Sunday, May 1, 2016

Editor's Corner

May 2016

May is on a stumbling route getting here it seems, making her way through the diverse weather conditions April has spread around the world. Not content with the traditional 'showers' many have been deluged with flooded areas or blown here and there by the vicious tornadic winds. One hopes May will be more gentle.

Phil Hennessy realized he had failed to share the lyrics of the song (Joining Hearts) he composed as a National fund raiser in the UK last year, so he fills us in on the facts about it and includes a link so you can hear it sung by Paul Salvage and a school choir which included Phil's children. He also includes "My House Is Warm."

Bud Lemire checked in with "A Poem About Nothing," "Feel My Touch," "Created to Be Unique," and "April's Snow." Bruce Clifford submitted two poems for this issue: "Any Way You'd Like" and "You Can't Find No Relief."

One of the articles is by an author we have shown here before, Diane Terry Lynch aka Spirit0662 who discusses "Falling in Love." The other article lets LC Van Savage say something about Slinkys.

Thomas F. O'Neill, "Introspective," talks about the robot technology that goes beyond toys. He also updated his profile pic which I am placing below on this page.

LC Van Savage's column "Consider This" confesses what she always carries in her pocket. Would you believe - an elephant? Mattie Lennon in "Irish Eyes" details the historical attraction EPIC Ireland that visitors are flocking to this year. A collector's type DVD has also been released about the infamous "Famine Pot." Lennon explains his feelings about the census as well.

Rod Cohenour, "Cooking With Rod," tells how to make simple ingredients into a memorable and succulent meal, "Hamburger Steak with Onions and Gravy."    Melinda Cohenour, "Armchair Genealogy" begins the interesting facts surrounding David Motley Ellington, an American Patriot.

In "Adventures of Ollie-Dare" Chapter 13 by Rebecca Morris, the bear goes to the Circus.

Thanks again to Mike Craner for his expertise and patience that allows this little ezine to continue its mission of encouraging writers, experienced and beginners, and to promote reading.

Watch for us in June!

See Thomas F. O'Neill's new bio pic below.

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.
This issue appears in the ezine at and also in the blog with the capability of adding comments at the latter.

Armchair Genealogy

The Story of David Motley Ellington,
An American Patriot

Part I

          David Motley Ellington was born the 15th day of January 1759 in Amelia County, Virginia, one of eleven children of Jeremiah Ellington and his wife, Frances Jones Ellington who was affectionately called “Fanny.” In 1759, the colonists of Virginia were establishing the foundation of their burgeoning country. Virginia was the home to indigenous tribes of Native Americans whose migration to the continent preceded the European migration by hundreds if not thousands of years. The time of migration was so ancient, most Indian oral traditions cited an origination of their people by spiritual creation in the very land they hunted and fished. (DNA testing now proves all Indians of both North and South America are genetically matched to the Siberian tribes who moved into Beringia some 23,000 years ago, after mingling their blood with a group of Australo-Melanese peoples in the ancient mists of time.)

         These natives first accepted the European arrivals and taught them to survive in the new land by the farming of corn, beans, and squash and introduced them to the methods of hunting and fishing that proved most successful. But as the European’s numbers increased and more and more of the Indians’ hunting, fishing, and farming lands were taken over by their thriving tobacco plantations and newly introduced African slaves, territorial issues occurred. Though attempts were made to ameliorate these differences, it soon became clear that the core societal differences of the opposing claimants to the land would prevent any long-lasting peaceful cohabitation. Soon those differences erupted into attempts by the Indian tribes to force the Europeans to leave their lands. These skirmishes provided the men of the colonies with valuable training in methods and tools of combat, knowledge that would serve them well in the years to come. The Virginian colonists thrived in their new land in spite of these attacks, producing more goods than they could consume. Their trade with England provided the old country with the newly harvested tobacco, a commodity that was highly desired – and highly taxed.

         By 1763, the English crown was severely in debt after the French and Indian War and more demands were made upon the colonists to pay ever-increasing taxes on their own goods and to comply with more and more attempts to control and direct the internal affairs of the new colonies. These frictions would eventually lead to the Revolutionary War.

         In 1778, in the county of Amelia in the colony of Virginia, David Motley Ellington enlisted to fight the British in the colonies’ fight to gain independence. He chose to leave his father’s plantation and take up arms for the cause which stirred his desires to live free from the restrictions and rules set down by a distant ruling hand. His decision would lead him to engage in some of the most definitive battles of the Revolution and view, firsthand, the culmination of all the colonists’ struggles to achieve independence.

         Our glimpse into the wartime experiences of David Motley Ellington is gained from a review of the extensive Pension Application package on file in the archives of our nation. It was not until 7 June 1832 that Congress passed an Act that permitted those who gained our independence to seek remuneration for their unpaid services. By that time, most of the patriots were already dead or so aged they required assistance to make application. Such was the case for our David, who had been “afflicted with a long spell of sickness, which has almost deprived him of recollection” as attested to by one of the many who attempted to support his appeal for benefits. Yet, David made application for his pension on 17 March 1834 in the county of Crittenden, Kentucky. Your author has reviewed the package and transcribed the text of the original application (extractons from which appear below this narrative.) From the text of the original application and the attestations appended to his various appeals, a picture of his participation in the Revolutionary War has been gained. For, whether or not the government clerks took the time to review records and justify payment to the many applicants for the monies, it is clear that David Ellington’s claims are supported by those who knew him and the parties involved with him before, during, and after the War.

         My narrative, therefore, shall include phrases directly from great grandfather Ellington’s application with details concerning the battles that have been shared by historians through the centuries since.
States that he Enlisted in the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated, to wit, Enlisted under Captain Pain in the County of Amelia in the State of Virginia, in the year of 1778, and marched under said Captain Pain to the State of Pennsylvania and joined the Fourth Regiment then commanded by Col. Howard,
          Almost immediately after enlisting, Ellington’s Virginia militia was marched to the nearby state of Pennsylvania. The Continental Army was in a state of almost constant disruption due to loss of troops from enemy fire, abandonment of posts, and health issues arising from the severe winter, inadequate nourishment, poor water sources, and exhaustion. Shortly after becoming a part of the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment, that regiment was disbanded and the surviving troops folded into a different command. On 3 December 1780, Daniel Morgan returned from retirement and accepted command as Brigadier General in the Southern Campaign. He met with Gen. Nathaniel Greene at Charlotte, North Carolina to establish strategic plans. It was determined that Greene would split his troops into three groups, giving Morgan command of those who would forage for food and supplies for the main body of troops and enemy harassment in the backwoods of South Carolina. Due to the small size of his command, the tactic would be harassment but avoidance of major skirmishes. Ellington was among the sharpshooters from Virginia who would follow Morgan’s command. (It should be noted that there is no record of the “Capt. Pain” referenced in the original application. About this time, in Virginia and the other colonies, a little pamphlet titled Common Sense was being circulated. This was a powerful and well-written document written by Thomas Paine, newly arrived in America in 1774. The name of Thomas Paine was then and is now closely associated with the causes of the colonists that sparked the Revolutionary War. Many enlistees were inspired to do so after either reading the pamphlet or hearing one of the impassioned speeches quoting from it. Perhaps this is why the name of “Capt. Pain” arose in the Pension Application of David Motley Ellington.)

         The 4th Regiment commanded by “Col. Howard” must refer to the 4th Regiment, Maryland, commanded by Col. John Eager Howard, which was present in Pennsylvania at this time. This is another group that fluctuated in size and nomination depending upon the vagaries of war. Ellington’s company would be absorbed by those following Daniel Morgan.
States … that he enlisted under the said Captain Paine for and during the war, and after he was attached to the said fourth Regiment in the State of Pennsylvania he was marched to the State of South Carolina under the command of General Morgain (sic)
         As Gen. Morgan continued the campaign of harassment of enemy troops, Ellington engaged the enemy on December 30, 1780, at Hammond’s Store in Abbeville County, North Carolina. On the following day, Tories and Brits were engaged at Williams’ Plantation in Newberry County. On 3 January 1781, the traitor Benedict Arnold attempted to land the troops aboard his ship at Hood’s Point on the James River in Virginia. This engagement may have been one that helped British General Cornwallis to identify Morgan’s location.
States … to the Cowpens where he had a severe Battle with the Brittish and Tories in which Battle we had a victory;
         Cornwallis had been made aware of Greene splitting his troops into three groups and decided to match the strategy by similarly separating his units. He set Colonel Banastre Tarleton to track down Morgan with the intent of annihilating his diminished unit. When Morgan learned Tarleton was trailing him, he chose to depart from the agreed strategy and, after conferring with his officers who had engaged Tarleton before, determined to directly confront him. Morgan chose his location carefully and mapped out a unique and creative battle tactic which has been described by one military historian as “the only new and creative battle strategy employed by either army.”
Illustration: A famous painting, depicting the convergence of Colonel Washington's cavalry, the Virginia sharpshooters under General Morgan, and the "fleeing" Continental troops, surrounding and soundly defeating the British army under Colonel Tarleton.

         From the website:American Revolution Website is a wonderful description of the Battle of Cowpens: Battle of Cowpens

         "The Battle of Cowpens" January 17, 1781. After Gates had been defeated at Camden, the Continental Congress authorized General Washington to appoint a new commander of the Southern armies. Washington selected General Greene, who had recently resigned as Quartermaster General. Greene headed south. Upon his arrival, Greene split his small army, sending General Morgan to western South Carolina to menace the British troops and attempt to threaten British Post 96. Cornwallis responded by sending Colonel Tarleton, with about 1,000 soldiers, to Post 96. There, he received further orders from Cornwallis to seek out and destroy Morgan's forces. Morgan had 600 Continental soldiers and seasoned Virginia militiamen, together with another 500 untrained militiamen. He decided to remain and fight Tarleton. Morgan placed his soldiers on a gentle but commanding hill, deploying them in three lines. The most reliable soldiers among the Continental troops and Virginia militia were placed just forward of the crest. Below were two lines of militia, the furthest forward being the best sharpshooters. Morgan did not expect that they would be able to stand against a line of British regulars, so he gave them explicit orders that they were to fire three rounds and then run to the place where the horses were being held. Morgan placed 130 mounted men in reserve under Colonel Washington. At 4:00 AM, Tarleton's forces broke camp, and Morgan was duly notified. At 8:00 AM, Tarleton reached American lines. Morgan went up and down the line repeating the famous words: “Don't fire until you see the white of their eyes!” A fierce cry went out from the British forces: Morgan responded loudly, “They give us the British Hallo, boys. Give them the Indian Hallo, by God!” A wild cry went out from the Americans. The sharpshooters took aim and fired. They did their job, firing two or three times and running back to the second line. The British continued to advance and, as the second line began to fire, the British began to run up the hill with bayonets ready. The second line fled. British dragoons then tried to cut down the fleeing Americans. Just then, Washington's cavalry appeared and chased away the British cavalry. Morgan was awaiting the militiamen where the horses were, and he managed to turn them back around toward the battle. Meanwhile, the final line of Continentals was holding off the British. The tactical situation forced them to retreat slightly. Tarleton thought the battle had been won, and he ordered a general charge. As they charged, Morgan ordered the retiring force of Continentals to turn and fire. At the same time, the militiamen were coming up on the left. Once the British were halted in their tracks, the Americans began charging with bayonets. Just then, the militia attacked from the left, and Washington's cavalry attacked from the right. In what would become a classic military victory, one of the most famous of the war, the entire British force was captured. The British had lost 910 men, 110 killed and 800 taken prisoner, as well as all of their supplies. The American lost only 73 people, 12 killed and 61 wounded.”
Illustration: The Battle of Cowpens was a decisive American victory that turned the course of the Revolutionary War in the South. Here Morgan gave the order" "Don't fire until you see the white of their eyes!"

          The story of David Motley Ellington’s service in the Revolutionary War is so lengthy that, in order to pay it due justice, I have chosen to separate the information into two columns. Therefore, next month’s column will continue with the story of his courageous service and will also include information concerning service by the other Ellington family members. Stay tuned!
Researched and compiled by author.

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Cooking with Rod

Hamburger Steak with Onions and Gravy/H3>

         This is one of my favorite meals, as prepared by my sweet wife, Melinda. She first prepared this for me when we lived in Guthrie, Oklahoma, some 25 years ago. She was kind enough to provide the recipe to me and I must give her credit for it.

         We have so many fond memories of our time in Guthrie at the old home place known as Yonder Hills. It was a wonderful time with family and friends in a beautiful place and this recipe reminds me of all those things.

         Bon appetit!

  • 2 lbs. ground round steak
  • ½ tsp. Celery Salt
  • ½ tsp. Ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 2 large onions, prefer Vidalia or Spanish, sliced ¼” to ½” thick
  • 1 15 oz. can Beef broth, unsalted
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 stick butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ tsp. Ground black pepper
  • 1 pkg. Lipton Onion Soup mix
  • Water as required by soup mix
    1.   Season ground round steak (best flavor!) with celery salt, black pepper and a scant sprinkle of garlic powder. Brown well on first side in preheated heavy skillet.
    2.   Turn and top with a couple of large onions, sliced ¼” to ½” thick. Pour in the dash of Worcestershire sauce a cup or so of beef broth. Cover to smother and let onion flavor infuse the steaks.
    3.   When browned well on second side, remove onions and meat from skillet.
    4.   Stir pan with wooden spoon to scrape browned goodies from the bottom of the pan.
    5.   Add a stick of butter and stir while it melts.
    6.   Add half cup of flour, season with a dash of ground pepper and stir while it thickens and flour roux loses its raw flour flavor.
    7.   Now, I add a package of Lipton onion soup mix and the amount of water it requires. Stir thoroughly until soup mix is done.
    8.   To this add the caramelized onions previously removed from pan. Stir to heat. Serve this gravy over ground round steaks and mashed potatoes.
This meal is perfected by a cold crisp salad and bacon seasoned green beans, hot rolls with butter and iced tea.

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Irish Eyes

Epic Ireland, Census, And Famine Pots

"If the King asks you to form a Government you say 'Yes' or 'No' not 'I'll let you know later' "
- Clement Attlee.
There has been a lot of “I’ll let you know later” going on since the end of February.
 Now, at the time of writing,
exactly nine weeks after our election
it appears that they are getting close to
cobbling together some sort
of a minority government.

And that able Kerry politician,
Michael Healy-Ray, is hotly tipped for
the position of Minister for Rural affairs.

      I spent last Sunday evening filling out a Census Form in which, it appeared, I had to give every detail about myself. Apart from my inside-leg measurement! (One letter-writer to a national newspaper suggested that the next census should include the question, “Have you been offended by any question in this census.”

In this year when Ireland as a country is commemorating the people who fought and died in the 1916 insurrection many other aspects of Irish history are being aired.
EPIC Ireland which is described as a “dramatic 21st Century visitor experience showcasing the unique journey of the Irish people around the world through the ages,” is centrally located in the vaults of the 1820 CHQ building. It has twenty one galleries, using cutting-edge interactive technologies which will enable visitors to explore the many tales of migration, the forces that have driven it, and the impact that it has had on the world. This is the authentic and epic story of 10 million journeys and the roots of 70 million people, told with memorable style and passion.
If you are in Dublin any time for EPIC Ireland must be included in your visit. It is located at the heart of Dublin, at Custom House Quay on the River Liffey, the original departure point for so many of Ireland’s emigrants. This is Ireland’s 21st century visitor experience, telling the story of 10 million journeys and the roots of 70 million people.

      Visitors will be taken on a journey that starts on the island of Ireland and ends with the global presence of the Irish today. The exhibition occupies over 40,000ft2 / 3,716m2 and is spread across the 21 galleries, and brings to life the story of Ireland’s communities overseas - past, present and future – in a way that is highly entertaining, engaging and educational. EPIC Ireland is a recommended first stop for visitors to Ireland as it captures an authentic and widely encompassing picture of the history of Ireland and the Irish nation. It acts as a ‘jumping off’ point for visitors and locals alike, suggesting onward connections to other centres and museums where visitors can follow-up particular areas of interest in more detail. Visitors begin their journey by receiving a stamped passport as they enter the exhibition. They will follow a path through the 21 remarkable galleries organised into four thematic groups,. This experience is an introduction to Ireland and the arrivals and departures that have shaped it, why people left Ireland and the stories of adventure and tragedy. Also the influence that Irish had overseas, and the extraordinary part they have played in their adopted homelands in politics, business, science, sport and the arts.

       Still on the subject of Irish history, Irish Famine Pots have brought out a documentary titled appropriately enough The Famine Pot which is now available on DVD. It tells the story of this grim period in our history. It includes footage of areas which were worst hit by An Gorta Mor and features interviews with historians, Professor Christine Kinealy, Rob Goodbody, Dr Ciaran Reilly, Sean Beattie, Rev. Jack Lamb, Dr Gearoid Moran and Colum Cronin. Matthew Jebb, director of the National Botanic Gardens gives a scientific account of the nature of the potato blight.

      The DVD is now available. Details and price from:

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Consider This

Pocket Pachyderm

      I have an elephant in my pocket. Really, I do! He’s been in all my pockets for years except for when I lost him once and for when my pockets are too short and I’m afraid he’ll fall out and get lost again. He is so far nameless and I love him. Do I think he brings me good luck? Dunno. I’ve never believed in talismans. We either have good luck in life or we don’t, but a little nudge I think, in the direction of “what if??” in the form of a lucky stone or coin or whatever, can’t hurt, right? So I have my little elephant. He’s about a half inch high, an inch long, he’s silvery and yes, his trunk is raised.

      Does an upward trunk on an elephant bring good luck? Word out there is yes. Elephant statues and charms and things are popular all over the world and in some places it’s believed that one should always buy an elephant picture or carved icon and place it facing one’s front door, trunk up, to keep good juju in and bad juju out. Those things will bring the occupants success, longevity and much knowledge, not to mention providing stability and wisdom and chasing away all negatives. Is all this true? Who am I to judge? After all, I carry a pachyderm in my pocket!

       Word is that the raised trunk brings good fortune, but if lowered, not so good. Some say that if you happen to pass a stray elephant on your way to Hannaford or somewhere, and its trunk is upright, you are pretty much in clover, maybe even for life, so make an effort to cross directly in front of one of those magnificent, intelligent animals. It’d be kinda prudent.

      Anyone remember elephant hair bracelets? Very popular back in the day. They were supposed to bring good luck and great wealth and babies or something. I was skeptical. It made me think about those believers who wear a shark’s tooth around their necks and jump into chum-filled waters knowing absolutely they’ll be protected. I’ll give you one guess about who’ll not surface that day. At least elephants never ate people who wore elephant hair bracelets, none that I ever heard of at least, and one hopes it didn’t cause the great beasties any pain to sacrifice their hair for human adornment ala mode.

      The great tragedy about these wonderful sensitive family oriented animals is that they’re being ruthlessly slaughtered by poachers for their tusks, their huge bodies left to rot where they fall. I try to think about those poachers; maybe they are horribly poor with children to feed and they have no other means of income, but it’s extremely difficult to be sympathetic when it comes to poachers. And why is there still a market for ivory tusks? By themselves they are just teeth. But they’ve always been desired for carvings because it is beautiful, ages well and doesn’t splinter. Fabulous ornate ivory carvings are in museums all over the world.

      When I was growing up all pianos had ivory keys. Now when I look at an ivory keyboard and think those keys once were in the heads of gorgeous, intelligent animals, beasts who can be trained to use tools and to help humans the way we’ve always used animals, wondrous beasts that were tortured for centuries into performing humiliating circus tricks, animals that loved and protected their babies and other elephants,--- well it’s hard to play the piano on those keys. Of course I can’t play anyway, but that’s not the point, is it?

      And elephants do in fact have long memories and are superbly intelligent; they are emotional, and even Aristotle, the ancient Greek philopher, wrote that elephants surpassed all other animals in wisdom and could express grief and compassion. They also have the largest brains of all mammals, and know how to use them. We could learn from “effaluntz,” as all little kids call them. But will we? Does my little pocket elephant bring me good luck? Who knows? I’m not even sure if she’s a girl or a boy elephant, although I’m leaning toward girl. Anyone have any suggestions about what I should name her?

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.