Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Ahoy Vey! -- Jewish Pirates

Repost with slight changes

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. As well as the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

What would be an appropriate topic, albeit perhaps a little afield from the subject of genealogy, for a blog post combining the two?

How about Jean Lafitte, the possibly Jewish Pirate?



[image - late 19th century artist's conception. [source]

The facts of his origins, and those of his demise as well, depend upon whether you believe the "Journal of Jean Lafitte" is a forgery or not. Discovered in the possession of a claimed descendant.
"My grandmother was a Spanish-Israelite. ... Grandmother told me repeatedly of the trials and tribulations her ancestors had endured at the time of the Spanish Inquisition. ... Grandmother's teachings ... inspired in me a hatred of the Spanish Crown and all the persecutions for which it was responsible -- not only against Jews." [source]
According to one account, Jean Lafitte was killed upon the General Santander, an armed private vessel in the service of Columbia, on Feb. 5, 1823, at the age of 41. In the Gulf of Honduras, the General Santander encountered two Spanish privateers or warships, and was mortally wounded in a brief battle with the vessels and buried at sea ...  
According to Lafitte's Journal ( which many believe to be a hoax, claimed to have been found by a great grand son of Lafitte) written by Lafitte himself in 1851, he took the name John Lafflin and died in St. Louis in his 70s. [source]
As a St. Louisan, this last definitely interests me. Though I have been unable to determine where John Lafflin (whether or not in reality Jean Lafitte) is supposed to be buried. Mysteries tend to surround pirates, don't they?

However, while the origins of Jean Lafitte are controversial, in Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean, author Edward Kritzler makes the claim for several others. Some of the earlier ones are said to have gone into the piracy business as revenge against the inquisition.
One such pirate was Moses Cohen Henriques, who helped plan one of history's largest heists against Spain. In 1628, Henriques set sail with Dutch West India Co. Admiral Piet Hein, whose own hatred of Spain was fueled by four years spent as a galley slave aboard a Spanish ship. Henriques and Hein boarded Spanish ships off Cuba and seized shipments of New World gold and silver worth in today's dollars about the same as Disney's total box office for "Dead Man's Chest." [source]
Of course, pirates tend to break a few commandments in their daily routine. Ends rarely justify the means, and revenge isn't generally considered a morally appropriate explanation for deeds. One wonders if the above Jewish pirates recited the Al Chet (confession of sins) yearly on Yom Kippur.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Labor Day Weekend 2018

As you light up your barbecues this weekend and enjoy your day off from work Monday (those who have the day off) - take some part of the day to consider the advancements we have made in workers' rights over the last century - Many of us may have ancestors who worked in the coal mines or sweatshops.

Also, consider in what ways the struggles aren't over.

Here's a playlist of songs which may help.



A Pict Song - Rudyard Kipling (1917)

Rome never looks where she treads,
Always her heavy hooves fall,
On our stomachs, our hearts or our heads;
And Rome never heeds when we bawl.
Her sentries pass on—that is all,
And we gather behind them in hordes,
And plot to reconquer the Wall,
With only our tongues for our swords.

We are the Little Folk—we !
Too little to love or to hate.
Leave us alone and you'll see
How we can drag down the Great!
We are the worm in the wood !
We are the rot at the root!
We are the germ in the blood !
We are the thorn in the foot !

Mistletoe killing an oak—
Rats gnawing cables in two—
Moths making holes in a cloak—
How they must love what they do!
Yes,—and we Little Folk too,
We are as busy as they—
Working our works out of view—
Watch, and you'll see it some day!

No indeed ! We are not strong,
But we know Peoples that are.
Yes, and we'll guide them along,
To smash and destroy you in War!
We shall be slaves just the same ?
Yes, we have always been slaves;
But you—you will die of the shame,
And then we shall dance on your graves.

We are the Little Folk, we ! etc.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Amanuensis Monday: Obituary for Everett Van Every - 1924

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Today I transcribe a news article on the death of Everett Clarence VanEvery (1906-1924), the nephew of my maternal grandmother. Clipping found at Newspapers.com

ObituaryWed, Apr 2, 1924 – Page 1 · The Austin American (Austin, Texas) · Newspapers.com

BOY DROWNS IN BARTON CREEK

Everett VanEvery Victim Of Cramps Attack.

Everett VanEvery, 16, senior student in Austin high school, son of Mrs. Charles Haynie, 2108 Swisher street, met death by drowning Tuesday afternoon at 2 o'clock while swimming with comrades in Campbell's hole on Barton creek, about one mile above Barton Springs.

VanEvery was a member of a picnic party composed of senior high school students, which was being conducted at Barton Springs park.

Overcome by Cramps.

VanEvery and several companions went to Campbell's hole shortly after eating dinner and were in swimming when the unfortunate youth was overcome by cramps and sank to the bottom of a 15-foot hole. His companions made an effort to rescue him as he sank, but were unable to help him. They then hurried to Barton Springs for aid and after half an hour, VanEvery's body was brought to the surface by D. Hamilton, special officer at the municipal swimming resort, and M. C. Muckleroy and Abe Parks, high school students.

Lungmotor Fails.

An effort to revive VanEvery by means of a lungmotor rushed to the scene of the drowning by the Rosengren-Cook Undertaking establishment was made, but proved futile. Charles G. Haynie, barber, the youth's stepfather, made the call to the scene of the drowning with the Rosengren-Cook ambulance.

After efforts to revive the youth were abandoned, the body was carried to the home of his parents on Swisher street.

Funeral services will be held this afternoon at 3 o'clock at the home of young Van Every's grandmother, Mrs. A. M. Dahlin. 1703 Sabine street. At 3:30 o'clock services will be held at the Swedish Methodist church. The services will be conducted by Rev. K.G. Norberg.

Charles B. Cook will direct the funeral.

Active pallbearers are: Clifford Palmier, Joseph Rubenson, Louis Lindahl, Ernest Severine. Harold Laveen, Louis Sward.

Honorary pallbearers are: Henry McCallum, Dan Ward, William Deveraux. Albert Haynes. Gustave Watkins and Charles Lewis.


1) This goes into much greater detail of the incident than I have been able to uncover from his death certificate, previous newspaper articles, and family. There had been some question of whether he had drowned in Barton Creek, or in Deep Eddy Pool, which is in a community named after the creek. This article clarifies it was in the creek, or more specifically, Campbell's Hole.

2) I knew that Everett's mother had married Charles Haynie at some point before her death, since his name appears on her death certificate, but I didn't know it was before Everett's death.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Poetry Friday - 1492 - Emma Lazarus

1492
Emma Lazarus, (1849 - 1887)

Thou two-faced year, Mother of Change and Fate,
Didst weep when Spain cast forth with flaming sword,
The children of the prophets of the Lord,
Prince, priest, and people, spurned by zealot hate.
Hounded from sea to sea, from state to state,
The West refused them, and the East abhorred.
No anchorage the known world could afford,
Close-locked was every port, barred every gate.
Then smiling, thou unveil’dst, O two-faced year,
A virgin world where doors of sunset part,
Saying, “Ho, all who weary, enter here!
There falls each ancient barrier that the art
Of race or creed or rank devised, to rear
Grim bulwarked hatred between heart and heart!”



The Alhambra Decree was signed March 31, 1492, and Spain's Jews originally had four months to leave. That was extended by 10 days to August 10th.

Columbus set sail on August 3, 1492. In his crew was the interpreter, Luis de Torres. Born Yosef ben HaLevi HaIvri, he had converted to Catholicism on August 2nd.

The Alhambra Decree was officially revoked on December 16, 1968.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Days of Love - Religious and Personal

Tu b'Av is a relatively obscure Jewish holiday that falls on the fifteenth day of the month of Av (sundown Thursday, July 26 to sundown Friday, July 27 this year).

The fifteenth day of each month on the Hebrew calendar falls on a full moon, and the holiday was observed as a sort of fertility festival during the period of the Second Temple. After the destruction of the Second Temple, it was forgotten for the most part in the Diaspora, only to be revived in modern times as a Jewish alternative to St. Valentine's Day.

To some, St. Valentine's Day, or Tu B'Av, may feel manufactured for greeting card companies, florists, and chocolatiers. However, most couples have their own personal "Days of Love." Whether the annual date commemorates a first date, an engagement, a marriage, or another anniversary, it's significant only to the individual couple.The memories connected with these dates are often stronger than the ones associated with the annual religious or societal holidays. Still, any reason for two people to celebrate their love for one another is a good reason.

To A Lady
by Victor Hugo,
From Les Feuilles D'Automne

Child, were I king, I'd yield my royal rule,
     My chariot, sceptre, vassal-service due,
My crown, my porphyry-basined waters cool,
My fleets, whereto the sea is but a pool,
     For a glance from you!

Love, were I God, the earth and its heaving airs,
     Angels, the demons abject under me,
Vast chaos with its teeming womby lairs,
Time, space, all would I give--aye, upper spheres,
     For a kiss from thee!

translation by Thomas Hardy
photogravure by Goupil et Cie, from a drawing by Deveria, appears in a collection of Hugo's poetry published by Estes and Lauriat in the late 1800s.


Monday, July 9, 2018

Amenuensis Monday: Obituary for Julia Wallace (1867-1934)

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Today I transcribe the obituary for Julia (Wallis) Wallace (1867-1934), the second wife of my wife's second great grandfather, John T Wallace. Clipping found at Newspapers.com



Funeral services for Mrs. Julia Wallace, 66 years old, who died Tuesday at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Elmer Kindred, in Crowder, were conducted at the residence at 10 o'clock Wednesday morning by the Rev. A.C. Sullivan, pastor of the Morehouse Baptist church. Burial was in Memorial Park cemetery.

Mrs. Wallace, who had been ill for approximately a year, was born in Florence, Ala. on June 2, 1867. In March 1898 she married John Wallace. She had been a member of the Missionary Baptist church at Vanduser for the last twenty-six years.

Besides Mrs. Kindred, Mrs. Wallace is survived by two daughters, Mrs. Verbal Rodgers, Sikeston, and Mrs. Edna Hamlin, Vanduser; two sons, Alva Wallace, Vanduser and Arthur Wallace, Morehouse; three stepsons, Turner and David Wallace, Vanduser, and Jim Wallace, Morehouse; and thirteen grandchildren. Three children have died. Mr. Wallace has been dead for eighteen years. Welsh service.


1) My wife's second great grandfather had two wives, Lorrah Wallis and Julia Wallis. All indications are that when his first wife died in 1893, he married her younger sister the following year. Lorrah was the mother of my wife's great grandfather, John Turner Wallace. (I haven't yet verified the parents of Lorrah and Julia that are indicated on some Ancestry.com family trees are accurate.) Wallis and Wallace are alternate spellings of the same surname, so John T Wallace may have been related to his wives in some fashion, perhaps distantly.

2) The obituary doesn't list the names of the children who predeceased Julia. Jesse (1902-1911) is one of them. I'm guessing the other two died as infants between censuses.

3) "Welsh service" is a reference to "Welsh Funeral Home," which is now called "Ponder Funeral Home."

Monday, July 2, 2018

Amanuensis Monday: Obituary of Melvin Van Every (1863-1929)

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Today I transcribe the obituary for my great grandfather, Melvin E. Van Every, which appeared in The El Paso Times, May 29, 1929. I found the obituary at Newspapers.com.


MELVIN E. VAN EVERY, 66, of Garfield, N.M. Funeral services were held from the chapel of Kaster and Maxon at 4 o'clock Tuesday afternoon with the Rev. W. Angie Smith officiating. Burial was in Evergreen cemetery. Pallbears were members of the  W.O.W. Mr. Van Every is survived by his widow, three daughters, Mrs. Minnie Benold and Mrs. I.T. Herrin, both of El Paso, and Miss Myrtle Van Every of Kansas City, Mo., and one son, Dr. S.O. Van Every of Kansas City.

Notes:

1) I believe W.O.W. stands for Woodmen of the World, a fraternal benefit organization that provides life insurance for its members. From other sources I already knew my great grandfather was a Freemason.

2) My grandmother, Myrtle, appears in the St. Louis City directories every year between 1921 and 1930. It is possible, however, that she spent some time in Kansas City with her brother, as well. She appears in the St. Louis census in 1930, but her brother is listed as living with a woman named, Myrtle, in the Kansas City census. The woman is listed as a wife, but no record with her appearance after the census has been uncovered. I think it's possible my grandmother would occasionally visit her brother, and whoever provided the information for the census (a landlord perhaps) wasn't aware they were brother and sister.