The Black Dot Experiment

Video


Sometimes, the simplest stories grab our attention because . . .

they carry important messages. Likewise in life, we sometimes overlook and take for granted the many wonderful things we have or that happen right under our noses.  Our focus often gets caught up in our smaller failures, disappointments, or relatively insignificant events. If only we opened our eyes to widen our horizons . . . .

The author of the following story is unknown, but here are the two sources that I found:

1):  For its Annual Dinner, a small town chamber of commerce invited a motivational speaker in. It seems their community’s economy was bad, their people discouraged, and they wanted someone/something to give them hope and their spirits a boost.

2):  A Professor Prepared an examination for his class.

 

Did you focus on the black dot?

Our World Is Full Of Circles


Our world is so very large and yet we seem to travel in circles

Herrington Harbor South

Herrington Harbor South

For example, today I had an absolutely delightful and rare lunch date at a small cafe at Friendship Maryland’s Herrington Harbor South Marina Resort on the Chesapeake Bay.  My daughter and I joined a mutual friend who we have had only limited contact with over the past couple of years because of rapidly changing responsibilities and special interests that have taken us all in multiple directions and different circles.

When our circles first came together 

I was an impressionable eight year old and Claudia was about five years my senior. She lived with her family in Parkland, District Heights, MD. My parents’ best friends from their teen years were Claudia’s family’s neighbors.  But, in my 8-year-old eyes she and her family seemed to have the most beautiful, spacious, and perfectly decorated home, the June and Ward Cleaver-like parents, and I admired her personal beauty and gifts in creative arts.  (Claudia taught me how to color–and not just to stay within the lines, but how to take an ordinary image on a coloring book page and make it my own work of art by using just the right mix of colors, outlining some parts, coloring softly on others, and boldly elsewhere.)  I believe Claudia’s seamstress mother passed down to her a lot of her talents and skills–plus guided her seemingly innate social skills that made this shy 8-year-old feel comfortable and welcomed–a trait of hers that still stands out today in whatever circles she’s in.

Fast forward nearly 30 years.  Claudia and I next circled back to each other when we both went to work for the same Federal agency.  And, we both remained there throughout the remainders of our lengthy careers.  Its campus was large and so was the facility in which we worked.  So we saw each other only occasionally, to say hi as we passed or to wave to each other from across or down the long corridors.

It was about 15 years into my career there when my daughter, Jen, changed jobs and started her career at this same Federal agency.  Once again, Claudia and my paths crossed again. As it turns out, Claudia was assigned as Jen’s first supervisor.  I can’t say enough good things about Claudia as a person, a professional colleague, and a mentor to my daughter. Jennifer, now about 17 years at this agency, has come a very long way in her career. But, the basis of her success began with Claudia’s teaching her the ropes in how to navigate the inner circles to succeed within this big and always complex workplace.  The rest can be accredited to Jen’s willingness to learn, to think on her feet, to take pride in every task assigned, to always ask the right questions to best understand the “big picture,” and to offer appropriate suggestions at just the right times.

After our initial circle of hugs and hello’s, there we sat today, across the table from each other, picking up our relationships just where we left off on them a few years ago, reflecting on days past, and catching up on family and life events–it was as if we never missed a beat since our last time out together.  Let’s see–that would be when we shared a limousine to go to dinner and a concert in downtown Washington, DC.  And if one of us, within our fond memories, was at a loss for a name or place, we circled our memory banks to fill in the blanks, and sometimes even finish each other’s sentences!

Nearly two hours later, we bid our fond farewells, but not before scheduling an August luncheon, which we hope will be the one of many monthly get togethers to come.  And, so we can narrow the distance in which we circle back our memories at future meet ups where we hope our conversations will move forward instead of in circles to help solve some of the many problems in our world!

 

 

 

Are You the Apple of Your Family’s Eye . . .


Or, the One Rotten Fruit that Spoils the Bushel?

As I draft this post, my husband and I are driving to Virginia to be with our eldest son, Bobby’s family.  We are joining him, his wife, and their youngest of three sons, Andy, who is graduating from the Virginia Police Academy on Friday.  Bobby’s other two sons are serving our Country in the United States Air Force and are away at their duty stations.

But recently, as the school season came to a close and we have celebrated mother’s day, and preparing to celebrate father’s day, I realized most of the focus of my life, especially recently, has been on Family.

In fact at our church, Chesapeake Church in Huntingtown, MD., we just finished up a 9-week teaching series “Family:”

This superb series looked at today’s challenging dynamics and lifestyles within our christian family community.  It’s weekly messages included: “We are Family,” “The Single Family,” “The Married Family,” “The Very Married Family,” “Adding Kids to the Family,” “Raising Kids in the Family,” “The Blended Family,” “The Seasoned Family,” and “The Deeply Rooted Family.”  My eyes and heart opened to the potential volume of strengths in understanding, patience, communication, cooperation, mutual love and respect required for any and all members of these families to stay on the same page together and to lead successful and individually fulfilling lives within whatever type of family we live.

One day we’re born into a family, for better or for worse. . .

Netflix BloodlineMeanwhile, searching for some downtime entertainment, I surfed Netflix.  I happened upon a Netflix Original Series “Bloodline.” Among its stars were Kyle Chandler and Sissy Spacek, actors that I am familiar with. But, it was the title, “Bloodline,”   that most appealed to my family historian/genealogist proclivities.  So I decided I’d start watching the series at Season 1, Episode 1, released March 20, 2015.

No surprises here. Bloodline’s TV Series was a direct dichotomy to the 9-week series on family we had just studied at church.  In fact, the free use of f-bombs and adult nudity scenes disappointed me.   But, the realistic inter-family dynamics and dialogues intrigued me.  To paraphrase Glenn Kessler, one of the series originators:  Our DNA is such that the past is always with us”, and, “We’re going to learn more about one son’s effect on a family …”

Although based in the beautiful Florida Keys, “Bloodline” is a dark drama that explores family secrets that lurk just beneath the surface of a contemporary American family’s persona. The Rayburns’–they are hard-working and respected pillars in their community.  Their eldest son of five children, Danny,  AKA the “black sheep,” has just returned home.  It’s the 45th anniversary of his parents’ hotel.  Childhood memories are shared, old familial behaviors and dynamics quickly resurface, and Danny’s mere presence threatens to expose his family’s dark secrets and shameful past.  Deputy Sheriff John Rayburn, the next eldest Rayburn son and Danny’s champion, wants family relationships to smooth out and for Danny to be successful this time back.  And, as the ancient proverb goes, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” So, yes, despite all the siblings good intentions, events spiral, a series of  lies to protect family members unravel, family loyalties are pushed to their limits, and all their futures remain in a severely menacing peril.  And yes, after binge watching Bloodline, there is a cliffhanger to which I can’t imagine a good outcome.  But the good news is, it looks like in Season 3 next year we will find out how, or if, this family survives as a unit, or whether any individuals rise above their deeply frayed fabric.

As for me and my family, our brief trip for our grandson’s graduation was fantastic.  We spent nearly two full days of quality time together.  And, best of all, our grandson gave us a hearty thank you “for always being there for important family events that mean so much to me.”  Likewise, family means everything to us–the spontaneous get togethers, supporting family through rough patches, and the culmination of successes celebrated with planned family events.

And, I close this post having just returned from year four of our biblical family’s Annual Dragon Boat Race Festival at North Beach, MD, where we come together to play and raise money to support our local End Hunger in Calvert County Charity. #givewhereyoulive — Another Great Family–and no bad apples!

 

Remembering Our Mount Calvary School (MCS) and Community


June 6, 2016:

FYI: Dan Dusseau, former Mount Calvary School student  received this email about Mount Calvary’s School Closing Mass on 06/12/16 @ 10:30 am . . .

As you may have already heard, Mount Calvary Catholic School will be
closing our doors at the end of the School term on June 10, 2016.
Alumni and supporters are invited to join us for the 10:30am Closing
Mass on June 12, 2016, followed by a reception in the “Blue Room” of
Mount Calvary Catholic School. We are very grateful to those of you
that continued to believe in the value of education and our students at
Mount Calvary Catholic School. Your participation in donating to our
Annual Appeals had an impact on the future of our students, as many of
you and your families once had. We are very saddened that our
enrollment was not increasing and we had deep deficits to cover.

It has been an inspiration hearing from former students online that
shared their memories and how their lives were impacted by their early
Catholic School education. We have had the opportunity to share in our
students many accomplishments through academics and school performances.

My personal THANK YOU! These may seem like two small words but them
hold a great deal of appreciation and gratitude. In my few years hear,
I have had a great admiration for the staff and students. It too breaks
my heart for it to come to an end. However, trusting in God and knowing
that His Will be done, I will continue to give my best.

Please keep our staff in your prayers that they may find new positions
and that our dearly loved students will adjust successfully in their new
schools. We will continue to keep you lifted in ours. Our school theme
of “We Are Family” reminds us that you definitely have been an
important part of our extended family. Again, thank you for supporting
the vision and mission of Mount Calvary Catholic School to enliven the
hearts and minds of young men and women to better our society.

Sincerely,

Regina L. Barrett, School Advancement Coordinator
Mount Calvary Catholic School
6704 Marlboro Pike
Forestville, MD 20747
301-735-5262


May 31, 2016:  From the ongoing comments on this site and among FaceBook friends, it appears that former Mount Calvary students from across the country plan to attend the June 12 mass at Mount Calvary.  How very inspirational!  Looking forward to seeing everyone there.


May 9, 2016 It’s very inspiring to see the number of comments and articles by others due to the word of mouth about Mount Calvary’s closing.  Here’s another, this time, written by…

Source: Remembering Our Mount Calvary School (MCS) and Community

How Deaf Children Should Communicate–“I’m Trying to Get People to Hear Us . . .”


. . . Says Extraordinary Dance Contestant and Advocate for American Sign Language, Nyle DiMarco

 

I hope this post’s title and headline caught your attention. It actually follows on to two of my posts from 2014 where I discussed deaf heritage among our ancestors in the Boling/Bolling/Bowling and Randolph family lines from the 1700’s in England and then Virginia: Our Deaf Heritage and Our Deaf Heritage, Part 2.

Yes, it was our British ancestors who helped found America and the first schools for the hearing impaired here, and later, the infamous Gallaudet University in the District of Columbia. Since these two posts, I have noted more online discussions among our present day families within these lines who suffer from varying degrees of hearing impairments.  But more so, this post shares the epitome of one indomitable deaf man’s desire to advocate for America’s hearing impaired community whose presence in our society is often subject to much prejudice and misconceptions: “they are old,” “less intelligent,” “mentally ill,” or “they only hear what they want to hear.”

Nearly 48 million Americans suffer from hearing loss and, shockingly so, only 25 percent of those people have hearing aids. It seems that Americans avoid getting hearing aids, not only for reasons of cost or accessibility, but due to fear of being perceived as older, uncool, or socially awkward.

Check out this site for some current and quick statistics about hearing loss.

Before sharing Nyle DiMarco’s (last night’s winner on “Dancing With the Stars”), DWTS, incredible story, I’d like you to see him and his professional dance partner Peta Murgatroyd perform one of the best dances all time in the longstanding history of this show–set to “The Sound of Silence” and dedicated to the deaf community, particularly deaf children:

For the record, Nyle DiMarco is an actor, model and spokesman. He is a native of Queens, New York and was born into a fourth generation deaf family. He is an alumnus of Gallaudet University, the only liberal arts university in the world for the deaf. He has 2 brothers–one of them, a fraternal twin. He moved to Maryland where he attended and graduated from Maryland School for the Deaf. Then, he graduated from Gallaudet University, the most popular university in Deaf culture–and a “mecca for deaf culture,” that helped inspire his confidence and political activism …

Nyle DiMarco worked to help pass bill SB-210, aiming to ensure all deaf and hard-of-hearing children are kindergarten-ready in the California education system, which passed in October.

“There are so many deaf kids out there being deprived of their own language (ASL),” he said in an email interview. He recently established the Nyle DiMarco Foundation, the main goal of which is to improve deaf infants’ access to sign language education.

Nyle’s story follows:


Parents of Deaf Children, Stuck in the Middle of an Argument

From New York Time Well Blog

Author TINA DONVITO (a freelance writer who blogs at foggymommy.com)

March 24, 2016

 

A long-simmering controversy erupted this spring over how deaf children should communicate.

It started when The Washington Post ran a story on Nyle DiMarco, the deaf “Dancing With the Stars contestant who is also an advocate for American Sign Language (ASL). When Meredith Sugar, president of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, retorted that ASL was becoming obsolete in light of better hearing aid and cochlear implant technology, the arguing went public. But that debate was really just the latest manifestation of a longstanding conflict among deaf people and parents of deaf children: Should children be fitted for hearing aids and taught to speak, or should they use sign language? Or a combination of both?

As the parent of a 2-year-old whose hearing loss was recently diagnosed, the arguments only heightened my anxiety about how to address my son Sam’s needs. After his diagnosis, Sam’s doctors assumed he would get hearing aids, which he would need for the rest of his life. ASL was not mentioned as an option. Because Sam has residual hearing — his loss is mild in one ear and moderate to severe in the other — I went along with their recommendation.

One friend, a speech therapist whose brother is deaf, told me not to sign at all with Sam because he would use it as a crutch instead of learning to speak. This made sense to me, and for a while after Sam was aided, his therapist, a teacher of the deaf, focused on his listening and speaking skills. The hearing aids gave him more access to sound, but he still had trouble processing all that new information and figuring out how to replicate it through spoken language.

Although his speech did improve, the frustration I continued to see in his face when he tried to tell me something was heartbreaking. Tantrums were frequent. Sam started coming up with his own signs, such as a chomping motion with his arms when he wanted to wear his dragon shirt. He was searching for any way to communicate.

So, I asked his therapist about incorporating sign. But instead of using ASL, which is its own language with a grammatical structure different from that of English, she advised “signed English.” This incorporates ASL signs but in a way that mimics spoken language. Although some children are taught to be bilingual in ASL and English, ASL is not designed to represent English directly. The benefit of learning signed English, Sam’s therapist said, is that he could sign and speak at the same time. Plus, when it comes time to learn to read, it’s not as much of an adjustment. “Learning ASL and then learning to read English is very tough,” she said. “It would be like learning Chinese.”

I’ve come to think of signing as a tool for Sam to learn English. The majority of the world is hearing. Only two to three children out of 1,000 are born with hearing loss, and more than 90 percent of them to hearing parents. Those who say not teaching ASL to hard-of-hearing children is language deprivation only vilify parents who are trying to find a bridge between the hearing and deaf worlds.

And it’s hard for parents like me to know which world their hard-of-hearing child should be in – or even what words to use to talk about it. Because Sam had some hearing I hesitated to refer to him as “deaf.” Many deaf people feel the term “hearing impaired” implies a deficit and focuses on a disability, so I settled on “hard-of-hearing.” But after talking with an advocate for deaf children in the New Jersey Early Intervention System, I realized there is not a clear delineation between deaf and hearing — it’s more like a spectrum. “When you say ‘mild hearing loss,’ people think it’s easily fixable,” she told me. “In fact, children with mild or moderate loss sometimes have an even more difficult time because they can hide their inability to hear.”

Hearing aids aren’t perfect, and certain situations, like a noisy classroom or restaurant, will still be difficult. As an alternative, many in the Deaf community — who capitalize the “D” to indicate a sense of unity and celebration — embrace their lack of hearing as an identity, avoid hearing aids and amplification altogether and focus on ASL. In this sense, being Deaf is more than a specific state of hearing; it’s being part of a specific culture that’s inclusive of those with mild as well as profound hearing loss. Many Deaf people feel well-meaning parents are pushed by doctors, audiologists and groups like AG Bell to try to make their children fit in with the hearing world through technology. But as Sam’s audiologist said to me, “Lots of people have glasses, so why should hearing aids be thought of any differently?”

Although in principle she may be right, hearing aid use in children, which requires years of visits with doctors, audiologists and speech therapists, remains controversial. Sam’s doctor told me that some in the Deaf community would think it’s “child abuse” for her to perform cochlear implant surgery, the next step in technology if over-the-ear aids aren’t effective. “They’d have me thrown in jail,” she said. This anti-technology attitude means that many parents who choose aids or implants wonder where their kids fit in. They’re not quite hearing, not quite deaf, and maybe not even Deaf.

Instead of a united front advocating for deaf and hard-of-hearing children, I’ve found a community struggling with internal conflict. As in politics, extremists on either side have created an environment that makes it hard for those in the middle to feel comfortable discussing the issues. I’m making decisions for my son, but I don’t know whether he will agree with them when he’s older. But what would help parents the most is a community that could talk openly to work through the options without judgment or dogma. What would best benefit my son — and me, in making choices for him — is better support for whichever decision we make.

World’s Oldest and Last Living Person Born in the 1800s


116 Years Difference in Time, Yet Not So Very Different 

Although Emma Martina Luigia Morano was born 29 November 1899, and not in the 21st Century, she was born amid “large-scale economic change, job uncertainty, the politics of extremism and paranoia, arguments over America’s international role, and racial conflicts,” to quote Fritz Lanham of the Houston Chronicle.  

According to H.W. Brands, author of The Reckless Decade; Just as we do today, Americans of the 1890s faced changes in economics, politics, society, and technology that led to wrenching and sometimes violent tensions between rich and poor, capital and labor, white and black, East and West.

The 1890s saw the closing of the American frontier and a shift toward imperialist ambitions. Populists and muckrakers grappled with robber barons and gold-bugs. Americans addressed the unfinished business of Reconstruction by separating blacks and whites. Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, and other black leaders clashed over the proper response to continuing racial inequality. Those on top of the economic heap—Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Morgan—created vast empires of wealth, while those at the bottom worked for dimes a day.”

As a reconteur of family history set within the backdrop of a developing America, I read the AP article below, and my mind was deluged with thoughts and questions about Emma’s living conditions, her role in her family and society, and how many other achievements she may have accomplished aside from her probable genetic phenomenon of being the oldest person in the world, and the oldest Italian ever.

Searching a little further, I discovered that Emma married Giovanni Martinuzzi at age 27; they had one child ten years later; the baby died at six months old; and, that her marriage was an unhappy one so she kicked out Giovanni in 1938–but, she never divorced him.

Until 1954, Emma worked in her town for the Maioni Industry, a jute factory that made twine, rope, woven sacks and matting. Her other job was in the kitchen of Collegio Santa Maria, a Marianist boarding school in Pallanza, until she was 75 and then she retired.

And yet another phenom, she lived alone until her 115th birthday.

Italian woman, 116, seen as last living person born in 1800s

Author:  Associated Press, Inc. – Photographer:  Antonio Calanni, May 13, 2016116 Year Old Italian Woman

VERBANIA, Italy (AP) — Surrounded by relatives and neighbors, Italy’s Emma Morano greeted with a smile the news that she, at 116, is now the oldest person in the world.

Not only that, but Morano is believed to be the last surviving person in the world born in the 1800s, with a birthdate of Nov. 29, 1899. That’s just 4 ½ months after Susannah Mushatt Jones, who died Thursday in New York, also at 116.

Journalists on Friday descended on Morano’s home in Verbania, a northern Italian mountain town overlooking Lake Major, to document her achievement, but had to wait until she finished a nap to greet her. Morano lives in a neat one-room apartment, which she no longer leaves, and is kept company by a caregiver and two elderly nieces.

Morano told The Associated Press last year that she attributes her longevity to her unusual diet: Raw eggs every day — a diet she’s been on for decades after a sickly childhood. She said she is down to two raw eggs a day and 150 grams of raw steak after a bout of anemia.

“My father brought me to the doctor, and when he saw me he said, ‘Such a beautiful girl. If you had come just two days later, I would have not been able to save you.’ He told me to eat two or three eggs a day, so I eat two eggs a day,” she said at the time.

Her physician, Dr. Carlo Bava, is convinced there’s a genetic component to Morano’s longevity along with her positive attitude.

“From a strictly medical and scientific point of view, she can be considered a phenomenon,” he said last year, noting that Morano has been in stable, good health for years.

Italy is known for its centenarians — many of whom live on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia — and gerontologists at the University of Milan are studying Morano, along with a handful of Italians over 105, to try to figure out why they live so long.

During a visit last summer, Morano was in feisty spirits, displaying the sharp wit and fine voice that used to stop men in their tracks.

“I sang in my house, and people on the road stopped to hear me singing. And then they had to run, because they were late and should go to work,” she recalled, before breaking into a round of the 1930s Italian love song “Parlami d’amore Mariu.”

“Ahh, I don’t have my voice anymore,” she lamented.

Witches and Witchcraft Revisited–Another Brick Wall Downed!


Mary Bliss Parsons - 9th great auntJust a short 3-1/2 years ago (November 15, 2012) I wrote my first post Hello World! to this blog site.  In it, I alleged my family may have an ancestor who was accused of being a witch in Massachusetts.  (Note that most women, and men, who were accused of witchcraft in the 15th-19th Centuries were feared for their nonconformist ways more than anything else.)  If you go to this post’s link, you will also find at the bottom of it, links to three more posts that include mentions of witches and witchcraft in them over the next eight-month period.  Despite all my research and readings I didn’t find specific evidence of any alleged witches among my ancestors until today–exactly 341 years after a Boston jury reached its verdict on charges that Mary Bliss Parsons, my 9th maternal great aunt, was accused of being a witch.  Here’s the brief article I discovered:

Jury Finds Mary Bliss Parsons Not Guilty of Witchcraft: May 13, 1675
Published by massmoments.org May 13, 2016

Mary Bliss Parsons and childOn this day in 1675, a Boston jury reached a verdict in the case of Mary Bliss Parsons of Northampton: they found her not guilty of witchcraft. In seventeenth-century New England, virtually everyone believed in witches. Hundreds of individuals faced charges of practicing witchcraft. They were women, or sometimes men, who had “signed the Devil’s Book” and were working on his behalf. Their wickedness was blamed for calamities ranging from ailing animals to the death of infant children. While most of the accused never went to trial or were, like Mary Parsons, acquitted, not everyone was so lucky. Six Massachusetts women were hanged as witches in the years before the infamous Salem witch trials, which claimed 24 innocent lives.

I referred to the following free e-book on Google Play to learn further facts about the allegations of witchcraft against Mary Bliss Parsons. Page 15 is the digital page number where her story begins:

Parsons family: descendants of Cornet Joseph Parsons, Springfield, 1636–Northampton, 1655, Volume 1 

Frank Allaben Genealogical Company, 1912
The Strong Witch SocietyD. H. Parsons (9th great grandson of Mary Bliss Parsons), on January 19, 2011, authored a much different perspective of Mrs. Parsons’ involvement in Witchcraft and Witch Societies in his 4-star rated book:  The Strong Witch Society: The Diary of Mary Bliss Parsons.  The following is Amazon’s summary about it:
In 1675, Mary Bliss Parsons, the author’s great grandmother nine times removed, was tried for witchcraft during the Salem witch trials. She was acquitted only because her husband, Joseph, was able to purchase her freedom. Such is the known history of Mary Bliss Parsons. What is not so well known is that Mary was a member of a small but powerful group of witches, The Strong Witch Society. After her death in 1712, it became Mary’s purpose to somehow “awaken” in the mind and spirit of one of her future descendants in order to reinstitute The Strong Witch Society. The author is that grandchild. What unfolds on the pages of this book is a rollercoaster of supernatural events and ‘lessons’ designed with the express purpose of calling together the remaining Strong Witches in order to divert an impending world disaster. This book is about far more than just Witches. It introduces and covers many other subjects including Alien Contact, Inter-Dimensional Travel, the Natural Disasters our world is facing today, political crises, and etc. It offers Simple solutions on how to deal with all of those problems before it is too late. It gives information on how you the reader can actually help to solve the problems without much effort at all. But time is running short. And always remember that this book is true, not fiction, not conjecture, not theory.
This jury remains out for me, and many references have surfaced since my initial research. So, I guess I have a lot more reading to do before I draw my conclusions about my 9th great aunt, Mrs. Mary Bliss Parsons.

May 13, 2016: Jamestown Colony’s 409th Anniversary


Four hundred and nine years ago today (May 13, 1607), one hundred colonists (dispatched from England by the London Company) arrived along the west bank of the James River.  The next day they founded the first permanent English settlement in what is now the Virginia, known as the”James Fort.”

As I have written in other posts on my blog, it was during the next two years that disease, starvation, and Native American attacks wiped out most of the colony.  Yet, the London Company continually sent more settlers and supplies. The colonists referred to the severe winters of 1609 to 1610, as the “starving time.” These severe winters and lack of supplies were attributed with killing most of the Jamestown colonists and the survivors to plan a return to England in the spring.

On June 10, 1610, however, Thomas West De La Warr, the newly appointed governor of Virginia, arrived with supplies and convinced the settlers to stay at Jamestown. In 1612,  John Thomas Rolfe, my 10th Paternal Great Grandfather cultivated the first tobacco at Jamestown, introducing a successful source of livelihood.  Unfortunately, on March 22, 1622, he killed in an indian massacre on the Jamestown colony.

Jamestown ChurchThis photo taken in  the 1900’s shows the fifth church in the settlement.  

In one of his books, Captain John Smith wrote of building the first structure at Jamestown that was used as a church. According to his account, the settlers stretched a sail among the boughs and used rails to build the sides of the structure. They sat on benches made of unhewn tree trunks. The altar was simply a log nailed to two neighboring trees. This was a purely temporary arrangement and is not counted as a church building.

First Church — In 1607, the settlers built the first real church inside the fort. Smith related that this was a barn-like structure, but he gave few details. The settlers worshipped in it until it was destroyed by fire in January 1608.

Second Church — The church which was built after the fire in 1608 was similar in appearance to the first church. When Lord De La Warr arrived as governor in 1610, he found that the church had fallen into a sad state of disrepair, so he had it restored and its furnishings improved. It is assumed that this is the church in which Ann Burras and John Laydon were married and their daughter, Virginia Laydon, was later baptized.

When Captain Samuel Argall came to Jamestown in 1617, he found “but five or six houses, the church down, the palisades broken, the bridge in pieces, the well of fresh water spoiled, the storehouse used for the church; the marketplace, the streets and all other spare places planted with tobacco; the savages as frequent in their homes as themselves, whereby they were to become their “experts in our arms”…the Colony dispersed all about planting Tobacco.”

Third Church — From 1617-1619, when Samuel Argall was governor, he had the inhabitants of Jamestown build a new church “50 foot long and twenty-foot broad.” It was a wooden church built on a one-foot-wide foundation of cobblestones capped by a wall one brick thick. When visiting Jamestown today, you can see these foundations under the glass on the floor of the present building. The First Assembly was held in the third church. This church is best remembered as the meeting place of the first Representative Legislative Assembly, which convened there on July 30, 1619. This church endured until 1639, when it was replaced by a brick structure.

Fourth Church — In January 1639 Governor John Harvey reported that he, the Council, the ablest planters, and some sea captains “had contributed to the building of a brick church” at Jamestown. This church was slightly larger than the third church and was built around it. It was still unfinished in November 1647 when efforts were made to complete it.  Ten years later a fifth church was functioning, probably using the walls and foundations of the fourth church. Sometime after it was finished a brick church tower was added. During Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676, this church was burned.

Fifth Church —  About 10 years after the 1676 burning, the fifth church was functioning, probably using the walls and foundations of the fourth church. Sometime after it was finished a brick church tower was added. The tower is the only seventeenth-century structure still standing above ground at Jamestown.

The tower is slightly over 18 feet square and the walls are three feet thick at the base. Originally the tower was about 46 feet high (ten feet higher than the ruins) and was crowned with a wooden roof and belfry. It had two upper floors as indicated by the large beam notches on the inside. Six small openings at the top permitted light to enter and the sound of the bell or bells to carry across river and town. This church was used until the 1750s when it was abandoned. Although the tower remained intact, the building fell into ruins by the 1790s when the bricks were salvaged and used to build the present graveyard wall. Throughout the nineteenth century the tower remained a silent symbol to Americans of their early heritage. It was strengthened and preserved shortly after the APVA acquired it in the 1890s.

 

The Present Church — The Memorial Church building was constructed in 1906 by the National Society, Colonial Dames of America just outside the foundations of the earlier churches. It was dedicated May 13, 1907.

 

Immigration — A Hot Topic!


The Joy of Discovering New Information

Some of you may know that I am a retired career employee from the U.S. Census Bureau.  I love my family and sharing the statistics and data that make up my heritage, family history, and the perpetual stories that keep coming from new discoveries.   Although retired now for nearly five years, I keep active with the newest and finest technologies, video graphics, and live charts.  I want people to enjoy, visualize and better understand past times and changes in the world over time as they may have related to their families and mine.

As far back as 2010, I first shared one of my visualization idol’s videos:  200 Countries, 200 Years–The Joy of Stats created by my peer and former national colleague from Statistics Sweden, and now renowned spokesperson Dr. Hans Rosling.  Hans and his son, Ola, built Gapminder, a software application that allows you to input raw statistics and automate them into meaning infographics.  Dr. Rosling has now produced many exceptional videos and made hundreds of live data presentations which he shares regularly on YouTube and at the TED conferences, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give talks about their specialties in 18 minutes or less.

Who And What is Metrocosm?

Much like Dr. Rosling, Max Galka, is a twenty-something New Yorker, an entrepreneur and all around data geek, and a Huffington Post contributor. Max built his Metrocosm website to focus on the graphical and storytelling side of data and to use it to offer new perspectives on familiar topics that analyze life through statistics and data.

And, just a few days ago on Facebook, I came upon Max’s recent interactive map that remains a hot topic in the news on the presidential campaign trail–Immigration.

This map focuses on about two centuries of immigration (from 1820 to 2013), and illustrates how 79 million people migrated to the United States to get lawful permanent resident status. It visualizes emigrants based on their earlier country of residence, and the brightness of a country corresponds to its total migration to the U.S. at a given time.  Each dot represents 10 thousand people.  And what I noted first was for the first 70 years, immigrants arrived from three countries only:  Ireland, Germany, and the United Kingdom (which includes the British Isles).  In 1892 you see Italy joins the top three countries and about 10 years later, Russians and Hungarians start arriving.  It wasn’t until the 1950’s that we start to see Mexican, Cuban, and Filipino’s immigrating.

As for the numbers of emigrants arriving–we first noticed in 1820 about 130,000 immigrants.  In 1840, the number rose to just over 1.4 million; by 1850 the numbers doubled in that 10-year-span to 2.8 million.  Then in 1880, there were 5.2 million, or nearly double again, though this time it was within a 30 year span. Twenty years later, immigration levels rose to 8.2 million.  They dropped by 2 million during the WWI period; and dropped by another 2 million in the early Roaring 20’s. With the onset of the Great Depression the number dropped below 1 million again to only about 700,000. Post WWII immigration jumped back up to 2.5 million.  For 1960-69,  there were 3.2 million ; 1970-79, 4.2 million; 1980-89, 6.2 million; 1990-99, immigration peaked at 9.9 million, then rose again starting in 2000-2009 to 10.3 million; and in 2010-2013, the number of emigrants dropped dramatically to  4.1 million. Immigration from Mexico has been a constant country listed in the top three countries emigrating since 1970; as has “Other Asian” countries since 1980 (which excludes the Philippines because it was included separately.  And, as late as 2000, the graph shows China among the top three countries whose people migrated to the U.S.

I’d like to say I had answers for why people from certain countries chose to migrate to the United States at certain times, but I’d rather hear comments from my readers about why they think people from the various countries chose to come to America when they did.  Too, it would be interesting to see how many Americans out migrated to other countries in a parallel graphic.  I think I’ll contact Max to see what he has to say about preparing one for us.  I’ll let you know when I hear back.