Sunday, July 19, 2015

Fun Times with the Romeros

   I have been enjoying having the Romeros visiting for the past week.  I've seriously taken advantage of grandsons Anthony and Jonnie to get some manual labor accomplished in preparation for our upcoming Fifth Biannual Cousin Camp.  Besides general cleanup they have been involved in site preparation for the above ground pool and the patio and foundation for the outdoor bread oven.

    On Friday evening I went with Lia and the kids to the little carnival associated with the Kla Ha Ya Days festival in Snohomish.  The kids rode the rides while I took some pictures. We all shared a few elephant ears and curly fries.  Granddaughter Annika is a serious daredevil when it comes to carnival rides.  No ride is too high, too fast or too upside down for her.  She could easily get her money's worth from one of the ride wrist bands. Granddaughter Cozette seemed to enjoy the little alligator roller coaster but was convinced that it was a dragon.

Front end of the "Dragon" roller coaster

Cozy really liked this little roller coaster

Cozy enjoying a ride on the carousel

Tommy liked the carousel more than is apparent in this photo

Grandson James as the Kung Fu Panda

Seriously Cute Clown Cozette

Clown Tommy

Clown Annika

Kung Fu Panda Cozette

Friday, July 10, 2015

Family History Friday #17 - John H Crihfield

   I've done a little research lately on the family of my fourth great grandfather, John Crihfield, the father of Mary Crihfield who married James H Heiskill. This past week I discovered that her younger brother, John H Crihfield served in the Confederate army.  I have quite a few ancestors who fought in the Civil War. Most fought in the Union army, including some southerners from Tennessee and  Arkansas.

   John H Crihfield was born in Arkansas in about 1844. He was found living with his parents and siblings on the 1850 census in Lauderdale County, Tennessee. Sadly, his father died before the end of the year.  I next found him on the 1860 census living with another Crihfield family in Lauderdale County. The only other records I was able to find pertained to his service in the Confederate 14th (Neely's) Tennessee Cavalry and as a prisoner of war.  I haven't been able to find out the actual date of his enlistment, but I was able to find some information on the internet as to when various Tennessee cavalry units were formed.  For a while some of the Confederate calvary units in Western Tennessee were more like partisans than regular army units, hence some of the difficulty with records. A further problem is that the units were formed and reorganized a number of times. they were eventually consolidated into a larger regular cavalry force commanded by the now infamous General Nathan Bedford Forrest (purported founder of the Klu Klux Klan).

    I did find was that John H Crihfield was captured on November 27, 1863 in Haywood County, Tennessee, a neighboring county to Lauderdale County. His commander at the time of his capture was Col Richardson. Crihfield was then sent as a prisoner of war to Camp Morton in Marion County, Indiana.  The Conditions in Civil War prison camps were notoriously bad on both sides of the conflict. John H Crihfield died on July 13, 1864 from malaria. At the time of his death there were close to 5,000 Confederate prisoners at Camp Morton. Union army records provided the date of his capture and subsequent death. The Confederate prisoners who died at Camp Morton were originally interred in individual wooden coffins in the Confederate section of Greenlawn Cemetery.  Wooden Crosses with their names marked the individual graves. Their remains were later exhumed and reburied at Crown Hill Cemetery.  By that time the wooden markers had decayed so the soldiers were reburied in a mass grave.  A monument was erected to honor the memory of the 1,616 Confederate soldiers buried there.  I found a record on Findagrave thanks to the fact that all of their names were recorded on the monument.

    All in all, John H Crihfield had a difficult life.  He was born in Arkansas at a time when that would have qualified as the frontier.  He moved to Lauderdale County while a very young child His father died when he was just six or seven years old.  He lived in a tumultuous time.  His military service was probably somewhat brief and he died in what were probably miserable conditions as a prisoner of war.

    While I was researching John H Crihfield I learned some interesting facts regarding other family members.  An older sister, Effie Crihfield, was married at the age of 15 in Yell County Arkansas on February 12, 1846 to William Ball.  I couldn't find any records pertaining to William Ball other than this marriage record. Four years later, the 1850 census showed Effie Crihfield living with her parents and siblings (using her maiden name) in Lauderdale County, Tennessee.  It is very helpful (genealogically speaking) that Effie Crihfield was living with her parents, John Crihfield and Elizabeth Hustead, on the 1850 census.   The 1850 census showed Henry Crihfield, age 71, and his wife Jane, also living in Lauderdale County. Living with them was William Crihfield, age 30, probably their son, and John Heiskill.  I puzzled a great deal over this. Heiskill is not a particularly common  name and here was John Heiskill living with a Crihfield family a short time before James H. Heiskill marries Mary Crihfield in the very same county. To make matters more complicated I couldn't find James H Heiskill on the 1850 census.

        Some of these relationships were clarified when Henry Crihfield died and Effie Crihfield was listed in his will as his granddaughter. Thus we learned that John Crihfield was the son of Henry Crihfield.  However, I was still left wondering what was the relationship between John F Heiskill  and Henry Crihfield.  John F Heiskill married Effy Ball (Effie Crihfield) on September 14, 1852 in Lauderdale County.  I also don't know for sure what the relationship is between John F Heiskill and James H Heskill. I think its likely that they are either brothers or cousins.  I did some investigation on and was referred to a family tree that listed John F Heiskill's parents as Lewis Heiskill and Nancy Crihfield.  I followed that lead a bit further and learned that Nancy Crihfield was the daughter of Henry Crihfield. If this information is accurate,  John F Heiskill and Effie Crihfield were first cousins, each being the grandchild of Henry Crihfield.  Furthermore, if John F Heiskill is the brother of James H Heiskill then Mary Crihfield and James H Heiskill would also be first cousins.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Knee High by the Fourth of July

    I'm very pleased with the progress of my vegetable garden, and in particular with my little corn crop.  Most of my corn passed the proverbial "knee high" benchmark in late June. I had to replant a portion of my corn patch due to some unknown critter (possibly a crow or Stellar's Jay) pulling some of the little plants out by the roots. The replanted parts are just now approaching knee high. I'm not sure it was worthwhile to replant the corn, but the gaps in the rows bugged me.  Enough of the corn escaped predation such that I'm looking forward to a good harvest of indian corn.  I have gone to great lengths to find corn varieties that will work in our Western Washington maritime climate.  This year I am growing Mandan Red Clay Parching Corn. It is a short season lavender colored flour corn, suitable for both parching and cornbread.  The problem with corn is not so much the length of the growing season as the amount of heat.  Our growing season is long enough but our maritime summers usually don't provide enough heat for many varieties of corn. This summer has been so much warmer than past summers that I think I could have planted any variety of corn this year and it would have worked.  The past few weeks have been mostly in the low nineties and high eighties.
More than knee high and tasseling
   My pole beans have started to produce blossoms and they are all climbing up their respective poles.  My winter squash and three varieties of summer squash are off to the races.   We started picking zucchini this past week. I managed to get all of my cucumbers and cabbages transplanted, but I've had to water them almost daily to help them get their roots established during this hot weather. Cucumbers don't really start to grow well until the weather gets warm. They are really starting to take off  now.

    I harvested my first potatoes several weeks ago.  I tried mulching the potatoes with straw, having read that they will form potatoes in the straw.   I didn't experience that, possibly I didn't add enough straw. However, none of the potatoes were sun scalded.  They may have grown close to the surface of the soil, but the straw mulch protected them from the sun. I harvested the one row of potatoes that was right next to my cabbages as they had grown so tall that they were shading the cabbages.  We also harvested our first onion so Linda was able to make creamed peas and potatoes. Unfortunately we had to use frozen peas. I planted my peas about a month late so they weren't ready.  We have also harvested our first tomatoes.  I really look forward to the time of year when we are able eat from our garden every day.

    I have experimented growing Jerusalem Artichokes for the past few years. I still haven't eaten any of them, but they are very spectacular plants to grow. They are a type of sunflower, native to North America. Indian tribes who lived in the midwest and the plains used to harvest the wild tubers. So how did it get the name Jerusalem Artichoke?  At some point it was introduced into Europe. Because the flavor of the tubers is similar to artichokes they were called Girasole Artichokes after the Italian word for Sunflower. Somehow that name migrated back to America, being corrupted to Jerusalem Artichoke.  I have had several problems with Jerusalem Artichokes, also called Sunchokes.  First of all, little voles have eaten a good part of the tubers.  Voles are like a cross between a mouse and a gopher. They have also caused some problems with my potatoes, but its worse with the sunchokes because they are harvested so late in the year. I usually harvest my potatoes before the voles do too much damage.  The second problem with sunchokes is that in spite of the voles, there are numerous little tubers that I always fail to find. In spite of the fact that most of my harvest has gone to the voles, the plants come back year after year, regardless of my present plans for that portion of the garden.

   This year I'm trying a new strategy with the Jerusalem Artichokes. I transplanted some of my volunteers into old ratty unusable honeybee shipping cages.  I planted the whole box into the ground so the tubers will develop inside the shipping cage.  The tubers are protected from the voles and when I pull up the shipping cage, I should be able to remove every last tuber. At least that is my plan We'll see if it turns out according to plan. I've also transplanted some of the volunteers into pots.

A patch of volunteer Jerusalem Artichokes
An unusable shipping cage repurposed to a subterranean planter box

Jeerusalem Artichokes safely contained