Our Native American Heritage–A Follow On

 My post  just a few days ago focused on our native american heritage and the tribes who resided along the borders of the Chesapeake Bay.

Pocahontas

First Lady Edith Bolling Galt Wilson

In my April 24, 2014 and December 3, 2012 posts we looked at our paternal Pocahontas ancestry–First Lady Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, and our lineage to Pocahontas through the ancient aristocratic Bolling family.  

 

John Carpenter Ford

My post of January 12, 2013, mentioned my maternal great grandfather, John Carpenter Ford, from Wake County, Raleigh, North Carolina and his native american wife Mary Susan Morris.  The irony of their relationship–he was the next to last survivor of the various Indian Wars that spanned 1865-1890–and four years after those wars ended we found them together in Washington, DC, where they married on September 15, 1894.

Once again, social media–this time, LinkedIn, helped me tie these people together and to understand the depth and the breadth of our Native American legacy across North America.  Within a discussion on LinkedIn was an article with maps by Aaron Carapella, a self-taught mapmaker in Warner, OK.  The maps he designed pinpoints the locations and original names of hundreds of American Indian nations before their first contacts with Europeans.   Pictures of the maps and the article about Carapellaand our Native American Tribes by Hans Lo Wang of NPR follow:

 The Map Of Native American Tribes You’ve Never Seen Before

by June 24, 2014 4:03 PM ET

Aaron Carapella, a self-taught mapmaker in Warner, Okla., has designed a map of Native American tribes showing their locations before first contact with Europeans.

Hansi Lo Wang/NPR

Finding an address on a map can be taken for granted in the age of GPS and smartphones. But centuries of forced relocation, disease and genocide have made it difficult to find where many Native American tribes once lived.

Aaron Carapella, a self-taught mapmaker in Warner, Okla., has pinpointed the locations and original names of hundreds of American Indian nations before their first contact with Europeans.

As a teenager, Carapella says he could never get his hands on a continental U.S. map like this, depicting more than 600 tribes — many now forgotten and lost to history. Now, the 34-year-old designs and sells maps as large as 3 by 4 feet with the names of tribes hovering over land they once occupied.

Carapella has designed maps of Canada and the continental U.S. showing the original locations and names of Native American tribes. View the full map (PDF).

Carapella has designed maps of Canada and the continental U.S. showing the original locations and names of Native American tribes. View the full map (PDF).

Courtesy of Aaron Carapella

“I think a lot of people get blown away by, ‘Wow, there were a lot of tribes, and they covered the whole country!’ You know, this is Indian land,” says Carapella, who calls himself a “mixed-blood Cherokee” and lives in a ranch house within the jurisdiction of the Cherokee Nation.

For more than a decade, he consulted history books and library archives, called up tribal members and visited reservations as part of research for his map project, which began as pencil-marked poster boards on his bedroom wall. So far, he has designed maps of the continental U.S., Canada and Mexico. A map of Alaska is currently in the works.

What makes Carapella’s maps distinctive is their display of both the original and commonly known names of Native American tribes, according to Doug Herman, senior geographer at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

This map of Mexico features both the original and commonly known names of some indigenous nations. View the full map (PDF).

This map of Mexico features both the original and commonly known names of some indigenous nations. View the full map (PDF).

Courtesy of Aaron Carapella

“You can look at [Carapella's] map, and you can sort of get it immediately,” Herman says. “This is Indian Country, and it’s not the Indian Country that I thought it was because all these names are different.”

He adds that some Native American groups got stuck with names chosen arbitrarily by European settlers. They were often derogatory names other tribes used to describe their rivals. For example, “Comanche” is derived from a word in Ute meaning “anyone who wants to fight me all the time,” according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

“It’s like having a map of North America where the United States is labeled ‘gringos’ and Mexico is labeled ‘wetbacks,’ ” Herman says. “Naming is an exercise in power. Whether you’re naming places or naming peoples, you are therefore asserting a power of sort of establishing what is reality and what is not.”

Look at a map of Native American territory today, and you’ll see tiny islands of reservation and trust land engulfed by acres upon acres ceded by treaty or taken by force. Carapella’s maps serve as a reminder that the population of the American countryside stretches back long before 1776 and 1492.

Carapella describes himself as a former “radical youngster” who used to lead protests against Columbus Day observances and supported other Native American causes. He says he now sees his mapmaking as another way to change perceptions in the U.S.

“This isn’t really a protest,” he explains. “But it’s a way to convey the truth in a different way.”

Take a closer look at Aaron Carapella’s map of the continental U.S. and Canada and his map of Mexico. He sells prints on his website.

The Chesapeake Bay and Our Native American Heritage

Col Robert Bolling

9th Paternal Great Grandfather, Colonel Robert Thomas Bolling

This post focuses on our native american heritage who resided along the borders of the Chesapeake Bay.  Digressing just a little into my lineage, my paternal Bolling ancestors were among the first in Jamestown and my maternal Lathrop ancestors the first in New England.  My ninth great grandfather, Colonel Robert Bolling married Pocahontas’ granddaughter, Jane Poythress Rolfe, daughter of Thomas Powhatan Rolfe (the only child of Pocahontas [daughter of Powhatan and Chief of the Algonquian Nation] and John Rolfe) and his wife, Jane Poythress.

I am a native born Southern Marylander (the state named for the English Queen Henrietta Maria [1609-1669], wife of Charles I of England, and daughter of Henry IV of France).

King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria

King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria

I descend primarily from European emigrants (Great Britain [67%], Ireland [10%], and Western Europe [7%]), who helped found Jamestown, Virginia in 1607–America’s first permanent English Colony.  So, coming from Maryland and having ancient aristocratic ancestors who helped form the Commonwealth of Virginia (two states that border the Chesapeake Bay) as well as native american heritage I always have had a natural curiosity about the origin of the Chesapeake, its name,  and inhabitants along its borders.

The Chesapeake Bay At A Glance

Pictured below is the earliest map to show the existence of the Chesapeake Bay, called “Baya de Santa Maria.” Juan Vespucci was the royal pilot of Spain’s hydrographic office and nephew of Amerigo Vespucci, after whom North and South America are named. The information on this map came from a 1525 voyage by Pedro de Quexos.

Chesapeake Bay Map

Map of the World, Juan Vespucci, Seville Spain,1526

Because the Chesapeake Bay has been so important to the history of Maryland, charts have played a central role from the 17th Century forward.

From the Maryland State Archives website, I gleaned the following key points about the Chesapeake:

  • In North America, the Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary, a semi-enclosed coastal body of water with a free connection to the open sea.
  • Some 35 million years ago, a bolide, an object similar to a comet or asteroid, struck the present-day Delmarva Peninsula, creating a 55-mile-wide crater. The depression created by the crater changed the course of rivers and determined the location of the Chesapeake Bay.
  • The Bay, as we know it today, was created about 10,000 years ago when melting glaciers flooded the Susquehanna River Valley.
  • Today, fresh water from land drainage measurably dilutes seawater within the Bay. For ocean-going ships, the Bay is navigable with two outlets to the Atlantic Ocean: north through the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal in Cecil County, and south through the mouth of the Bay between the Virginia capes.
  • Native Americans living along its shores gave the Bay an Algonquian name. Chesepiook, meaning “great shell-fish bay,” was used to signify the abundance of Bay crabs, oysters, and clams.
  • In June 1608, Captain John Smith led two voyages throughout the Chesapeake Bay, and in its midst European settlers first landed at St. Clement’s Island, Maryland, in 1634.
  • Through the lower portion of the Bay, pirates settled and attacked ships off the coast. And, at its southernmost reaches during the Civil War, the first ironclads, the Confederate Merrimac and the Union’s Monitor, fought to a draw near Hampton Roads, Virginia, in March 1862.
  • Many shipwrecks, remains of vessels sunk by natural forces, human error, or attack, lie deep under the Chesapeake Bay.

Native American Ancestors before the Europeans Arrived

Estimates vary, but according to the National Park Service’s Chesapeake Bay Office which coordinates partnerships to develop and sustain national historic trails, it is likely that 50,000 or more people called the Chesapeake region home before the English arrived. Their ancestors had lived here for 40,000 generations—at least 10,000 years—so the ways of life of the native people were highly adapted to the geographic environment. Their economic, cultural, social, political, and spiritual systems were well established and sophisticated.

The First People of the Chesapeake

Chesepians were the Native American inhabitants of the area now known as South Hampton Roads in Virginia during the Woodland Period (1000 BCE to 1000 CE), and later prior to the arrival of the English settlers in 1607. They occupied an area which is now the Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach areas. They were divided into five provinces or kingdoms: Weapemiooc, Chawanook, Secotan, Pomouic and Newsiooc, each ruled by a king or chief. To their west were the members of the Nansemond tribe.

The main village of the Chesepians was called Skicoak, in the present independent city of Norfolk. The Chesepians also had two other towns (or villages), Apasus and Chesepioc, both near the Chesapeake Bay in what is now Virginia Beach. Of these, it is known that Chesepioc was located in the present Great Neck area. Archaeologists and other persons have found numerous Native American artifacts, such as arrowheads, stone axes, pottery, beads, and skeletons in Great Neck Point.

Politically, the area was dominated by the Virginia Peninsula-based Powhatan Confederacy. Although the Chesepians belonged to the same eastern-Algonquian speaking linguistic group as members of the Powhatan Confederacy across Hampton Roads, the archaeological evidence suggests that the original Chesepians belonged to another group, the Carolina Algonquian. Powhatan, whose real name was Wahunsunacock, was the most powerful chieftain in the Chesapeake Bay area, dominating more than 30 Algonquin-speaking tribes. The Chesepians did not belong to Powhatan’s alliance, but instead defied him.

As English writer, William Strachey (1572-1621) documents in his book The Sea Venture, the “Chesapeake People” were murdered before our European ancestors arrived.

History books tell us that in 1609 Strachey, on the ship Sea Venture, headed to Virginia looking for adventure. A hurricane caused the Sea Venture to run aground at Bermuda. In The Sea Venture he writes of his ten-month long struggle for survival. (William Shakespeare used Strachey’s  The Sea Venture book as the basis for his play The Tempest.)

The castaways, while marooned on Bermuda, built boats from their wreckage and eventually made it to Virginia and Strachey then began documenting life in the new colony. Because of his fascination with the Native American inhabitants he also compiled a dictionary of Algonquin language. (The only other known record of Algonquin words was made by John Smith.)

In talking with the natives Strachey discovered information about them that few Europeans had learned. The Indians told him about the remarkable Chesapeake tribe.

He learned that a few years before the arrival of Europeans, the Algonquin priests informed Chief Powhatan that a great danger would arise from the shores of the Chesapeake Bay– so dire that it would destroy their empire, civilization and ways of life. They told him his Confederacy of 30 tribes would be gone, their villages burned, and all of his people dead.

The Algonquin priests repeatedly pressed Powhatan to take action against this small peaceful tribe of 300-400 Chesapeakes who lived near the mouth of the Bay.  At first Powhatan resisted because his priests could not give him specifics. Unfortunately for the Chesapeake Indians, Powhatan’s priests’ visions were persistent and became more compelling. And, sometime around 1606 the Powhatans murdered the entire Chesapeake tribe.

On returning to England in 1611 Strachey published his book, The Historie of Travaile Into Virginia Britannia where he described the stories he heard from the Powhatans about their destruction of the Chesapeake (Chessiopeians) tribe:

“...not long since that his priests told him how that from the Cheaspeack Bay a nation should arise which should dissolve and give end to his empire, for which, not many yeares since (perplext with this divelish oracle, an divers understanding thereof), according to the ancyent and gentile customs, he destroyed and put to sword all such who might lye under any doubtful construccion of the said prophesie, as all the inhabitants, the wereoance and his subjects of the province, and so remaine all of the Chessiopeians at this daye, and for this cause, extinct.

During the 1970s and ’80s, archaeologists discovered the remains of 64 Chesapeake Indians during development in the Great Neck area of Virginia Beach. Those bones dated to between 800 B.C. and A.D. 1600.  In April 1997, after decades of trying to recover these Native American remains, the Nansemonds’ reburied them near the English’s First Landing site in Virginia.

And yet today, we still can see evidence of our native american roots in our counties and place names along the Chesapeake regions.  We live in Calvert County that was originally established as Patuxent County in 1654 (named after the Patuxent people) and note that its name was changed to Calvert County after Lord Calvert of Baltimore in 1658.  Just down the road from us a piece is Chesapeake Beach, named for the Chesapeake people who were an Algonquian-speaking tribe who resided in Virginia.  And fortunately for us, there are many more words and names that remain as they were known centuries ago.

About Algonquian-Speaking Tribes

In the tables below, you will see references to “Algonquian-speaking tribes.”  The word Algonquian (or Algonkian) is a general linguistic/anthropological term used to refer to not only the small Algonquin tribe but dozens of distinct Native American tribes who speak languages that are related to each other.

  Native American County Names

Native County Names

  Native American Villages, Towns, and Cities Names

Native Place Names

From www.ethnologue.com (the comprehensive reference site that catalogs all the known living languages [7,106] in the world today), I discovered the various tribes that made up the Algonquian-speaking confederacy and are included in the Algic Family language classification system–one of the largest indigenous language families of North America. It consists of 44 languages, the overwhelming majority of which (42 languages) belong to the Algonquian branch. The bulleted list below shows the Alqonquian-speaking tribes and their countries of origin (Canada or the United States).  I have highlighted in green below the 12 Eastern Alngoquian-speaking tribes who resided in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia along the Chesapeake Bay borders:

Algic (42)

- Ritwan (2)

Many Algonquian languages are extremely endangered today. Only a handful of them have a significant number of speakers. Of the original 42 Algic languages, only about 27 of them are used today. The largest group is Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi with 104,000 speakers, while the largest single language is Ojibwa with some 35,000 speakers. Ten languages are already extinct, and many are on the verge of extinction. Most surviving languages are spoken by older adults who are not passing their language on to their children.

Below the double lines, I included a more complete Chesapeake Bay History Timeline that spans (according to the scientists) 35 Million Years!



A Chesapeake Bay History Timeline as Created by Chesapeakebay.net

35 Million Years Ago
35 Million Years Ago

Image courtesy Nicolle Rager-Fuller/NSF

  • A rare bolide (a comet- or asteroid-like object) hits what is now the lower tip of the Delmarva Peninsula, creating a 55-mile-wide crater. This crater influences the shape of the region’s rivers and determines the eventual location of the Chesapeake Bay. As sea levels fluctuate over the next several million years, the area that is now the Bay alternates between dry land and shallow coastal sea.
10 to 2 Million Years Ago
10 to 2 Million Years Ago

Image courtesy Wing-Chi Poon/Wikimedia Commons

  • A series of ice ages locks ocean water in massive glaciers. The mid-Atlantic coastline extends 180 miles farther than its current location.
  • In warmer periods, a glacier melts into the headwaters of the Susquehanna River, carving a valley through Pennsylvania and pushing sediment into the Coastal Plain. In colder periods, conifer forests attract deer, bears and birds to the region.
18,000 Years Ago
18,000 Years Ago

Image courtesy Twelvex/Flickr

  • Glacial sheets from the most recent Ice Age begin to retreat. The region’s climate begins to warm.
15,000 Years Ago
15,000 Years Ago

Image courtesy Nicolas T/Flickr

  • As the climate continues to warm, a landscape that was once dominated by conifers begins to change. Oak, maple, hickory and other hardwood species appear.
11,500 Years Ago
11,500 Years Ago

Image courtesy Ficusdesk/Flickr

  • Paleo-Indian people arrive in the region. Over the next thousand years, the climate becomes increasingly humid and the landscape gives way to hardwood forests and coastal wetlands. Paleo-Indians modify their hunting technology accordingly, replacing Clovis points with spear-throwing devices that can be launched over expansive terrain.
10,000 to 7,000 Years Ago
10,000 to 7,000 Years Ago

Image courtesy Dru!/Flickr

  • Ice sheets and glaciers continue to melt, flooding the Susquehanna, Potomac, James and York rivers. Water pours into the Atlantic Ocean and sea levels rise. The Chesapeake Bay’s outline begins to form.
  • Mammoths, giant beavers and other Ice Age creatures are now extinct.
5,000 Years Ago

5,000 Years Ago

  • Temperatures continue to rise. A mixed deciduous forest dominates the landscape. Acorns and other nuts become a key food source.
  • Diverse fish and shellfish populations are abundant in the region’s rivers. The first oysters colonize the Bay.
2,000 Years Ago
2,000 Years Ago

Image courtesy AerialOutline/Flickr

  • The Chesapeake Bay’s outline now resembles its current form.
  • Native American populations continue to develop more sophisticated hunting methods, including the bow and arrow.
  • The Bay’s waters are dominated by oysters, clams and fish, like bass and shad. Shellfish becomes an increasingly important food source.
1,000 Years Ago
1,000 Years Ago

Image courtesy brandoncripps/Flickr

  • Native Americans clear forests to create farmland. A reliance on agricultural crops like corn, squash, beans and tobacco leads to the creation of more permanent town villages.
1,000

Image courtesy brandoncripps/Flickr

  • The Chesapeake Bay region is home to a few thousand humans and many plants and animals, including 200 species of fish, 300 species of birds and 120 species of mammals
1500

1500

  • The Native American population reaches 24,000.
1524
1524

Image courtesy F. Allegrini/Flickr

Italian Captain Giovanni da Verrazano is the first recorded European to enter the Chesapeake Bay.

1561
1561

Image courtesy barxtux/Flickr

  • While exploring tidewater Virginia, Spanish conquistadors capture a young Native American. They name him Don Luis and bring back to Spain, where he receives a formal education.
1570

1570

  • Don Luis returns to the Chesapeake region as a guide and interpreter with the St. Mary’s Mission, a small group of Spanish Jesuits seeking to establish a religious camp. Don Luis quickly abandons the group and returns to his people. Months later, he leads a massacre against the St. Mary’s Mission, killing all but a young servant boy.
1607
1607

Image courtesy Jay I. Kislak Foundation

  • An expedition funded by The Virginia Company of London arrives in the Chesapeake Bay. They establish the first permanent English settlement in North America in Jamestown, Virginia.
1608
1608

Image courtesy National Park Service

  • Captain John Smith sets off on the first of his two voyages around the Chesapeake Bay. In his journal, he records detailed descriptions of his surroundings. In the years to follow, he draws an elaborate and remarkably accurate map of the Bay and its rivers.
1650s
1650s

Image courtesy Trevor Haldenby/Flickr

  • The tobacco industry is booming in the lower Chesapeake colonies.
  • Colonists clear land for agriculture and use hook-and-line to catch fish in the Bay’s shallow waters.
  • War and disease take their toll on Native Americans, whose population shrinks to 2,400—just 10 percent of the size it was when Europeans first arrived in the region.
1680s
1680s

Image courtesy Steve and Sara/Flickr

  • Virginia lawmakers pass legislation to prevent wasteful fishing practices on the Rappahannock River.
  • Colonists begin using hand tongs to harvest oysters.
1700s
1700s

Image courtesy Claude Moore Colonial Farm

  • English settlements grow rapidly as agriculture expands. The first signs of environmental degradation occur.
  • A patchwork of rural farming and fishing communities develops on the western and eastern shores of the Chesapeake Bay.
1750s
1750s

Image courtesy SoilScience

  • Colonists strip 20 to 30 percent of the region’s forests for settlements. As a result, shipping ports begin to fill with eroded sediment, becoming too shallow for boats to navigate.
  • Commercial fishing for species like shad and herring begins.
1770s
1770s

Image courtesy American Art Museum/Flickr

  • The colonial population exceeds 700,000.
  • Farmers begin to use plows extensively, starting a cycle of permanent tillage that prevents reforestation and leads to massive soil erosion.
1781
1781

Image courtesy John Trumbull/Wikimedia Commons

  • After eight years of fighting, the Revolutionary War ends when British Lord Charles Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, Virginia.
  • The former British colonies are on the verge of forming a new, unified nation. The Chesapeake Bay region will come to serve as a key economic and political center.
1785
1785

Image courtesy NCinDC/Flickr

  • Virginia and Maryland sign the Mount Vernon Compact, also known as the Compact of 1785. Virginia agrees to give vessels bound for Maryland free passage at the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay. In return, Maryland gives citizens of both states the right to fish in the Potomac River.
1800s

1800s

  • Oyster harvests increase dramatically.
  • New England fishermen travel to the Chesapeake Bay with a device that scoops hundreds of thousands of oysters from their beds. Virginia and Maryland eventually ban this equipment.
  • Maryland legislation states that only Maryland citizens can transport oysters in the state’s waters.
1820s
1820s

Image courtesy JRiver/Flickr)

  • Railroads, canals and steamboats offer new transportation options, benefiting the coal, steel and oyster industries.
1829
1829

Image courtesy Anthony Bley/Wikimedia Commons

  • The 14-mile Chesapeake and Delaware Canal is built, linking the Chesapeake Bay with Delaware Bay and opening undeveloped land to agriculture and the harvest of timber.
1840s
1840s

Image courtesy calwest/Flickr

  • Half of the region’s forests have been cleared for agriculture, timber and fuel.
  • The first imported fertilizers are used after ships bring bird guano from Caribbean rookeries and nitrate deposits from the Chilean coast.
1850s
1850s

Image courtesy swamibu/Flickr

  • Railroads, canals and steamboats have allowed the oyster market to reach consumers outside of the Chesapeake region.
  • The number of oysters harvested from the Bay has doubled in the last 10 years, from 700,000 bushels in 1839 to more than 1.5 million in the 1850s.
1860s
1860s

Image courtesy Wayan Vota/Flickr

  • Water supply systems are constructed to transport drinking water to Baltimore and the District of Columbia.
  • Sewer systems are built to send waste and runoff into the rivers that flow into the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Brick, stone, iron and steel replace wood as the region’s source of heat, light and building material.
1880s
1880s

Image courtesy University of Delaware Library/Flickr

  • Wooden skipjacks—or vessels that are adapted to sail on Chesapeake Bay waters—are built in response to increased demand for oysters.
  • Twenty million bushels of oysters are harvested from the Bay each year.
1890s
1890s

Image courtesy Nick Humphries/Flickr

  • Sixty to 80 percent of the forests along the Baltimore-Washington corridor have been cleared for agriculture and development.
  • Coal-burning industries spew smoke into the air and send pollutants into the region’s rivers.
  • The construction of highways links cities and suburbs.
1900s
1900s

Image courtesy accent on ecelectic/Flickr

  • The replacement of railroad ties removes an estimated 15 to 20 million acres of eastern forests.
  • A dramatic drop in oyster populations starts to affect Chesapeake Bay health, and state and federal laws move to control the industry.
  • Scientists begin questioning the impact of human behavior on the Bay.
1910s
1910s

Image courtesy ghbrett/Flickr

  • A District of Columbia law restricts the height of city buildings, causing development to expand outward.
  • Baltimore installs separate wastewater and stormwater systems to filter water before it flows into the Chesapeake Bay.
  • The Migratory Bird Treaty Act establishes hunting seasons and limits on international migratory waterfowl.
1920s
1920s

Image courtesy Cyber Insket/Flickr

  • Swamps and marshes are drained to create room for waste dumps and new development.
  • The Conowingo Hydroelectric Generating Station, also known as the Conowingo Dam, is built at the mouth of the Susquehanna River. Upon its completion, it is the second largest hydroelectric power plant in the United States.
1930s
1930s

Image courtesy Beaverton Historical Society/Flickr

  • The Great Depression spurs public works projects that repair and expand the region’s roads, bridges, parks and electrical services into rural areas, encouraging population growth.
  • An interstate conference on the Chesapeake Bay recommends treating the Bay as a single resource unit rather than separate bodies of water.
1940s
1940s

Image courtesy Virginia Institute of Marine Science

  • The “suburb” is born.
  • People begin to use synthetic fertilizers on their lawns and fields, polluting local waterways. Maryland and Virginia create water pollution control agencies.
  • The fishing industry increases its range and mobility, causing local fish populations to decline.
  • Dermo, a disease that kills oysters, is discovered in the Chesapeake Bay.
1950s
1950s

Image courtesy Radio Rover/Flickr

  • The 4.2-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge is built, opening Maryland’s Eastern Shore to development.
  • Across the region, developers drain and fill wetlands to build new houses, stores and office buildings.
  • MSX, a disease that kills oysters, is found in the lower Chesapeake Bay.
1960s
1960s

Image courtesy Barabara Rich/Flickr

  • The 17.4-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel opens, connecting Virginia Beach with Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
  • Interstates 66, 70, 83, 95, 270, 495 and 695 are completed. The personal car has become the choice mode of transportation for Americans.
1963
1963

Image courtesy Lossanjose/Flickr

  • The Clean Air Act is passed in an effort to lower air pollution.
1967
1967

Image courtesy David Clow/Flickr

1970s

1970s

1972
1972

Image courtesy Mr. T in DC/Flickr

  • The Clean Water Act is passed, establishing water quality standards and limiting the amount and kind of pollutants that can enter rivers, streams and other waterways.
1973
1973

Image courtesy Pulpolux/Flickr

  • U.S. Senator Charles Mathias tours the Chesapeake Bay shoreline and sponsors legislation that prompts the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a study on the Bay’s health. This marks the first time that the Bay’s degrading health is brought to the public’s attention.
  • The Endangered Species Act is passed, protecting endangered species and the ecosystems on which they depend.
1980s

1980s

  • The Chesapeake Bay Commission, a tri-state legislative body that represents Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania, is established to coordinate policy across state lines.
  • The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay begins a first-of-its-kind program that teaches citizen volunteers how to monitor water quality.
1983

1983

  • The first Chesapeake Bay Agreement is signed by Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania; the District of Columbia; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and the Chesapeake Bay Commission. The Chesapeake Bay Program is established and the Chesapeake Executive Council is named the chief policy-making authority in the watershed.
1984

1984

  • Maryland passes the Critical Area Act to better manage continued growth. The law leads to the formation of the Maryland Nontidal Wetlands Protection Program, which works to conserve, create and monitor nontidal wetlands, slowing the loss of this critical ecosystem.
1985

1985

  • Six years after Congress passes the Emergency Striped Bass Act, Maryland imposes a moratorium on striped bass fishing. Virginia soon follows suit, in hopes that a closed fishery will help the species recover from harvest and pollution pressures.
  • A Maryland ban on phosphate-containing laundry detergent reduces the amount of phosphorous flowing from wastewater treatment plants into the Chesapeake Bay.
1987

1987

  • The 1987 Chesapeake Bay Agreement sets the first ever numeric goals to reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, aiming to lower the nitrogen and phosphorous entering the Bay by 40 percent by the year 2000.
1988

1988

  • Virginia passes the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, guiding local governments to address the environmental impacts of development and pushing communities to better manage urban and suburban growth.
  • Maryland State Senator Bernie Fowler’s Patuxent River Wade-In establishes the “sneaker index” as a measure of Bay health, boosting public interest in water quality.
1989

1989

  • Maryland and Virginia lift the ban on striped bass fishing. The fish is declared a recovered species six years later.
1990s
1990s

Image courtesy Airliners.net

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Waters Program acknowledges that air pollution contributes to water pollution.
  • The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay begins to host week-long paddling trips down some of the watershed’s biggest rivers.
  • The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration begins selling“Treasure the Chesapeake” license plates, which support the Chesapeake Bay Trust.
1992
1992

Image courtesy spike55151/Flickr

  • Amendments are made to the 1987 Chesapeake Bay Agreement that aim to attack nutrients at their source: upstream tributaries that flow into the Chesapeake Bay.
  • The Clean Vessel Act establishes a grant program to fund the construction of pumpout stations at marinas across the watershed, presenting a viable alternative to the overboard disposal of sewage.
1993

1993

  • A law passed in Pennsylvania requires certain farmers to develop and implement nutrient management plans, limiting the amount of nitrogen and phosphorous that can run off of farms and into local waterways. In 1994, Virginia follows suit. In 1998, Maryland enacts similar legislation.
1994

1994

  • The Bay Program’s Riparian Forest Buffer Panel develops ground-breaking goals for the conservation and restoration of streamside forests. Federal and state incentive programs encourage landowners to install forest buffers on their properties.
1995
1995

Image courtesy adactio/Flick

  • The Local Government Partnership Initiative is signed to provide assistance to the 1,650 local governments in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
1996

1996

  • Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant begins to use nutrient removal technology to lower the amount of nitrogen it sends into the Potomac River and improve water quality.
  • Federal, state and private partners agree to restore Poplar Island using sand and sediment dredged up from the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay.
1997

1997

  • The Virginia Water Quality Improvement Act establishes a state fund that will support the prevention, reduction and control of nutrient pollution.
  • Maryland passes a package of legislation to combat suburban sprawl and direct smart growth. The initiative is praised as an innovative way to preserve natural resources and pursue sustainable development.
1998
1998

Image courtesy Joachim S. Muller/Flickr

  • The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission closes Atlantic sturgeon fishing along the East Coast. The 40-year ban is the longest fishing moratorium on record.
  • The Maryland Water Quality Improvement Act calls for the addition of a phosphorous-reducing enzyme to poultry feed, lowering nutrient levels in poultry litter.
1999

1999

  • The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation establishes the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund to help communities restore polluted rivers and streams. The fund awards $8 to $12 million each year to on-the-ground conservation.
  • The Virginia Land Conservation Act establishes a state tax credit to reward those who donate land or easements for conservation.
2000
2000

Image courtesy Brian Talbot/Flickr

  • Maryland records its lowest blue crab harvest: 20.2 million pounds.
  • Chesapeake 2000 is signed, establishing more than 100 goals to reduce pollution and restore habitats, protect living resources and promote sound land use, and engage the public in restoration.
  • The National Park Service and its partners launch the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Water Trails Network to connect people with the Bay’s places and stories.
2002

2002

  • More than 2,800 miles of forest buffers have been restored in the watershed, meeting the Bay Program’s goal for forest buffer restoration eight years ahead of schedule.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration establishes the Bay Watershed Education and Training program to fund the delivery of Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences and advance environmental education in the region.
2003

2003

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issues water quality criteria for the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries.
  • Representatives from the Bay’s headwater states join the Chesapeake Executive Council.
  • The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Blue Ribbon Panel is created to find new financing opportunities for restoration work, and the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network is established to bring grantmakers together.
2005

2005

  • The Chesapeake Executive Council adopts an animal manure management strategy to reduce nutrient pollution from livestock operations.
2006
2006

Image courtesy Jane Thomas/IAN Image Library

  • The Chesapeake Executive Council adopts new directives to expand forest cover, reduce the amount of phosphorus in lawn fertilizers and increase funding for on-farm conservation programs.
  • The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail is designated.
  • The Living Shorelines Summit furthers research on the use of living shorelines to control erosion.
2007

2007

  • The Chesapeake Executive Council signs the Forest Conservation Initiative, committing to conserve 695,000 acres of forests by 2020.
  • The Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System (CBIBS) is launched to report real-time environmental data.
  • BayStat is launched to track restoration progress.
  • The Bay blue crab harvest of 44.2 million pounds is one of the lowest recorded since 1945.
2008

2008

  • Maryland, Virginia and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission issue emergency regulations on the harvest of blue crabs to help the species recover. The Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab fishery is declared a federal disaster.
  • The 2008 Farm Bill dedicates more than $180 million over the course of four years to agricultural conservation.
  • The invasive zebra mussel is found in the Maryland portion of the Susquehanna River.
2009

2009

  • President Obama signs an executive order that calls on the federal government to renew the effort to protect and restore the watershed.
  • The Chesapeake Executive Council sets two-year milestones to accelerate restoration and increase accountability.
  • Annapolis becomes the first jurisdiction in the watershed to ban phosphorous in lawn fertilizer.
2010
2010

Image courtesy Lydiat/Flickr

  • Maryland, Virginia and New York ban phosphates in dishwasher detergent to lower phosphorous pollution in local waterways.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency establishes the Total Maximum Daily Load to limit the amount of pollutants that can enter the Chesapeake Bay.
  • The Bay Program launches ChesapeakeStat to improve communication about restoration goals, progress and funding.
2011

2011

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issues a new Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Permit to the District of Columbia. It is the first of its kind to incorporate green infrastructure into its requirements, setting a national model for stormwater management.
2012

2012

  • Harris Creek becomes the first target of the oyster restoration goals set forth in the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order: to restore oyster populations in 20 Bay tributaries by 2025. In this Choptank River tributary, existing reefs will be studied, new bars will be built and spat-on-shell will be planted.
2013
2013

Image courtesy cplong11/Flickr

  • A federal judge rules that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can set pollution limits for the Chesapeake Bay, thus upholding the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) that was challenged in court in 2011.
2014

2014

  • The Chesapeake Executive Council signs the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, which contains goals and outcomes that will guide conservation and restoration across the watershed. For the first time, the Bay’s headwater states commit to those goals that reach beyond water quality.

Help Save Portrait of Bolling Family Founder

Portrait of Robert Bolling (1646-1709), Oil on Canvas
Photo Courtesy of:  Muscarelle Museum of Art – Williamsburg, VA

Muscarelle Museum of Art: Portrait of Robert Bolling (1646-1709), oil on canvas

My 9th Paternal Great Grandfather

This portrait depicts Colonel Robert Bolling, founder of the Bolling family, one of the “First Families of Virginia”, where he became a wealthy landowner and an active participant in the political affairs of the colony.

He arrived from England in October 1660 and in 1675 married Jane Rolfe, the granddaughter of John Rolfe and Pocahontas (born Matoaka). The painting suffers from surface loss due to flaking. The varnish treatment and its discoloration obscure much detail in the painting.

The public voting component of the Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts program will conclude next week – on August 23, 2014. Until that time, the public is encouraged to visit the website www.vatop10artifacts.org and vote for their favorite items nominated by a wide range of collecting institutions – including museums, libraries, and historical societies from Virginia and Washington, DC. Additionally, the public may make donations directly to the participating organizations through the website to support conservation of the nominated artifacts.

Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts is a project of the Virginia Association of Museums and was originally funded through an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Connecting to Collections Statewide Implementation Grant. The Top 10 Endangered Artifacts Program raises awareness of the importance of conservation of our historic and cultural treasures. While it is not a grant-making effort, the program offers collecting institutions in Virginia and D.C. an opportunity to raise media and public awareness about the ongoing and expensive care of collections.

10,000 votes have been cast already by art lovers, history buffs, and fans of museums and historic houses from around the country. From a Kodak camera collection spanning from 1899 to 1977 to a 300 year old East India Company Atlas of Japan to a Pamunkey Chief’s Regalia, this year’s competition features 36 fascinating items – part of our collective past and culture – that are all worthy of conservation.

The artifact with the most online votes will receive the People’s Choice Award. The overall voting will be taken into consideration by an independent panel of conservators and collections care professionals who select Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts for 2014. The “Top 10″ Honorees for 2014 will be announced on September 9, 2014.

Please visit www.vatop10artifacts.org for updated information and a list of nominees.

Happy 75th Anniversary to The Wizard of Oz Movie

Girls Day Out

We had a girls’ day out on Saturday, August 11–my grand daughter, daughter and me (+1 grandson), to celebrate my millennial grand daughter’s 14th birthday.  While having lunch, I asked them to name a film or films that they had watched three times or more.  Naturally, the Wizard of Oz and its amazing technicolor, graphics, and special effects of 75 years ago was the major topic of discussion. Our conversation then flowed naturally into just how many times we actually had viewed it. wizard of oz poster My daughter and I remembered our niece/cousin, Jessica, who as a toddler visiting my parents, her grandparents, on Sundays always asked to watch “the rainbow movie, grand daddy.”  And, despite being in direct competition with Sunday Night Football, grand daddy and the whole family acquiesced.  In fact, this became one of the many family traditions of getting together on Sundays at the parents’/grandparents’ home. Dad0001Dad would pull the VHS tape from the shelf–the only tape there that had not collected any dust–and he would get down on all four’s on the carpet to load the tape into the tape player.  And every time he did this, we used to laugh at him struggling to get everything perfectly loaded before starting the show.  So in addition to the seasonally broadcast versions on TV, we want to say that each member of our family in their twenties or older has probably seen The Wizard of Oz over 100 times each!

 

Primary Stars

Below, is what the Newspapers™.com ripped from historical headlines to celebrate this spectacular movie that now is 3/4’s of a century old!

The Wizard of Oz Turns 75

Wizrd of Oz theater adAugust 12 marks the 75th anniversary of the premiere of one of America’s most iconic and beloved films: The Wizard of Oz. Premiering in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, on August 12, 1939, The Wizard of Oz screened in Hollywood on the 15th and New York on the 17th, before it’s general release on the 25th. Newspaper film critics immediately loved it, calling it “a glittering, rollicking fantasy in modern idiom” and “this season’s rainbow lollipop of entertainment” that you’d “have to be pretty old and crotchety not to like.” The critics were awed by seemingly every aspect of the film, from the vibrant Technicolor, intricate costumes, and imaginative sets, to the clever songs, talented actors, and mysterious “camera magic.” One review summed it up by calling the film “the most ideal combine of color, music, dancing, spectacle, pageantry, laughs, and thrills.” More than one article mentioned the movie’s $3 million price tag, with one reviewer observing that 13 “ordinary pictures” could’ve been made for the same price. Critics almost unanimously declared The Wizard of Oz to be a perfect “all-family picture” that “successfully combin[ed] for the first time adult and juvenile appeal.” (Though at least one reviewer cautioned that parents view the film first if their young children were “subject to nightmares.”) And the film certainly did have “juvenile appeal.” Youth groups commonly held “theater parties” to attend the film together, and some children even hosted “Wizard of Oz” parties complete with yellow-brick roads and family members in character costumes. Contests to win a chance to meet the cast members were also popular for youth, especially the one hosted by Loew’s theaters in New York. Free ticket to The Wizard of Oz with purchase of dressTheaters promoted the film other ways too, holding special screenings where audience members were givenautographed cast portraits, novelty buttons, and ice cream, for example. Other businesses got in on the action by using the film to promote their merchandise—everything from fur coatsand dresses to ice cream. Despite the positive reviews, the film wasn’t originally a monetary success because its high production costs countered box-office earnings. However, a re-release to theaters in 1949 and annualtelevision broadcasts beginning in 1956 introduced The Wizard of Oz to new generations of children, transforming it into the beloved classic it is today.

The Robin Williams – A Fellow Baby Boomer

faces of robin williams

Timeline provided by “Business Insider”

Like so many others my emotions flew from disbelief, to sadness, to a true sense of personal loss–almost as though he were a greatly loved family member.  We were fellow baby boomers who experienced some of the most incredible and incredulous moments in life on this planet.  No disrespect intended, Robin had been a part of my life for so many occasions–most of them happy ones–and at times when the world needed someone to take our hearts and minds off of our enormous global and personal problems. And for me, Mr. William’s role as “Patch Adams”–the American physician who founded Gesundheit! Institute in 1971, a social activist, clown, and author who didn’t fit into conventional society– was one of my favorites.

So, when I read and related to the following blog this morning about Robin Williams, but more importantly about the people we love and this life-ripping medical illness known as depression, I felt compelled to share it with my readers, too, and re-emphasize a key-note: we need to celebrate our lives and the lives of those we love on a regular basis.

Bucket List Publications
Author:  Lesley Carter
Posted on August 11, 2014

The Worst Thing In Life – You’ll Be Missed Robin Williams

Robin WilliamsWe live in a sad world surrounded by people who are questioning themselves and the importance of their lives, gripped by depression. We need to reach out and provide positive encouragement, support, and love before it’s too late, and even then it may not be enough.

I am not immune to the stresses of life. I struggle with decisions that I’ve made, the direction that I’m taking, if I’m a good mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend…. I don’t suffer from depression, yet these stresses affect me greatly. Readers often comment on my posts and say things like “It must be nice”, “I wish it was me”, or “You are so lucky”, but this is not encouragement. Rather than making me feel good about accomplishing my dreams, most times I’m left feeling discouraged and dis-heartened, like I’m doing something wrong because I’m following my passion. How is it that the more successful I am in accomplishing my goals, the more disconnected I feel from others? Why do I feel like I have to hide my happiness to connect with people? Why is it that my posts about failure are the most popular?

Robin Williams has died. I didn’t know him personally, but he brought joy into my life. I loved his movies and his positive attitude. I assumed he was a happy man with so much to be proud of in his life. I would have loved to shake his hand and thank him for his contribution to entertainment. His smiling face and comedy brought light into the lives of others. The same can be said for a fellow bucket list blogger, Anita Mac. I read her posts with vigor and often wished for similar blogging success. She was my friend in the blogging world and I admired her adventurous spirit. Yet both of these people took their own lives because of depression. And the worse thing about depression is it’s ignorant. It’s ignorant to age, race, religion, culture, gender, and finance. Regardless of who you are, depression accepts you. It turns sunshine into rain and light into dark. It’s a mask to the world. I wish I could have done something to help them. I wish I could take away their pain. I wish people didn’t need to suffer because they feel alone. I am deeply saddened by this loss.

We can fill darkness with light. We can be a positive force in each other’s lives. I spend most of my days thinking about bucket lists and accomplishing my dreams before it’s too late. My bucket list isn’t about dying; it’s about celebrating life. We need to celebrate our lives and the lives of others on a regular basis.

Have you been a positive influence on someone’s life today?

Robin Williams said,

“I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.” – Robin Williams as Lance Clayton in World’s Greatest Dad (2009)

If you accomplish one thing today, please let it be making yourself and others feel happy and loved. No one should feel alone. Go and hug your family and tell them you love them. Encourage them. Support them. Show them love. It’s the best thing we can do all day.

100th Anniversary–Opening of the Panama Canal–August 15, 1914

If You Build It–Apparently,They Do Come!

MapWhen the 48-mile long Panama Canal was finally finished in 1914 it was described as the “eighth wonder of the world” and observers said it would have an impact akin to “shifting the nations on a map”.

And in 2014, tourism to Panama beach is booming.  Panama’s beaches have been some of the best-kept secrets in Central America for some time now. But the secret is out. There’s an influx in international tourism, especially to Panama’s Pacific coast beaches.  Big resorts are there and now offering attractive vacation packages that include white sand, sun, and easy access to airports and major roadways. Travel agencies say it looks like visits to Panama’s beaches will be a  trend that continues to grow over the next few years and beyond.  But, Panama wasn’t always a tourist resort.

And, despite their fears of yellow fever, a few of our family’s ancestors when seeking work left North America for Central America’s Panama Zone with their families in tow. There, they helped build the bridge between North and South America which also created waterway passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

020314_0005_WhatsAllThi3.jpg

Maude Johnston and John Latta Chambers in Panama

From passenger ships’ records, it appears Frank Latta Chambers and his wife Maude Johnston (my paternal great-great grand parents originally from Pennsylvania) were in Cristobal, Canal Zone, Panama, between the years 1907 and 1917. Page 3 of the Canal Recorddated May 1, 1912 shows that my great-great grand father on July 9, 1911, had completed four years of active employment on the Panama Canal.  JohnLattaChambersPoolCommittee1910And also from the Canal Record  of August 10, 1910–great-great grand father, John Latta Chambers, was appointed as one of the Gorgona Pool Room Committee. So, we can see that he did have some form of social life while in the Panama Zone area. [Gorgona is a beach town 79 km west of Panama City.]

My paternal great grandfather Frank Maynard Chambers (son of John) and his wife Lottie Taylor were also there with my grandmother, Helen Louise Chambers (b. 07/01/11), who was a young child. Frank and Lottie gave birth to another daughter while in Cristobal.  Her name was Bessie Charlotte Chambers (b. 07/26/13).  Lottie left Panama with the girls on May 27, 1914.  Unfortunately, Bessie died on July 4 of a gastrointestinal illness.   My great grandfather, Frank, returned to Culpeper, Virginia to be with his family following Bessie’s death.

My great-great grandfather, John Latta Chambers, died in Cristobal, Canal Zone, Panama on July 14, 1917 at age 56–just one month from the canal’s 3-year anniversary.The following is an article that provides a broader perspective of the Panama Canal’s History.

Article from Newspapers.com; Posted on August 1, 2014 by

Opening of the Panama Canal: August 15, 1914

Locks scheduled to close
American newspapers had been closely following every aspect of the building of the Panama Canal for 10 years. Every breakthrough and scandal was covered in detail, and hardly a week went by when the canal wasn’t making news in some way. But on the day the canal finally opened, August 15, 1914, it didn’t get the main headline—instead, it was overshadowed by news of the developing European war, which had begun just a few weeks earlier. Despite the Panama Canal’s demotion to secondary headlines, its completion was still important news, as it highlighted America’s engineering might and the country’s new place as a major player on the world stage.

An American-built Panama Canal was the pet project of President Theodore Roosevelt. In the late 1800s, the French had tried and failed to build the canal, and the whole thing ended in a major scandal. So when Roosevelt took on the canal, all eyes were on the project from the beginning.

Wallace quits job as chief engineerConstruction began in 1904, with a majority of workers coming from the West Indies. But after the initial enthusiasm abated, it quickly appeared that the American canal would go the way of the French attempt. Progress was slow and dangerous, and the threat of yellow fever terrified the workers. The first chief engineer quit after only a year, as did the second one after a year and a half. With negative press beginning to dominate coverage of the canal, Roosevelt himself visited in 1906 to improve the canal’s public image.

In 1907, work on the canal finally began to take off. Yellow fever had largely been eradicated, living conditions had improved (mainly for whites), and the railroads for removing the dirt had been finished. The year 1907 also saw the first issue of the Canal Record, the Panama Canal’s own newspaper.

First ship goes through Panama Canal
By 1913, the biggest challenge—digging the Culebra Cut through a mountain range—was completed and the locks had been built. In January 1914, the first unofficial ship sailed through the canal from ocean to ocean, and that August marked the official—if overshadowed—opening. The Panama Canal remained in American hands until the end of 1999, when control was handed over to Panama.

Learn more about the Panama Canal by searching Newspapers.com, or find news of people living and working on the canal during its construction in the Canal Record.

Coincidence, Perfect Timing, or Premonition?

Coincidence, Perfect Timing, or Premonition

I was pleasantly surprised today when visiting Facebook to see a 1970 TV clipping–in full color–through my computer screen of a portion of a Bob Hope TV Special celebrating the 4th of July.  (Note that my computer screen is bigger than our first few black and white TV’s–which by the way, were first manufactured the year I was born!)   And, I just wonder whether its posting was a coincidence, perfect timing, or a premonition on my part.  I guess we’ll never really know. But, what makes this video so very special to me is that many of the movie and TV stars appearing in it were my favorites when I was a child.  In fact, two nights ago while lying in bed during one of my sleepless modes I happened to think about the great old western movies, television series, and even the many games of cowboys and indians that so many of us baby boomers enjoyed playing with our friends and cousins. Of course in our later years we learned that historians, educators, and the media skewed the real stories to always make native americans the villains.  (Personally, I always chose to be an indian vs. the cowboy.)

Our Young Years and Times Were Simpler

But truth is, in our youth, many of us for special occasions received toy six shooters, cowboy hats, boots, and chaps; and, we also got ritualistic indian head dresses, bows, and arrows–and I especially loved wearing indian moccasins.

If you lived on a farm or had one nearby like I did, you could pull a feather from a chicken or a turkey and tuck it under a leather belt wrapped around your head to be a more authentic native.  And even get into mama’s make up and apply some war paint.

Yes, our times were much simpler and we kids knew only of the fun we had playing those games outside.  Or how we loved watching television–even shows in black and white and displayed on small fuzzy screens (reception depended on how good our rooftop antenna was).  Some of my favorite shows were:  Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, Bonanza, Rawhide, The Virginian, Little House on the Prairie, and the Big Valley–these are the ones I can remember today off the top of my head.

The Cowboys

John Wayne

The Man’s Man: John Wayne

gregory peck 1945 - by madison lacy

Gregory Peck

James Garner

James Garner

And, some of our best saturday evenings were spent at local drive-in movies watching big screen stars in full color through a speaker hanging from a window and receiving scratchy monophonic audio.  Let’s see, there was superstar-cowboy John Wayne; tall, elegant, and dignified Gregory Peck; the handsome James Garner;

Roy Rogers

Roy Rogers

James Arness

James Arness

Ward Bond

Ward Bond

Gene Autry

Gene Autry

singing cowboys Roy Rogers and Gene Autry; Marshal Matt Dillon, none other than James Arness; and I can’t forget rugged appearing Ward Bond, or funny sidekick cowboy and toothless old man, Gabby Hayes; or the rounded-belly, raspy-voiced Andy Devine.

Gabby Hayes

Gabby Hayes

Guy Madison and Andy Devine

Guy Madison and Andy Devine

The Indians

As the pictures depict below, some of my favorite indian characters were played by white men.  Further evidence that our society had not yet embraced multiculturalism and  television or movie producers hadn’t yet opened many of their doors to nonwhites.

Jeff Chandler as Cochise

Jeff Chandler as Cochise

Michael Ansara

Michael Ansara

John Todd as Tonto

John Todd as Tonto

The video brought back so many fond memories–yes, of simpler times.  Times when Americans were united and had a sense of pride about God and Country, regardless of their race or creed.  And, I just loved it when my role models and heroes were dressed in period clothing and gathered to sing God Bless America–which is another tradition dating back to our  forefathers that is “under the gun” to be discontinued in our courtrooms, in our pledges of allegiance, on our money, and in our classrooms. hope you enjoy.  (And yes, I recognized all their faces and recalled all but one’s name.)

 

 

The Family “Do You Know” Scale

Yesterday’s post Family Stories that Bind Us  included a few family questions from Emory University’s Do You Know Scale.  Below are all the questions asked within Emory’s study. I’m going to try them out on my family and see just how much we have communicated our stories among the generations–and their different spins on the information.  I urge you to try it with your family, too.

Please remember; mothers and grandmothers are the ones who generally passed along family stories.  And, they often told these stories to teach a lesson or to help their children get through physical or emotional hurts.   In reality, the accuracy of the stories is not critical–it’s the communication and celebration of the information–the secret sauce that binds families together.

Remember–disagreements among family members about what really happened may occur.   But, these disagreements then become part of your family narrative. Keep in mind that “it’s not just knowing your family’s information, but the process of sharing it that’s important,” says Fivush, one of the leaders of Emory University’s 2005 study.

And this is why I blog!

Do You Know Scale

 

 

Family Stories that Bind Us

Often when I have writer’s block, I take time out to read what others are writing about or I simply google a theme that I have in mind. And, today, I discovered  the “This Life” column that appears monthly in the Sunday Styles Section of the New York Times.  

The article “Family Stories that Bind Us,” got right to the point of my topic and my concerns about our family–that is, how are we doing individually, what has happened to all our former traditions, and why don’t we always see eye-to-eye when we get together–times that are becoming fewer and fewer as our daily lives seem to be getting in the way of the importance of good times with family.

I am reprinting the article as it was originally written by Bruce Feiler and published in the New York Times on March 15, 2013.  I added a few subheadings to paragraphs and a couple of pictures of my family from times past.

NYT-The Stories that Bind Us

An August Family Gathering

Sure enough, one night all the tensions boiled over. At dinner, I noticed my nephew texting under the table. I knew I shouldn’t say anything, but I couldn’t help myself and asked him to stop.

Ka-boom! My sister snapped at me to not discipline her child. My dad pointed out that my girls were the ones balancing spoons on their noses. My mom said none of the grandchildren had manners. Within minutes, everyone had fled to separate corners.

Is There a Secret Sauce that Holds a Family Together?

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Later, my dad called me to his bedside. There was a palpable sense of fear I couldn’t remember hearing before.

“Our family’s falling apart,” he said.

“No it’s not,” I said instinctively. “It’s stronger than ever.”

But lying in bed afterward, I began to wonder: Was he right? What is the secret sauce that holds a family together? What are the ingredients that make some families effective, resilient, happy?

Some Timely Myth-Shattering Research

It turns out to be an astonishingly good time to ask that question. The last few years have seen stunning breakthroughs in knowledge about how to make families, along with other groups, work more effectively.

Myth-shattering research has reshaped our understanding of dinnertime, discipline and difficult conversations. Trendsetting programs from Silicon Valley and the military have introduced techniques for making teams function better.

The only problem: most of that knowledge remains ghettoized  [isolated] in these subcultures, hidden from the parents who need it most. I spent the last few years trying to uncover that information, meeting families, scholars and experts ranging from peace negotiators to online game designers to Warren Buffett’s bankers.

How Much Do You Know About Your Family?

Dickinson-BolingChildrenAfter a while, a surprising theme emerged. The single most important thing you can do for your family may be the simplest of all: develop a strong family narrative.

I first heard this idea from Marshall Duke, a colorful psychologist at Emory University. In the mid-1990s, Dr. Duke was asked to help explore myth and ritual in American families.

“There was a lot of research at the time into the dissipation of the family,” he told me at his home in suburban Atlanta. “But we were more interested in what families could do to counteract those forces.”

Around that time, Dr. Duke’s wife, Sara, a psychologist who works with children with learning disabilities, noticed something about her students.

“The ones who know a lot about their families tend to do better when they face challenges,” she said.

Her husband was intrigued, and along with a colleague, Robyn Fivush, set out to test her hypothesis. They developed a measure called the “Do You Know?” scale that asked children to answer 20 questions.

Examples included: Do you know where your grandparents grew up? Do you know where your mom and dad went to high school? Do you know where your parents met? Do you know an illness or something really terrible that happened in your family? Do you know the story of your birth?

“Do You Know” Test Results

Dr. Duke and Dr. Fivush asked those questions of four dozen families in the summer of 2001, and taped several of their dinner table conversations. They then compared the children’s results to a battery of psychological tests the children had taken, and reached an overwhelming conclusion. The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned. The “Do You Know?” scale turned out to be the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness.

“We were blown away,” Dr. Duke said.

And then something unexpected happened. Two months later was Sept. 11. As citizens, Dr. Duke and Dr. Fivush were horrified like everyone else, but as psychologists, they knew they had been given a rare opportunity: though the families they studied had not been directly affected by the events, all the children had experienced the same national trauma at the same time. The researchers went back and reassessed the children.

“Once again,” Dr. Duke said, “the ones who knew more about their families proved to be more resilient, meaning they could moderate the effects of stress.”

Why does knowing where your grandmother went to school help a child overcome something as minor as a skinned knee or as major as a terrorist attack?

“The answers have to do with a child’s sense of being part of a larger family,” Dr. Duke said.

Every Family has a Unifying Narrative

Psychologists have found that every family has a unifying narrative, he explained, and those narratives take one of three shapes.

First, the ascending family narrative: “Son, when we came to this country, we had nothing. Our family worked. We opened a store. Your grandfather went to high school. Your father went to college. And now you. …”

Second is the descending narrative: “Sweetheart, we used to have it all. Then we lost everything.”

“The most healthful narrative,” Dr. Duke continued, “is the third one. It’s called the oscillating family narrative: ‘Dear, let me tell you, we’ve had ups and downs in our family. We built a family business. Your grandfather was a pillar of the community. Your mother was on the board of the hospital. But we also had setbacks. You had an uncle who was once arrested. We had a house burn down. Your father lost a job. But no matter what happened, we always stuck together as a family.’ ”

Dr. Duke said that children who have the most self-confidence have what he and Dr. Fivush call a strong “intergenerational self.” They know they belong to something bigger than themselves.

Create Family Sense-Making Narratives

Leaders in other fields have found similar results. Many groups use what sociologists call sense-making, the building of a narrative that explains what the group is about.

Jim Collins, a management expert and author of “Good to Great,” told me that successful human enterprises of any kind, from companies to countries, go out of their way to capture their core identity. In Mr. Collins’s terms, they “preserve core, while stimulating progress.” The same applies to families, he said.

Mr. Collins recommended that families create a mission statement similar to the ones companies and other organizations use to identify their core values.

The military has also found that teaching recruits about the history of their service increases their camaraderie and ability to bond more closely with their unit.

Cmdr. David G. Smith is the chairman of the department of leadership, ethics and law at the Naval Academy and an expert in unit cohesion, the Pentagon’s term for group morale. Until recently, the military taught unit cohesion by “dehumanizing” individuals, Commander Smith said. Think of the bullying drill sergeants in “Full Metal Jacket” or “An Officer and a Gentleman.”

But these days the military spends more time building up identity through communal activities. At the Naval Academy, Commander Smith advises graduating seniors to take incoming freshmen (or plebes) on history-building exercises, like going to the cemetery to pay tribute to the first naval aviator or visiting the original B-1 aircraft on display on campus.

Dr. Duke recommended that parents pursue similar activities with their children. Any number of occasions work to convey this sense of history: holidays, vacations, big family get-togethers, even a ride to the mall. The hokier the family’s tradition, he said, the more likely it is to be passed down. He mentioned his family’s custom of hiding frozen turkeys and canned pumpkin in the bushes during Thanksgiving so grandchildren would have to “hunt for their supper,” like the Pilgrims.

“These traditions become part of your family,” Dr. Duke said.

Most Happy Families Communicate Effectively, Beyond “Talking Through Problems”

Decades of research have shown that most happy families communicate effectively. But talking doesn’t mean simply “talking through problems,” as important as that is. Talking also means telling a positive story about yourselves. When faced with a challenge, happy families, like happy people, just add a new chapter to their life story that shows them overcoming the hardship. This skill is particularly important for children, whose identity tends to get locked in during adolescence.

The bottom line: if you want a happier family, create, refine and retell the story of your family’s positive moments and your ability to bounce back from the difficult ones. That act alone may increase the odds that your family will thrive for many generations to come.

This article is adapted from Bruce Feiler’s recently published book, “The Secrets of Happy Families: How to Improve Your Morning, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smart, Go Out and Play, and Much More.”

A version of this article appeared in print on March 17, 2013, on page ST1 of the New
York edition with the headline: The Stories That Bind Us.

 

The First Ever Global Family Reunion: Saturday, June 6 2015!

One World. One Family. One Extraordinary Event.

YOU ARE INVITED TO THE GLOBAL FAMILY REUNION - COMING JUNE 6, 2015 -

To Benefit Alzheimer’s

I’d like to say that this was my great idea and that I could pull off such a spectacular event (given my former events management life), but I can’t take credit for it.  A.J. Jacobs, better known just as “AJ” is the one making this happen.  And, what’s more, this event is to benefit Alzheimer’s–a major disease that is affecting world health.  In fact, 1 in 9 Americans have Alzheimer’s.  Millions of Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and other
dementias. The number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will grow each year as the size and proportion of the U.S. population age 65 and older
continue to increase. This number will escalate rapidly in coming years as the baby boom generation ages.  I’d say helping researchers to find treatments and cures for this horrific disease is just one of the great reasons to join the family on June 6, 2015 on the site of the legendary 1964 New York World’s Fair. The grounds are now home to the New York Hall of Science, which is one of the top science-themed museums in the world.

About the Creator of the Biggest, most Extraordinary and most Inclusive Family Reunion in History

A. J. Jacobs is  a journalist, lecturer, human guinea pig and  author of four New York Times bestsellers:

  1. His first book is called The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World (Simon & Schuster, 2004).
  2. After trying to improve his mind, he turned to his spirit. The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible (2007)
  3. In 2012, Jacobs completed his mind-spirit-body self-improvement trinity with Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection.
  4. He also published a collection of essays called My Life as an Experiment: One Man’s Humble Quest to Improve Himself (2010)

AJ is also editor at large at Esquire magazine, a commentator on NPR and a columnist for Mental Floss magazine, and a very funny guy.

So, please join me in watching AJ, himself, talk about the World’s Biggest Family Reunion from this June’s TED event:

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