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Archive for the ‘history’ Category


A Picture from Edna

This past Spring, a friend of mine, Judy Z, gifted me with a piece from her David Winter Cottages collection. She gave me Benbow’s Farmhouse and described it as having a very interesting connection to the Mormon church.

Researching further, I found that Benbow’s Farmhouse by David Winter Cottages was made to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the arrival in 1837, to Britain, of the first missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1840, Apostle Wilford Woodruff of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon or LDS) stayed with John and Jane Benbow at Hill Farm (Benbow’s Farmhouse) in Castle Frome, Herefordshire, and baptised many converts to the new religion in the farm pond. John Benbow himself had became a member of the Church and was responsible for the first printing of the Book of Mormon in Great Britain.

David Winter Cottage

The image, David Winter – Benbow’s Farmhouse, was originally uploaded by Edna Barney. It is posted here from Barneykin’s flickr account.

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A Picture from Edna

We cherish too, the Poppy red

That grows on fields where valor led,

It seems to signal to the skies

That blood of heroes never dies. (We Shall Keep the Faith)

In November of 1918, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem, cited above. She then conceived of wearing red poppies on Memorial day to honor those who died serving the nation during war. She sold poppies as a fundraiser to benefit needy veterans. When Madam Guerin, a visitor to the United States from France, learned of this new custom she began making artificial red poppies to raise money for French war orphans and widows. The Red Poppy tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children’s League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922, the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell Red Poppies. Two years later their “Buddy” Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948, the US Post Office honored Moina Michael for founding the National Poppy movement with a three cent postage stamp with her likeness upon it.

The image, Poppy at Lion House, was originally uploaded by Edna Barney. It is posted here from Barneykin’s flickr account.

Visit Neddy’s Archives for more of Edna’s writings.

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Stinson Book at Amazon


A Picture from Edna

I was very pleased today, 25 November 2009, to see that my book “So Obscure a Person” in paperback was ranked #50 amongst Virginia genealogy books at Amazon.com.

The image, Stinson Book at Amazon, was originally uploaded by Edna Barney. It is posted here from Barneykin’s flickr account.

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A Picture from Edna

This is one example of graffiti that occupying Union soldiers left upon the walls of Blenheim in Fairfax, Virginia during the War Between the States. This photograph is from the attic, however when wallpaper was recently removed from the main floors of the old Greek Revival farmhouse, graffiti was discovered everywhere. This “Soldier’s Lament” records:

4th Month

No money

No whiskey

No Friends

No Rations

No Peas

No Beans

No Pants

No Patriotism (underlined)

“Blenheim,” located at 3610 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax, Virginia, is a brick home built by REZEN WILLCOXON about 1858, to replace an earlier frame dwelling. This 12-acre former farm, includes a cemetery for several generations of the Willcoxon family who lived here. Blenheim is renown for its outstanding examples of Civil War soldier graffiti. It is currently being restored. The day we were there, a recent tropical storm had left many downed trees, but no damage to the structures.

The image, Soldier Graffiti, was originally uploaded by Edna Barney. It is posted here from Barneykin’s flickr account.

Visit Neddy’s Archives for more of Edna’s writings.

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The “We” Word


‘WE’ is the word used to steal virtue from the good, to steal strength from the strong and to steal wisdom from the sages.

Ayn Rand in “Anthem:”

For the word “We” must never be spoken, save by one’s choice and as a second thought. This word must never be placed first within man’s soul, else it becomes a monster, the root of all the evils on earth, the root of man’s torture by men, and an unspeakable lie.

The word “We” is as lime poured over men, which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it, and that which is white and that which is black are lost equally in the grey of it. It is the word by which the depraved steal the virtue of the good, by which the weak steal the might of the strong, by which the fools steal the wisdom of the sages.

What is my joy if all hands, even the unclean, can reach into it? What is my wisdom, if even the fools can dictate to me? What is my freedom, if all creatures, even the botched and impotent, are my masters? What is my life, if I am but to bow, to agree, and to obey?

But I am done with this creed of corruption.

I am done with the monster of “We,” the word of serfdom, of plunder, of misery, falsehood and shame.

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Come, come, come …
Let us ponder the America of our memories:
We sang like the birds of the field; we sang of freedom;
When we sought opportunity, we found it awaiting us.
America was a dream, a vision of seekers;
America was a dream that lasted ten score and thirty years.
The dream that was America encountered the anarchy of liberty;
And was felled by the anarchy of immorality.
We beg forgiveness of our founders, our fathers;
We weep for the blood they shed for us.
The America that was their dream is now our master.
Freemen no longer, we are serfs to toil land that is not ours.
We live the lives of the slaves of old, lives of quiet desperation;
We beat our breasts in despair knowing we sold our posterity into bondage.
We still pray, but not to God; We still sing, but not of freedom.
We tell tales to our children and they laugh,
For, as we recollect our remembrances,
Our children hear fairy tales of long, long ago.
We listen to those who sacrificed for freedom.
They ask: “Did we win or did we lose?
Was God with us or were we against God, in those days?
Was freedom worth the blood we spilt?
Or was freedom but a mysterious nothing,
A mere longing of our souls?

We will soon go away too, we who have the memories.
When we are gone, will seekers ever dream that dream again?

~~Edna Barney

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Evelyn Nesbit on a Bear Rug

I have been listening to an audio book of “Ragtime,” which I purchased because I have tickets to the play “Ragtime” that is scheduled for the Kennedy Center in May. Halfway through the book, I have decided that Evelyn Nesbit and Harry Thaw are featured characters that I should know more about. To learn more about them is quite easy, as, before reading “Ragtime” I had never heard anything of either of them; for all I knew, they were figments of the author’s imagination.

After the author’s coverage of Houdini, Teddy Roosevelt, Admiral Byrd, the famous psychiatrists Freud and Jung, I decided that murderer Harry Thaw, Gibson Girl Evelyn Nesbit and Evelyn’s lover Stanford White must have been historical characters. In 1906, Harry Thaw’s trial for the murder of White was labelled the “Trial of the Century.” Of course, OJ Simpson had not yet been born, and his trial for murder was fated for the end of the same century.

I find “Ragtime” interesting reading as it covers the historical events of my father’s boyhood. He was born 1901, and came to the U.S. as a teen. Also, my grandmother and my mother had grown up on a Virginia plantation of the family of another Gibson Girl, Irene Langhorne Gibson. I remember my grandmother recounting how she and her siblings played with the discarded drawings of Irene’s artist husband, Charles Dana Gibson. This is all doubly intriguing, as E.L. Doctorow links all of his historical characters with one another, and with his created characters, and I have found that my own family is linked to the very same people of his novel.

Well, back to “Ragtime” and Evelyn Nesbit, I finally Googled her this morning. (I’m not sure if “Google” the verb should be in caps or not.) She and her star-crossed lovers are in Wikipedia as real American characters and she even has her own web page: “The Story of Evelyn Nesbit.”

UPDATE WARNING: I downloaded this audio book from the Apple Store through iTunes. Halfway through the book I discovered that four or five chapters in the middle are missing. This is a defect in the actual audio book that Apple sold me, not a download problem. This is the very first book I have downloaded from Apple, so needless to say, I am NOT impressed.

The image, Evelyn Nesbit, was originally uploaded by westiemom. It is posted here from Barneykin’s Flickr account.

Visit Neddy’s Archives for more of Edna’s writings.

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