The Clay Pipe

June 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Our Family

For Christmas 2006 I received a unique gift from my mom. But then, I always get very cool unique gifts from my mom… she constantly goes out of her way to come up with these really neat things for each of her 5 kids and their families.

I remember the first “really unique” gift my mom gave me, which blew me away… it was Christmas 1991… that Christmas Eve I sat, patiently with a rather bulky gift on my lap awaiting my turn at opening… for some reason I thought it was sheets… I must have asked for sheets that year… but it was not sheets, nor anything else so mundane and every day… it was an ancestor photograph album… she’d made a very special quilted binding with my picture on the cover… it had names and dates of everyone’s pictures of great-grandparents on down, she included a family tree chart going back to a my 4th Great-Grandfather Clark CLAWSON (1807-1881) and his wife Hestor HALE (1818 – 1887)… through me (then 39)… including a ton of pictures of when I was a baby, young girl, teen, on to my own children… I felt like my mom gave me… “me”, that year… she gave me back my childhood… since then, year after year my mom continues to give me family treasures, revealing more and more of who I am, and how much I owe those who’ve walked before me… WOW!

Returning to Christmas 2006… a thin spiral bound notebook… a story… she transcribed hand-written papers she’d found in my grandmother’s things in 1987 after she passed away. My mom typed it and bound it with great love… “Created especially for my beloved daughter” (that’d be me :D ) … it was written by my grandmother sometime before 1955….

The Clay Pipe by Pearl DeGarmo

One day several weeks ago my husbands’ mother showed me a quaint, little brown clay pipe. This pipe looked very much as if it might have been originally intended to blow soap bubbles… and then she told me the story of the pipe.

But wait a moment! Please allow me to introduce my mother-in-law, Jennie Clarinda Brown, and she will tell you the story, for she knows it far better than I. And so she begins…

Over one hundred years ago my great-grandparents were living in Ohio. Many of the women smoked pipes in those days. The pioneers grew and cured their own tobacco and the business of using the finished product was a family affair.

One day when great-grandfather went to the country store to do his “trading” he bought two new clay pipes. One of these was for his wife and the other one for his daughter.

We can envy great-grandmother’s and her daughter’s companionship. Just how many hopes and thoughts they must have confided to each other in the twilight after their day’s work was done, we can only guess at. But time, sometimes a cruel wrecker of these fine camaraderie’s wrought a change in this one.

The daughter and a neighbor had fallen in love and in due time were married. Now these newly weds were not content to buy the adjoining farm and set up housekeeping. They had both inherited too much of the pioneer restlessness. Their idea of greener fields lie farther west than Ohio. They listened to tales told by traders and trappers and other folks that traveled about the country. They finally decided to go to what is now the southern part of Wisconsin.

Grandfather bought a team of horses and a wagon. He then proceeded to build a covering for the wagon and collecting the tools he would need in the new home. Grandmother was busy too, gathering seeds and all the articles that she could take with her. They could only take the most necessary tools and equipment. There were no stores, lumber yards, seed companies or factories in those days. And they could only take what could be moved in the covered wagon, so these articles were chosen with careful consideration.

The day finally came when the bride and groom were ready to leave their families and relatives and start for their new home. Now great-grandfather and great-grandmother realized that this may be the last time they would ever see their daughter again. In those days a trip from one state to another was a long tedious journey and was not undertaken very often. So on the morning of the young couple’s departure the old father and mother decided to travel with the young people until noon, in order that they might be with the daughter and her husband as long as possible.

At noon they found a nice place to stop and eat their dinner and to rest and chat awhile. After they had eaten their dinner and replaced the dishes and remaining food the little group sat down to smoke and visit. Great-grandmother drew her pipe and tobacco pouch from her apron pocket and proceeded to light up. Great-grandfather and grandfather did likewise. But when grandmother put her hand in her pocket she found only her tobacco pouch. The young woman looked in the wagon and about the the camp grounds but could not find her pipe. All at once she remembered that she had left it on the window sill at her parent’s home. Great-grandmother smoked her pipe then passed her pipe to her daughter to use.

Now the old mother was a happy good-natured old soul and almost always could find a bright side to every little annoyance. So she gaily remarked that her daughter could have her pipe and she would keep her daughter’s pipe. Then each would have something of the others’.

When grandmother finished smoking she carefully knocked the ashes from it and put it in her deep apron pocket. The cheap little clay pipe was now very valuable because it had been her mother’s.

The farewells were finally said and the old people started to walk back to their home. The young couple continued their journey to Wisconsin. After many weeks of travel and hardships which only these strong courageous pioneers could endure they reached their destination.

In the years that followed grandmother and grandfather built their home and reared a fine family of sons and daughters. These sons and daughters married and had families of their own.

When grandmother and grandfather died their possessions were divided among the remaining members. The clay pipe was given to my mother and when she died my sister gave it to me.

And this my friends is the true, true story of a little old brown clay pipe, just as my mother-in-law told it to me.

The Clay Pipe

The Clay Pipe

Back to the present… 2009…

When Mom talked about this story she’d found with her brother (my uncle), he rummaged in a drawer and pulled out the pipe… it’s a true story…. it’s never been published… but in honor of my mom and her mom and the women before them and for my sisters and my daughter… for all of them …. I publish it here for the first time.

Thanks Mom! I love you too!

  • The authoress Pearl Batten was my grandmother.
  • Her mother-in-law – Jennie Clarinda BROWN (1876 – 1959) [my great-grandmother]
  • Daughter / Bride – Elanor DUSENBERRY (1827 – 1865) [my 3rd great-grandmother]
  • Neighbor / Groom – Philip AUMOCK (1827 – 1909) [my 3rd great-grandfather]
  • Great-grandfather – Benjamin DUSENBERRY (1789 – 1867) [my 4th great-grandfather]
  • Great-grandmother – Charlotte DENNIS (1806 – 1890) [my 4th great-grandmother]

To Speak the Truth

June 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Truth

There are two primary aspects to The Wilder Place… the blog… and Our GENEALOGY… In trying to make it one of the coolest sites around I’m reading a lot of material… and learning a lot!

The later (Our GENEALOGY) is very easy thanks to TNG. But the blog on the other hand… well that’s a different story. How do I make one blog… my blog… stand out from the over 112 million (Dec 2007) other blogs? I’ve been researching that question for a little while now….

In my research I’ve come across a truly wonderful little book… Designing for the Social Web (Voices That Matter) by Joshua Porter… great book!

Mr. Porter points out that he’s discovered that the most popular sites (e.g., Amazon, eBay, etc.) allow users to interact sociably with people, primarily in the search for…. drum rollTRUTH… believe it or not. I was shocked at this, since that’s my #1 goal, that is to find and share TRUTH. In the book it’s emphasized that a person’s desire for the truth is evidenced by his/her use of recommendations made by real people as to the seller’s honesty and/or the product’s quality.

Personally, I think there’s a dichotomy in that while we want truth in the above respect, we do NOT want (for the most part) to hear TRUTH in regards to our personal decisions. My own thought on this is that we (a) do not want to be responsible for our decisions, and (b) do not want to admit – even to ourselves – that we are or can be wrong.

For the record… as all those who know me can attest… I can be and often am… W-R-O-N-G… but my rightness or wrongness has nothing whatsoever to do with the truthfulness about an action or thought of mine.

I’ve heard innumerable times over the last 10 years or so that “evangelical Christians are intolerant”… that’s absolutely not true… it’s actually a lie, because it is said with an intent to mislead people… How can I say it’s in error? … Easy… because by definition to be intolerant means to not allow another person to think, say, and/or do something in particular. I, on the other hand, completely (100%) support and applaud each and every person’s ability to make their own choices about anything! You, I, and every single other person on this planet have an innate right to make their/our own decisions.

It does not matter at all that we make different choices, not a bit! While in some cultures, countries, and/or societies a person’s right to choose is physically suppressed, I am personally willing  to fight to the death and to do everything I can to ensure we all maintain the right to choose, to think, believe, and behave differently. I respect YOU period! As a human being, the same “being” as I. You are valuable! You do not have to agree with me to have value as a human being; I did not create you… you come from the same source I did… for that reason I can respect you even if we make different choices… I can learn things from you, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, primarily from the differences that exist between us.

BUT… there still exists TRUTH… absolute TRUTH.. and my saying that does not impact your ability to make a choice at all. When one looks to Amazon customer recommendations or eBay seller ratings they are acknowledging that truth does indeed exist.

For one to say that I may not say something is right or wrong… is to strip me of my freedom of speech, that is to not allow me to say what I think… that is real intolerance!

Lost to time…. tick-toc

May 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Our Family

My father passed away in 1993 and with both of his parents also passed on I realize my kids are in danger of losing 1/4th of their heritage without even realizing it…. tick-toc… tick-toc

My father had polio in 1955. Before that he’d been a partner in a telephone company in upstate Wisconsin. Due to the polio he couldn’t climb the poles anymore…. How many recall seeing telephone poles with steel steps attached? … I do… He took his 24 year old wife, 4 year old daughter with his 2 sons (one 2 and 1 only 1) and moved them lock-stock-and-barrel to sunny central Florida, where he’d gotten a job with RCA working on the space program….

This migration south has had a huge impact on my family relationships…. tick-toc… tick-toc… I didn’t grow up with my cousins, aunts, uncles around…. my grandparents would come and go, and my dad’s folks became rather permanent snow-birds… but my problem is that now, today, I find myself without ties with close blood lines still in Michigan and Wisonsin…. and the folks I do know are my mom’s and dad’s generation and they are moving on… my children don’t know them at all… when my oldest son went to college in Michigan, I’d encourage him to contact family… he told me, “But, Mom, I don’t know them.”…. tick-toc… tick-toc… while, thank God, my mom is still here, but when God calls her home it’ll be the same story repeated… I really don’t know them at all.

Neither my father nor his folks documented their families, they did tell me some stories, but they only went back one or two generations at most. I have artifacts… some pictures… a Bible..a candy dish… tick-toc… tick-toc…

Fortunately, my mom has a gene…. it’s a genealogy gene… and she’s documenting her family… in some cases back to the 16th century… she’s been working on it for well over 20 years and she’s given all of her kids pictures and stories with names and dates… it’s awesome what she’s done!… thanks to her my children and grandchildren will know her family.

Now it’s time I knuckle down to work on my father’s family… I’ll post my trees (with only deceased people in them), and stories, and issues on this site… my husband is joining me in this effort…. it’s going well… it’s a huge blessing in the evenings as we find ourselves with TV never turned on, reading, researching, and discussing our famlies… We were planning to take a cruise of the Amazon into Brazil next year…. we cancelled that Saturday… now we’ll be taking a trip back in time to capture family records and perhaps to strengthen some ties….. tick-toc, tick-toc….

The primary surnames we are researching are WILDER and FRINK on my husband’s side from Northern Illinois, and GLAZIER and HARRIS from mid-Michigan, Tuscola county to be specific…. my mom is working on DEGARMO and DAHLKE from Minnesota and Wisconsin… more, very much more will be published here. One of my goals is to make The Wilder Place “the” definitive website for my family, with trees, pictures, and stories galore.

Jesus tells us to put aside our “vain genealogies”…. why? … Our Lord understands and supports our desires to know who we are in terms of those who came before us, from whom we descend… I know this because in both Old and New Testimates we’re told over and over again “so-and-so begat so-and-so”…. but being descended from someone whether it’s a king, queen, or Abraham does not stand us in good stead before God…. only accepting Christ’s attoning death for our individual sins does that.