in West Virginia
Riders of the Flood, Sawdust In Your 
Eyes, Of Men and a Mighty Mountain

I have three W. E. Blackhurst books that I'd like to place in the hands of someone who will enjoy them. Do you have an interest in obscure history or a family connection to logging? Did your ancestor work in lumber and pulp mills in West Virginia or elsewhere? These books may be for you!

  • Riders of the Flood, published in 1954, 5th edition.
  • Sawdust in Your Eyes, published in 1963, 5th edition. 
  • Of Men and a Mighty Mountain, published in 1965, 5th edition.

All three books are in very nice, nearly-new condition with a small amount of shelf-wear. All three have their dust jackets.

I bought them at an estate sale, and they have been in my library for several years. Now I am downsizing my book collection, but I don't want to send these to Goodwill. I'd like to place them with someone who would appreciate them.

If you are not familiar with W. E. Blackhurst, you can read a short biography of him on Wikipedia. He grew up at Cass, West Virginia, a mill town. He knew every aspect of the lumber industry very well, because he was immersed in the lumbering and milling culture from infancy, worked in the mills as a young man, and avidly researched and collected the history of the area.

If you would like to give these books a good home, I am asking $20 for the set of three. If you live in the continental United States, this price includes postage. If you don't think that price is fair, you can make an offer, and I will consider it. Please contact me at .

Photo inside "Riders of the Flood" by Blackhurst
One of the historic photos in
Riders of the Flood

Grandmother Patience (Rogers) Hill, c. 1780 - c. 1835

Counties of Delaware
The area in Sussex Co.
where Patience grew up.
My 5th great grandmother, Patience Rogers, was born about 1780 in Sussex County, Delaware. Her father, John Rogers, was a sea captain and a property owner. John and his wife Comfort (Prettyman) Rogers lived and raised their family near Lewes, Delaware, where the Delaware River meets the Atlantic Ocean. Both John and Comfort came from long-established families of the Delmarva peninsula.

John Rogers passed away in 1794. In his will, he described himself as "John Rogers, planter," and called his wife and chidlren "well-beloved." The older girls had already married, but Leah, Unice, and Patience were still at home. Patience, about 14 years old, was the youngest of the family. John Rogers left livestock and farm equipment and tools to his sons and land that they would inherit after Comfort, their mother, died. He did not mention any slaves in his will, so he probably didn't have any. Leah, John, Eunice and Patience were to divide their father's "movable property" after their mother's death.

Comfort (Prettyman) Rogers lived less than three years after her husband's death. She signed her will with her mark on January 28, 1797. She provided for her two youngest daughters, Unice and Patience, by willing her "dwelling house" and the old orchard and peach trees to her son John Rogers and stating that Eunice and Patience were to have a home with him as long as they were unmarried.
Excerpt of handwritten will
From Comfort Prettyman Rogers' will

Soon after her mother's death, Patience married my 5th great grandfather, Robert Hill. Y-chromosome DNA testing has proved that Robert was related to a Hill family who lived in the Sussex County area, but I don't know whom Robert's father and mother were.

A year or two after their marriage, Robert took his bride and their newborn son, Rogers Hill (my 4th great grandfather,) and moved to western Pennsylvania. Patience probably never saw her brothers and sisters again. I wonder if she was given her share of her father's belongings. I hope she was able to take a few small mementos of her family with her.

By 1810, Robert and Patience had settled on Beaver Creek in Columbiana County, Ohio. Soon, their family grew to ten children -- six sons, three daughters, and one child (sex unknown) who probably died young. Patience named two daughters for her sisters -- Eunice and Orpha. I am still researching the names of several of the children.

Small log house
An early Ohio cabin
Life in the wilds of Ohio must have very different from civilized Delaware. Patience and Robert surely missed the seafood of the Atlantic coast, but maybe they caught fish in Beaver Creek and the Ohio River.

Robert took up shoemaking to help make a living. Undoubtedly Patience had a work-filled life.  She probably had to spin and possibly had to weave for the family, as well as sew their clothing by hand. I am sure she had a big garden in the summer and worked hard to preserve as much food as possible for the winter.

I think that Patience knew how to write, which was somewhat unusual for a woman in her time. In 1833, marriage records of Columbiana County, Ohio, state that George Hill brought a certificate from his mother Patience Hill giving him permission to marry at the age of 17. Later that year, Patience Hill sent another certificate, giving permission for her daughter Orpha Hill to marry at the age of 14. It appears that Patience gave permission because Robert was deceased. Those marriage records and their mention of certificates Patience provided are the last record of her that I have found.

 Robert Hill is buried somewhere in Mahoning County, Ohio, probably near Youngstown, and hopefully, Patience was laid to rest at his side.

This narrative of Patience Rogers Hill's life was written by Genevieve L. Netz. Copyright © 2017. All Rights Reserved. Permission is granted to use this document for genealogical purposes. It may be attached to online family trees. This note about usage must be attached. Download an easy-to-print copy at Contact the author at .

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Four Ways to Improve Your Health

Four friends on the Road to Good Health
Four of your best friends

I scanned this illustration from a 1924 health textbook. Isn't it cute? And I don't think that any modern doctor would disagree with its message:  On the road to Health, four of your best friends are:
  • Pure food
  • Fresh air
  • Exercise
  • Rest
This drawing reminds me a little of Dorothy and her friends on the road to the Emerald City in the Land of Oz.

Healthy Living Book 2:  Principles of Personal and Community Hygiene by Charles-Edward Amory Winslow, Dr. P .H. Copyright 1924. Published by Charles E. Merrill Company, New York and Chicago.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Chasing Rainbows

The sky was rumbling with thunder and sheets of rain were falling when I left home yesterday to run some errands. Simultaneously, the sun was shining brightly. I looked to the east, and I saw a bright, full rainbow, and at the very end of it, a neighborhood church. The tall white steeple was gleaming in the strangely intense, rain-filtered sunlight. Beautiful! I needed to get that picture!

I slowed down and began groping for my camera with one hand. Somehow I couldn't pull it out of my purse. I drove slower and slower -- still couldn't extricate the camera! Finally, I stopped in a driveway so I could look in my purse and use both hands. The door on the battery compartment of the camera had popped open and was jammed into the corner of the purse pocket. Also, one of the batteries had fallen out.

I fixed all that and looked to see if I could still get the rainbow and the church in a photo. No, I had gone too far down the road. The view was obstructed, and also the sky had changed.

Rainbow over a green field
Rainbow over a soybean field
I went down the road a little farther, and suddenly the rainbow was a bit brighter. I pulled into another driveway to try to get a picture. As I opened my car window, a spray of rain hit me. A stiff wind was blowing straight into my camera and my face.

I took several pictures of the rainbow here and at another spot farther down the road. This was the first picture that I took and the best that I got. All the others have strange blurred spots in them that I think were caused by raindrops on the lens of the camera.

I read once that the difference between a professional photographer and an amateur is that the pro doesn't run out of fresh batteries. I think another difference is that a pro sees the picture and gets it, whereas amateurs like me see the picture and start fumbling around.

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