Archive for June, 2011

The Siesta Motel

June 29, 2011

Last week on Tuesday, June 21, 2011, I looked up from my work station by the plate glass picture window, and through the window I saw a woman headed to the front door of the vet’s office. This time, however, was no usual situation. The woman was on foot, carrying a cat in one arm and a kitten in the other, and it was almost midday, and we’ve been having near-record heat.  She was young, and thin, and looked like she could use a good scrub-down. 

I jumped up, told the other person who works with me to get a crate, and ran to the door to open it.  Obviously, she had her hands full, and certainly couldn’t take a chance on putting down one of the cats to open the door.

She stepped inside the door and said to take the cats.  I asked her what was wrong with them and she said nothing, just “please take them and find them a good home together”.  She shook her head, and started sobbing, and said “It’s just too sad to talk about”.  I told her that we weren’t the animal shelter, but if she wanted to relinquish the cats to me, I would take them to the shelter for her.  From the looks of her condition, she certainly wouldn’t be able to walk to the animal shelter with two loose cats.  I took her and the cats into an exam room.

She said that were living at the Siesta Motel.  I’d never even heard of the Siesta Motel, and it turns out that it’s about a block away from where I work.  I generally don’t travel in that direction, and I had no idea of the squalor that was only one block away.

Drive right around the building in the rear and another section of squalor appears.

We got the cats in the crate to regroup.  The woman said that the larger cat was the mother of the baby.  The mother was named “Me-mouw” and she was just a baby herself.  The kitten was named “Baby”, and she was perhaps 8 weeks old, but still nursing.  I asked if the cats were hungry.  She said yes, and added that the cats had fleas.  She said that she was leaving the next day to return to Ft. Lauderdale and could not take the cats with her.  The mother cat Me-mouw had a sibling, who was killed by someone who the woman would not name, as punishment to her, the woman.  She wouldn’t give more details than that, just that she was leaving.  She sobbed softly, and bent over to look into the crate, and told the cats that she loved them, and that they wouldn’t be abused any more.  She told me that the cats had fiberglass in them.  I said, like they got up into the insulation, like under a trailer, and have fiberglass insulation in them?  She just shook her head no and could not elaborate. 

So I got the cats some food, although the baby only wanted to nurse while Me-mouw ate the entire can.  Jennifer Byrd, for that was her name, signed off to relinquish the cats to me.  I told her to travel safe, and she left, a crumpled heap of a person, fragile as soggy cardboard that might break apart at any minute.  She crossed the street and sat down in the shade and the heat, and sobbed a bit more. 

So.  I got the cats settled into a condo, and set about to bathe them for they were foul with fleas.  The baby went first.  I bathed her several times in Dawn dishwashing detergent, and picked off not less than 50 fleas.  She weighed 1.5 pounds.  A healthy kitten will weigh about 1 pound for every month of life up until about 6 months or so.  This kitten was lagging behind, as was to be expected.

Mom and baby

Poor bedraggled baby after the bath looked even smaller.

If you can draw an upside-down triangle, you can draw a kitten's head.

This looks like the baby after the bath, but it's not. This is the mother. The baby is behind her.

Clean, full-tummied Mom and Baby patiently await their fate.

After a few hours, I took them to the shelter and relinquished them and reported the death of Me-mouw’s sibling. 

After a few days, I inquired after the cats.  Both tested negative for feline leukemia, and they await their fate at the shelter.  There’s a big adoption event this weekend called Catapalooza.  Cross your fingers.

Advertisements

The Savannah Volunteer Guards, Organized 1802

June 26, 2011

After tootling around South Carolina for the Lawton and Allied Families Association family reunion, Sugar was nostalgic for a trip to Savannah, GA, to admire some more family history.  His Lawton grandmother was a Lawton by marriage and a Basinger (BASS-sin-jer) by birth.  Mary Leslie Basinger Lawton’s father William Starr Basinger was a Savannah attorney who served in the Civil War in the Savannah Volunteer Guards.

This is a cannon. No. Really.

To the left of the entrance.

Poetter Hall

Paula and Richard Rowan, along with May and Paul Poetter,

founded the Savannah College of Art and Design in 1978.  In

March 1979, the college purchased its first building, this former

Savannah Volunteer Guard Armory, built in 1892.   The college

named the building Preston Hall after its architect, William

Gibbons Preston, and it has become the flagship building of an

expanding campus throughout the Historic and Victorian districts

of Savannah.  The college’s restoration, rehabilitation and adaptive

reuse of this and numerous other historically significant structures

have been recognized by the Historic Savannah Foundation, the

Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, and the National Trust for

Historic Preservation.  Preston Hall was renamed Poetter Hall to

honor the invaluable contributions of May Poetter, who served as

Vice President for Admission, and Paul Poetter, who served as

Comptroller, from 1978 to 1997 when both were elected to the

Board of Trustees.

Dedicated on Founders’ Day, October 11, 1997

*****

Major William Starr Basinger was affiliated with the Savannah Volunteer Guards.

SAVANNAH VOLUNTEER GUARDS

Organized 1802

As infantry the Corps fought in the War of

1812, Indian Wars and as a battalion in 1861,

serving with distinction in defense of

Savannah and Charleston.  In the spring of 1864

joined Lee’s Army at Petersburg.  On April 3,

1865 serving in the rear guard on the retreat

to Appomattox having been reduced to 85 men,

23 were killed, 35 wounded and remainder

Captured.  Reorganized in 1872.  Served as infan-

try battalion in the Spanish-American War, as

a battalion on the 61 C. A. C. in WW-I, and as

118th F. A. Battalion in WW-II where they were

awarded 5 Battle Stars.  Reorganized after

WW-II and is now an active unit in the Georgia

National Guard.  This armory erected in 1892.

MARKER DEDICATED 1972

*****

It’s been a lot of history for 3 days…

A LawtonFest Family Reunion, June 10-11, 2011, Part 4

June 25, 2011

After the trip to the Lawtonville Cemetery, we headed back to a local Lawton’s house where iced coffee, sweet tea, and old-fashioneds were served.  The house was loaded with antiques and family stuff.  The highlight of the visit, besides the old-fashioneds, was viewing the oil portraits of deceased Lawtons. 

John Lawton, 1830-1908

Next to John is his wife Elizabeth Stoney Peeples Lawton. They had seven children.

Elizabeth Stoney Peeples Lawton, 1834-1910.

Our hostess, a true descendant, told us that, one winter, a painter stayed with the Lawton family and painted everyone’s portrait, even the dog.  While I don’t have a photo of the dog, I do have a photo of the portrait of the oldest son, the fifth child, also named John Lawton. 

John Lawton, 1863-1933. This photo was taken straight on, and the oils reflect the flash. I followed up this photo with two others taken at different angles.

John Lawton, Jr., was about 21 years old when the portrait was painted.  Several years afterward, he was injured in a riding accident and lost his vision.  He was able to recover his health, but not his vision, and he married and farmed the land.  A family story tells of his wife calling him in the house from working outside one evening, stating that it was dark out.  He replied, “Well, it’s always dark out”.  Or words to that effect. 

John Lawton, Jr.

And here's number 3 of John Lawton.

The painter supposedly signed his name in the upper left hand corner, instead of the traditional lower right.  I can’t seem to see the signature, and it’s not because it’s dark out.  Maybe y’all can help me with that.

As the crowd dispersed and headed homeward, we did the same, and we were left with a slight nostalgic, lonely feeling for family.  Next year’s reunion?  Estill, SC!!

A LawtonFest Family Reunion, June 10-11, Part 3

June 22, 2011

Lawton folks. These ladies are reading "Our Family Circle" by Annie Miller, a book long considered as gospel for the Lawton and allied families. Annie Miller compiled this book in the early 1900's. That's right. No computers. I'd imagine that she used those famous index cards for organizing such a huge database. The book is a work of art and a labor of love.

The morning led off with a continental breakfast and a gathering of Lawtons related by blood and marriage.  After introductions, a business meeting, and some discussions, the speaker was introduced.

 
It was none other than Stephen Hoffius, an editor of the book Northern Money, Southern Land, The Lowcountry Plantation Sketches of Chlotilde R. Martin.    He presented an entertaining overview of the book.  One of my favorite quotations about the book is the following: 

“In the 1920s, as poverty and weather ground away at South Carolina’s formerly grand plantations, Sam Stoney of Medway was known to say, ‘Lord, please send us a rich Yankee.’ Chlotilde Martin’s engaging articles provide fascinating insight into an overlooked era of history that largely determined the shape of today’s lowcountry landscape. As a native South Carolinian, I often thank the Lord for the rich Yankees who decided that their adopted land was too beautiful to despoil, and consequently helped launch one of the nation’s most successful conservation movements.”— Dana Beach, executive director, Coastal Conservation League

Afterwards, there was – what else – a book signing and sales of Mr. Hoffius’s latest book, Upheaval in Charleston: Earthquake and Murder on the Eve of Jim Crow.  Sugar had taken his copy of “Northern Money, Southern Land” to be signed, and also bought another two books that he did not have (he’s a collector of sorts). 

More Lawton book collector types

Bookish Sugar waits his turn.

When Sugar finally got his turn in line, he mentioned that his parents met at Colony Gardens in the Beaufort area.  Colony Gardens was mentioned by Hoffius as one of the places that was developed with northern money, and Mr. Hoffius seemed interested to hear more about Sugar’s parents.  Nice touch, Mr. Hoffius, connecting with your peeps.

Then, yay, it was time for lunch, and we all determined to meet after lunch at the Estill Museum, and then to sojourn to the Lawtonville Cemetery. 

Our charming hostess, Mrs. DeLoach. She loves this town so much, she came to work on her day off just for us Lawton-lovers.

“I’m Mrs. DeLoach.  We’re delighted to have you here.”  The Estill Museum is the tiniest little building.  To get to the second floor you have to go outside and up the stairway. 

Here’s some photos of some random Estill stuff that is in the museum.  You can left-click on any photo to enlarge it once, then left-click on it again to enlarge it yet again.

Estill Stuff

In the 1930’s, twenty mule teams and their drivers pose at the Van Peeples farm located at Solomons Crossroads. Photo courtesy of LaClaire Laffitte.

Lots of the photos were in those shiny acrylic frames so you’ll see some weird other-worldly reflections on the photos. 

A copy of the plat of the town of Estill, SC.

A corn grinder.

This photo was taken through the glass case so you get extra-special reflection. You're welcome.

Cotton hook thingies. Looks dangerous to me.

Estill office equipment. I think I learned to type on a typewriter like this.

And if the office equipment weren't excitement enough, here's a photo of a service station in Garnett.

Then we headed up the outside stairway to the second floor.  Thank goodness for air-conditioning because by this time it’s prime-time for scorching Southern heat.

Love me some quilts.

Closer examination of the quilt and its accompanying booklet shows an interesting twist of coincidence and time.  This quilt is over fifty years old, and it is from the St. John’s Methodist Church in Garnett.  That’s the church that Sir Richard of Garnett goes to when it’s open for services on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month.  We went to that church one Sunday when he played his guitar and sang for the church service. 

*****

THE ST. JOHN’S UNITED METHODIST CHURCH QUILT

CIRCA 1949

THE ST. JOHN’S UMC QUILT DISPLAYED HERE WAS FOUND IN A SUNDAY SCHOOL ROOM AT ST. JOHN’S BY CECILIA B. MCKENZIE IN JANUARY, 2010.

BASED ON INFORMATION STATED BELOW, IT IS ASSUMED THAT THE ST. JOHN’S QUILT WAS A FUND-RAISING PROJECT FOR ST. JOHN’S.  THE GREAT MAJORITY OF NAMES WERE MEMBERS OF ST. JOHN’S OR HAD CONNECTIONS WITH ST. JOHN’S MEMBERS.  SOME PERSONS LISTED WERE MEMBERS OF OTHER COMMUNITY CHURCHES AND CHURCHES OUT OF OUR COUNTY, FOR EXAMPLE, IN NORTH AUGUSTA, SC.

MARY ELEANOR BOWERS STATED THAT SHE QUILTED AND EMBROIDERED ANOTHER QUILT USING THE SAME PATTERN AS THE ST. JOHN’S QUILT AS A FUND-RAISER FOR A LOCAL ORGANIZATION.  THAT QUILT WAS THEN RAFFLED.  PERSONS PAID A CERTAIN AMOUNT TO HAVE NAMES PLACED ON MARY ELEANOR’S ORGANIZATION’S QUILT.

ST. JOHN’S UNITED METHODIST CHURCH HAS LOANED THE ST. JOHN’S QUILT TO THE ESTILL MUSEUM, APRIL, 2010, UNTIL A TIME WHEN REQUESTED BACK.  WE, THE MEMBERS, AND PETER MICHAEL LACK, PRESENT PASTOR, EXPRESS OUR APPRECDIATION FOR ALLOWING OUR QUILT TO BE DISPLAYED IN THE ESTILL MUSEUM.

THE FOLLOWING PAGES LIST THE NAMES APPEARING ON THE ST. JOHN’S QUILT.  VIEWERS ARE URGED TO PROVIDE ANY INFORMATION RE:  THIS QUILT AND TO ADDRESS ANY CORRECTIONS IN SPELLING OF NAMES OR INFORMATION AS LISTED BELOW TO

DAVID AND CECILIA B. MCKENZIE, MEMBERS

ST. JOHN’S UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

APRIL 22, 2010

*****

And another bizarre twist.  When we moved to SC 10 years ago, we didn’t know anyone.   BabyBoy met some folks in high school, and one friend, Amanda, is the granddaughter of Jean Wiggins Taylor.  We didn’t know any of that connection then, because we lived an hour away.  Ms. Jean’s maiden name is right there on the quilt.  Her mother was Annie Chisholm Wiggins, who lived in the big house across from Sir Richard (I’ve posted photos of that house before), and she knew Miz Florrie, age 98, who still lives in the area. 

The center of the square is Mattye Riley Chisholm and her husband Jesse Chisholm , who was the postmaster back in the day.

As if that wasn’t enough excitement, we still had to tour the cemetery.  I’ve written about the cemetery before in this post.

Last time we were here, the fields around the cemetery were planted in cotton. This time, it's corn.

This group of Lawton folks listen to Mary Eleanor Wiggins Bowers and Lawton O'Cain expound about Lawton history. I'm in the shade, thank you.

Here's Rev. Winborn Asa Lawton. You saw his photograph in the post with the Lawtonville Baptist Church Museum.

Winborn's wife Lucinda.

This is Anna, Winborn and Lucinda's daughter.

This is about the time when I sat down and the fire ants found me.  So that concludes this post for tonight, even though, there’s more Lawton excitement to come.

A LawtonFest Family Reunion, June 10-11,2011, Part 2

June 14, 2011

I’ve never been in a church that has its own museum.  The small room was packed with glass cases full of items, and the walls were covered with photos, framed certificates, and awards.  It was hard to angle into the room to view all the cases, because there were so many Lawtons who had just that same plan in mind. 

Certificate of Registration, Sunday School Board, Southern Baptist Convention, Nashville, Tenn. This certifies that the Young Men and Young Women Bible Class of the Sunday School of the Lawtonville Baptist Church, Estill, SC, has been enrolled as a member of the Organized Class Department, Authorized by the Southern Baptist Convention in session at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, May 1912.

Rev. Winborn Asa Lawton

Another Rev. Lawton, but I can't read the nameplate on the frame. I suppose I'll have to go back to the museum and make note of it.

"This quilt top was made for Rev. and Mrs. W. H. Dowling by the ladies of Beech Branch Church (mother church of Lawtonville) and given to Rev. and Mrs. Dowling."

More information about Rev. W. H. Dowling can be found by clicking on this link.

Deacon George Rhodes signed the Ordinance of Secession with this pen.

 

George Rhodes, 1801-1881.

 

After the museum, we headed home, ready for another day of Lawton excitement.

A LawtonFest Family Reunion, June 10-11, 2011, Part 1

June 12, 2011

This is it!  The Lawton and Allied Families Annual Reunion!  Am I a Lawton?  Nope, unless you count me as an honorary member.  These folks didn’t know about www.findagrave.com.  They need me, seeing as how I posted all the Lawton folks buried in the Black Swamp Cemetery in Garnett, SC, on findagrave about three years ago.

The Friday evening dinner was at the Lawtonville Baptist Church, which is no longer in Lawtonville, seeing how it was burned by Sherman’s troops during the Civil War, but now it’s located in Estill, SC, on – what else – Lawton Avenue.  After dinner we were invited in to the Lawtonville Baptist Church’s museum full of random stuff relating to the church’s history.

We're in the reception hall where the dinner was held. The lady speaking now is Mary Eleanor Wiggins Bowers, who is also not a Lawton by birth nor marriage, but knows ALL the local history and people. She gave a little introduction before she invited us into the museum, which is thru the door behind her on your left.

More Lawton descendants

The gentleman in the center of the photo is Edward Daugherty, a famous landscape architect. He's 84 and he *drove* to the reunion.

More (not so) famous Lawton descendants.

More fun LawtonFest photos soon!  Must. sleep. now.  These Lawtons know how to throw a party, cemetery-style.

Old Letter from Ruth Packett to Ruth Rawls, July 1976

June 9, 2011

I attended college from 1974-1978.  The school was about 1 ½ hours from where I was born and grew up.  I was one of those odd birds who didn’t want to spend the rest of their life in the town they were born in.  My goal in high school was to live in a big city and work for a big corporation.  I imagined that I would have a position of importance, and that people would come to me with a dilemma, and I would resolve the issue, and everyone would live happily ever after.  I even knew what I would be wearing in my imaginary problem-solving world.  I’d have on a crisp, white long-sleeved blouse with the sleeves turned up at the cuffs in order to better expose my golden bangle bracelets, in addition to my crisp tailored trousers.  I had curly shoulder-length hair with a left-hand part, and I’d push back my hair behind my ears.  So you can understand that I didn’t particularly want to go home at school breaks since I was planning on becoming a business professional, and basically I was bored in my small-town home.

I spent the summer of 1976 at college taking classes and working for the university in the housing department.  I received this letter from my mother’s mother, who at the time was still living in her own home at the unbelievable age of 82.  Within a few short years after writing this letter to me, she would be in a nursing home.

*****

(July 1976)

Dear Ruth,

Thanks for my letter it was real good (to) get it.  I hope you are alright and doing well in school.  I am much better now but I have had a ruff time  Oh boy is it hot here.  I have not heard from your mother this morning but I guess she is alright I hope so any way.  I am not doing much work in the house now  Just what I have to.  Well honey I must close  My hands are not doing to good  I hope you can read this.  Thanks again for my letter  I was so glad to get it.  Maby next time I can right more. 

Much love,

Nanny P.

Take Two, They’re Small

June 2, 2011

No really.  Please, take two.

Cats, that is.

Last week I released Ozzie, Dennis, and Carrie at the feral cat feeding station.  First was Ozzie.  He tiptoed cautiously away, and I watched him head through the woods in the direction of the main road.  I figured that I’d go in search of him after releasing the other two, all the while realizing that he might cross the road and head into the fields beyond.  Dennis, released next, hung around the station and brushed up against the fence like he had lived his whole life for this moment.  Carrie investigated everything, sniffing thoroughly until she was satisfied with the way that things smelled. 

This was a whole new chapter in cat release for me.  These cats were not feral, merely deemed unadoptable by local standards.  They had all been at the shelter for months.  Could they fit in as outdoor cats living in the woods and fields?  Ozzie was a brat who liked to jump on a person’s shoulders after taking a running start up their body.  Dennis was tall, rangy, gangly, and had a sour expression (but don’t judge a cat by its cover).  Carrie was ordinary, just ordinarily plain. 

After opening the crate doors and letting all the cats out, one at a time, I went in search of Ozzie.  He was gone, just gone.  By the time I got back to the cat station, big bad Dennis the Menace was gone.  So was Carrie.  Then I heard a mew, and Dennis came crawling out from under the watering station.  So at least it looked like one might hang around. 

The next morning when I walked outside the RV, I heard insistent meowing.  It was Ozzie.  He had figured out how to get inside the fence, and had stationed himself close to the RV.  He wasn’t sure about the dogs, but he was sure that he was hungry.  I trusted that he would watch the other cats and go to the feeding station in the shed. 

I went into the woods to check the level of food in the feeders, and Dennis was gone.  Carrie had not returned, unless she came during the night.  It looked like one out of three was inside the fence to stay, which was not the way I wanted it to play out, because that would make way too many cats:  Sylvia, Cali, Georgia, Jackie, and Ozzie, although Jackie had recently adopted some weird reclusive personality traits and was living in the loft in the shed and only coming down for food, water, and calls of nature. 

A few mornings later, I went outside the RV and heard meowing – overhead.  It looks like Ozzie’s love of being high was saved for artificial high places, not trees.  He was on the awning and looked like he’d spent the night there. 

 

 

Ozzie, the fearless jungle cat.

 

Ozzie: "Purr. I mean, *RAWR*!

 

"Think I'll go this way."

 

"Or not."

 

 

"Coffee ready yet?"

 

 

A happy, contented cat carries its tail in the air. This cat is waaaaay contented.

Then yesterday evening at dusk, as I went through the side gate on the way to the cat station, I heard a cat, or what I thought was a cat, off in the woods in the underbrush.  “Brrh”.  I said, “Who’s there?”  “Brrrh”, answered the beast and then came crashing through the underbrush.  I hoped it was a cat.  And then an enormous orange cat sprang out at me.  “Dennis!”  Later when I went outside to feed the dogs, there was an unidentified cat INSIDE the fence near the front gate.  Dennis again.  Mr. Packett chased him about, and Dennis found his way outside the fence.

This morning on the way to the cat station, Dennis was still in the woods outside the gate.  Ozzie, Cali, and Sylvia weren’t too sure what to make of it.

 

 

So Dennis decided to join the fun, and he climbed the gate, up and over and inside the fence.  Mr. Packett happily chased him up a tree. 

Now when I’m walking about, the cats want to get in my way, and they brush around my legs like cats in a storybook.  When I was in 1st grade, Crazy Cat Woman was not my career choice.  Crazy, yes.  Cat woman, no.