Sunday, September 1, 2019

Editor's Corner

September 2019

"Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration.
The rest of us just get up and go to work.”

-Stephen King

Fall - the first day thereof, has arrived with a dawdling, frightening hurricane southeast of the Bahamas christened Dorian. Dorian may become an accronyn for indecision, which is what a lot of us face when it comes to getting busy and doing what we were meant to do. May Dorian glide harmlessly into the more northern reaches of the Atlantic dispesing its strength harmlessly.

Although it is Labor Day (to be celebrated the 2d on Monday) and as the Stephen King quote tells us how to do it, the extreme heat of August, triple digits reaching 114 locally, has sapped much of the get up and get it done inspiration one usually finds in the dregs of the end of any month. This year we are still digging thru the dregs, but at least some of our authors found the gumption to persevere and we are happy this day of publication has finally arrived.

We welcome the story by Trudy Green Stiers, "The Awakening." She courageously learned to extricate herself from a serious domestic issue, and is a source of encouragement to many in similar situations.

Marilyn Carnell (Sifoddling Along) discusses how her dislike of deadlines is actually a blessing in disguise. LC Van Savage (Consider This) tells us about her Heroes. Judith Kroll (On Trek) discusses Unconditional Love's meanings in daily situations and has a lovely essay to her Daddy.

Thomas F. O'Neill (Introspective) has a column about - surprise - education, which is only natural as he just returned to China for his teaching role. This time it is for higher grade aged students. Mattie Lennon, catches us up on who won what and what for at the literary convening and also keeps tabs on celebrities and a couple of Ironman hopefuls.

Melinda Cohenour (Armchair Genealogy) goes waaay back with some family history on a brother in law's side, which makes sense as his son lives with her now. The almost unreal true tale of Dr. Peter Gunsolus, forebear of Bobby Crowson.

Rod Cohenour is a bit snowed under with family needs so we proudly offer an Encore Presentation of aoways true cooking info from the late Leo C. Helmer. Of course thinking of Leo reminded your editor how he loved being an Honorary Lifetime member of the Light Crust Dough Boys western music group and that made me want to check in on what they are up to these days, so - The article is all about letting you know that they have a big October 4th date for an appearance in Granbury at that lovely Granbury Live performance place. Read all about it in "Granbury Live! Light Crust Dough Boys."

"Get Ready to Travel" is the singly offered poem by Linnie Jane Joslin Burks, written as she was returning to the USA from Ibadan, Nigeria. Bud Lemire has four poems this issue: "Auntie Fish," "Listen To Your Body," "My Dad," and "The Life That You Touch." John I. Blair's trio of poems are "Pointer," "Need," and "Each Hour." Bruce Clifford shared "Missing Out." Keith Vander Wees has been so busy with art projects that his composing poetry had been lagging. In this issue we show one of his art projects that combines his poetic talent and it and others similar can be found where he markets them. Here is the link to his website so you can view his beautiful work. The picture at the bottom of this column is of Keith and Elaine. Perhaps she inspired his poem "Healing Words."

Michael Craner, our co-founder and webmaster is the key to our well being, our equilibrium, our dreams. Thanks again, Mike!
See you in October!

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.


Encore Presentation: Cookin' with Leo


What Am I Supposed To Do With All Them Little Bitty
Tins and Jars Of Sawdust Lookin' Stuff?

I know all my redneck pals, ain't up on all that there fancy stuff I got in my kitchen. Like all the cute little bottles and jars of stuff on a spice rack hangin' on the wall. Well, way back when, when I was practicin' poisonin', or whatever it was I thought I was doin'. And, even way back, long before my cook-out and BBQ'n buddies, and my Dear Sweet Italian Fairy Godmother made known unlimited wisdom to me, I didn't know what all them things was either. Sure, I saw my Ma and Grandma use some of that stuff in the kitchen, but when the goodies got to the table, if it wasn't quite up to taste, then I added salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, whatever to sorta' spice it up. Well, them days is gone forever, and now with my immeasurable knowledge about all the herbs, spices, condiments, an' such, I thought I oughta' pass on some information to the willing, waiting, world, wherever, that is, if it is ready for such important information as I may impart, whatever. So, ya'all pay real good attention to these words of wisdom, ya'heah. I ain't gonna' get too technical too often, after all this here is a redneck DIY helpful hints column, not a Cooks class on condiment coating, whichever. And, not only that, my business agent tells me that if I start to get carried away in such top-notch technical terminology that I probably would have to join the NEA, whichever, and start teachin' at some College of Culinary Cuisine, an' that he hadn't developed a dealing with deans of such domains.

So, let's just start with some simple spices that every good griller uses.

Anise: Use fresh leaves to spice up salads. Store the dried seeds in airtight containers, they spice up cookies, sweet rolls, and sweet breads.
Basil: Sweet and fragrant leaves, no Italian cook leaves home without it, good in soups, meat sauces and such, fresh leaves can be added right to meat and spaghetti sauce. Usually dried and cut and packed in little airtight containers. Keep out of sunlight.
Bay Leaves: My Dear Sweet Italian Fairy Godmother told me that in ancient Rome the victorious soldiers were given woven garlands of Bay Leaves to crown their heads (she also said Caesar was assassinated not long after being crowned), The leaves probably helped to get rid of the smell of the heat and sweat of the battle, until they could get a bath, however I didn't push for further details. For the most part nowadays, a couple of leaves of dried Bay will smooth the taste of soups and gravies as they cook, discard from the finished dish. Keep leaves dry in airtight containers.
Caraway Seed: A great gourmet flavor for cakes, cookies and candy making. I also flavor sauerkraut and German Potato Salad with the seeds. Keep sealed in airtight jars.
Catnip: (doesn't have a thing to do with litter boxes) Use fresh or dry Catnip in Tea. Store dried leaves out of sunlight in airtight containers.
Chervil: Wake up the flavor of Beans, red beans and rice, and Cajon dishes. Some folks even use it in yogurt. Store dried leaves in an airtight container in a dark place.
Chives: Fresh cuttings add flavor to almost any dish. Use in salads, sprinkle into eggs when scrambling, good in soups and sauces. Plant some right outside your kitchen door and snip off fresh cuttings to flavor your meal. Cut and dried chives lose flavor fast. Will last a little longer in airtight containers in the fridge.
Comfrey: Use fresh cut leaves in salads and tea. Dried cut leaves can be stored in airtight containers in the fridge.
Coriander: Recipes for fruit salad, pickles, stew, and chili dishes have a special taste with coriander. Cut, dried, and sifted, it will keep in a container on your spice rack.
Dill: Not only is Dill decorative, but seeds are used in favorite pickle and relish recipes. It can also be used with cooked vegetables. Seeds can be kept on the spice rack.
Fennell: Use fresh leaves as garnish. Great in salads. Many recipes call for Fennell as a flavor enhancer. Seeds can be kept on the spice rack.
Garden Cress: A garnish for salads and platters. Not to be confused with Water Cress. Use fresh cuttings. It is also called peppergrass, the curled leaf varieties are most favorable.
Garlic: Always buy fresh Garlic Pods. The best Garlic comes from California, however China has been flooding the market with shipped in pods which are stale by the time they get here. The California Pods are beautifully white, whereas shipped Pods have a yellow cast. Keep the pods in airy containers. Garlic jars with holes cut in the sides are available at gourmet cooking supply shops. This is another spice that no Italian cook leaves home without. It can be used with any dish. Besides cooking with it, a toe of garlic with a Medal of the Blessed Virgin tied around my neck keeps my Dear Sweet Italian Fairy Godmother away for long periods of time. Some times it keeps everybody away for long periods of time. On the other hand eating it also keeps cholesterol away from me too. Dried flakes or powder can be stored in containers on your spice rack. When buying flakes or powder avoid Garlic Salt which is mostly salt with a hint of Garlic aroma, and little flavor. Crushed garlic heated in melted butter is a great baste for a grilled steak, and is also good to coat cooked noodles, or other pasta. Sliced French bread lathered with butter and lots of garlic flakes and toasted in the oven goes along with any meal.
Horehound: Use fresh leaves in tea or in syrup. Keep dried leaves sealed in airtight containers.
Lemon Balm: Makes a refreshing addition to chicken, fish, or lamb. Use the fresh leaves for tea and cooking with other recipes.
Lemon Verbena: The leaves have a fresh lemon scent Use in drinks or add to stuffing.
Marjoram: Snip fresh leaves as needed for flavoring. Dried leaves should be stored in airtight containers.
Mint: There are several varieties, most popular are, apple mint, orange mint, spearmint, and peppermint. Another plant you can grow right outside the kitchen door and snip off leaves as needed, Fresh sprigs flavor drinks, tea, or add leaves to salads. Grill lamb chops with fresh leaves of mint. Dried leaves will keep in airtight containers.
Nutmeg: Usually can be obtained as a whole nut about the size of a pecan, they will keep for some time, sealed and out of the sunlight. I use a little nutmeg grater with a flip top that holds a nut and grate it right into soups or gravies, a great flavor enhancer. Ground nutmeg can be bought in small containers and kept on your spice rack. Sprinkle ground nutmeg on eggnog. Grate it on top of omelets. Sprinkle nutmeg on top of waffles and then lather with butter and jelly instead of syrup
Oregano: Known also as Wild Marjoram. Flavor stews and meat sauces with Oregano. Usually dried, cut and sifted, store in airtight containers on your spice rack.
Parsley: Another plant that can grow outside the kitchen door. Snip the fresh sprigs as needed. Can be used in salads soups and many dishes. Cut and dried flakes can be stored in airtight containers and kept in the fridge to help keep their flavor.
Rosemary: Another Italian favorite for meat sauces, gravies, soups, and stews. Keep it on your spice rack in airtight containers.
Sage: Adds a distinct flavor to stuffing and cooked green vegetables. Keep leaves or trimmings in airtight container.
Tansy: Can be used with fish, beef, lamb and pork recipes, It can also be used to flavor omelets. Some folks may find it bitter to their taste so try it for yourself and then adjust to your recipes. Dry flowers are used in arrangements and potpourri mixes.
Tarragon: Use the French Varity to flavor your recipes for better taste. Store in airtight containers on your spice rack.
Thyme: Mix it into your BBQ sauces that you use and use it in marinades. Bees love the stuff, so when grilling meat on your BBQ pit the aroma may attract some unwanted guests. Store in airtight containers away from light.

Ok, there you have it for now. Most spices bought in a super come in little jars and containers that are usually quite costly for what you get. The best way to get spices is to grow the simple ones in your yard, such as mint, parsley, chives and little green onions. The clippings from these plants are always useful in any dish or salad mix. Other spices that you do not use much of should be bought fresh from a spice shop. You can buy small amounts there in small plastic bags and use almost immediately in the recipe at hand, besides being cheaper that way, you will not be disappointed when using fresh spice as opposed to using something you haven't looked at for a year just because a recipe calls for it.
The main thing in preparing recipes that call for spices is to read and check your recipe first. See that you have the necessary spices and condiments called for and see that they are fresh. Spices stored on a spice rack or in your pantry for long periods probably should be tossed. Using old dried out, flavorless dust and powder will be a disappointment to your expected outcome. And as I said some things can be grown right outside the kitchen door These kind are the most often used anyway.

So Spice Up your Cookin'

This has been an Encore Column Presentation of Always True Cooking Info.
The late Leo C. Helmer

Armchair Genealogy


The Amazing Life of Dr. Peter Gunsolus

      Researching my ancillary lines, this amazing story caught my attention. Seeking proof of Native American ancestry (long suspected and part and parcel of the Crowson family lore), I found instead an ancestral line filled with the stuff of legends. This is the story of Dr. Peter Gunsolus and his line’s heroics from the time of their migration to Colonial America.
Indiana Weekly Messenger
December 2, 1874
"Dr. Peter Gunsolus, says a Texas paper, now residing in the neighborhood of Fort Griffin, and who is seventy-six years old, stout, and hearty, who has lived on the frontier the greater portion of his life, informed us that he was now living with his sixth wife; married a young girl each time; has fifty-four children, forty-eight of whom are still alive, and scattered from here to the Pacific, and are doing well."

      Early in my research into the life and times of Dr. Peter D. Gunsolus, other historians indicated his family originated in Canada. In my attempt to determine whether or not the Gunsolus family were of the Algonquin or other Canadian Native American tribes, I ultimately discovered quite a different story. From A History of the Kuykendall family since its settlement in Dutch New York in 1646 [Chapter XIV. Cornelius Kuykendaal, his family record, with comments and explanations] comes the following story:

      “The marriage of Leur Kuykendall and Lena Consales brought together the Kuykendall and Gunsaulus families, in marriage for the first time. A brief sketch of the Gunsaulus family will now be interesting, and will aid us in understanding the Kuykendall genealogy. While gathering data for this work, as previously stated, there came letters to me from some of our people that mentioned the name Manuel, or Emanuel, as having been borne by some of their forefathers. In reading the “History of Sullivan County, N. Y.” written by Quinlan, we find him quoting from a manuscript history of that county, written by a Lotan Smith, part of which follows:

      “About the year 1700 Don Manuel Gonsalus, a Spanish puritan, a young man fled from Spain, on account of persecution for his Protestant sentiments, married into a Dutch family at Rochester, in Ulster county. He moved to Mamakating Hollow, built a log house and entertained those who carried wheat to the Kingston market. Wheat, rye and corn were raised in abundance in Minisink, along the Delaware. Gonsaulus was a house carpenter, made shingles and raised some grain. He opened trade with the Indians, as they were friendly at that period.”

      Manuel was a name transmitted for generations in the Gunsaulus family and the name Joseph, also. The tavern and mill of the Gunsaulus people were the first in Sullivan county. Here in Mamakating the family lived for many years. The first mention of the name in the Kingston church records was Nov. 16, 1694, when Manuel Gonsales and Marritje Davids had their son Manuel baptized. This is probably the Manuel that is buried about two miles above Wurtsborough, N. Y. Daniel [MEC NOTE: believe this should be Manuel?] was captured by the Indians, when a child, and carried off by them, and adopted by the wife of an Indian chief. But he succeeded afterwards in escaping and returning home. His wife was Elizabeth Kuykendall, of Mamakating, a woman of abundant courage and sufficient physical ability to back it up…There were, in early days three Manuels Gunsaulus at Mamakating, supposed to be grandfather, father and son. They had lived at Kingston, before moving to Mamakating, and must have known the Kuykendall family there. This same branch of the Gunsaulus family were the ancestors of Ref. Frank W. Gunsaulus, of the Armour Institute.”

      This branch of the Gunsolus (with many, many variations of spelling through the years) is rife with stories of dramatic and unusual experiences. Various family members have been commemorated from time to time for the courageous undertakings and for some tragic fates. It is now commonly believed this particular family descends from one man, known as the Immigrant Gaunsalus forefather:

      The Consalus family of Troy descend from a Spanish Heugonot ancestor, Don Manuel Gonzales who is believed to be the first permanent white settler of Sullivan County. He had sons who perpetuated his name. Don Manuel is said to have come from Holland in his own ship. [SOURCE: “The Consalus Family in New York”]

      After migrating from Holland to the shores of the Americas, Don Manuel wed into a prominent Dutch family. The Spanish Huguenot and his line would intermingle with various Dutch emigres through the following years, both immigrant families leaving their indelible marks of courage, perseverance, diligence, industry, and loyalty upon the new lands.

      It is quite possible that our Peter D. Gunsalus was the child of a Native American mother rather than one of the daughters of the stern and strict Protestant Dutch families, for no marriage is recorded, nor has history provided any name other than “a local maiden” as the woman who bore the child of 17-year-old Emanuel Gonsalus Duk before his marriage at age 20 to Christina VanAlstyne, a most acceptable Dutch daughter. At that point in time, the relationship of white settlers was still friendly with the local Indians. This is not, however, a fact made viable by any supporting documentation and is merely the musings of your author.

      The Gonsales (however spelled) family certainly left its mark on the frontier of New York in Colonial America. Their time was not, however, to be lived in complete peace and prosperity. There is a harrowing tale of savage attack by marauding Indians, Hell bent on revenge, apparently, that – quite literally – tore the Gonsalus family’s core group into shreds and scattered the survivors to new locations of safety. The following story concerns two generations of this family, whose lives became embroiled in the conflicts surrounding the run-up to the Revolutionary War:

      Joseph, son of Emmanuel Gonzales, married Margaret Dutcher, of Dutchess County, NY, who was a direct descendant in the forth generation of Anneke Jansen of Trinity Church litigation fame. Joseph had taken up his abode in the extreme southwestern corner of Saratoga, County, in what is now known as the town of Charlton. Previous to the revolution, he had lived on the friendliest terms with the Indians. On the breaking out of the war, however, the Gonzales family, almost the only one in that sparsely settled section that had openly espoused the cause of the colonists, became objects of especial hate to the Tories, particularly to the Scotch residents of Charlton who generally were on the side of the King. The family of the daring pioneer Joseph, consisted of his wife and four sons; Emmanuel, the oldest, was a man of great strength and had frequently bested the Indians, which further incited the hostility of the Indians and Tories. In April 1782, a party of St. Regis Indians who were returning from their winter hunting and fishing in the Adirondacks, came nearly a hundred miles south to destroy the Gonzales family before returning to Canada. Whether they were prompted by the Tory element, or to avenge their rough handling by young Gonzales has never been ascertained. Joseph, the father, with the farm hand, the eldest and two youngest sons were turning a summer fallow in the field, while the mother, daughter, and second son, David, were at the house. As the Indians came up, Joseph extended his hand in friendly salutation. The Indian responded with a blow from his tomahawk which killed him instantly. At the same time the Indians seized the hired man and the two sons, Emmanuel, by main strength broke away and headed for the nearby woods. As he was scaling the first fence he was again seized but again broke away although he was shot through the hand. As he leaped the last fence that separated him from the woods, he received a shot that killed him instantly. Joseph, the youngest son, age twelve, succeeded in reaching the house in the meantime, and David at once put his mother, sister, and brother in a wagon and escaped to Crane’s village, three miles away. This David went west and is the progenitor of those of that name, among whom is Reverend Frank Gunsaulus of Chicago, Illinois.

Historical Marker in Saratoga County near Charlton, New York, ommemorates story about the scalping and kidnapping of early Gunsolus' family members

The Indians scalped Joseph and Emmanuel, placed their scalps on a pole and taking John and the hired man, started on the long march to Canada. The sufferings of the trip cannot be told but they finally reached the capitol of the St. Regis Nation where John had his face painted and his head shaved and was compelled to carry the scalps of his father and brother through the camp. This massacre broke up the Gonzales family. Rebecca, the eldest daughter, had previously married Emmanuel De Graff, of New Amsterdam. The mother and younger children removed to Schenectady, where the mother died soon after, heartbroken over the fate of her son John. A Granddaughter of David married Commander Constable, of the United States Navy. The history of John continues in the next generation.
       (IV) John, Son of Joseph and Margaret Dutcher Gonzales, was a lad of 15 when forced to take the terrible march to Canada. He was compelled to “run the gauntlet” and forced into the British service, but he bore all the trials with true Yankee fortitude. He was employed in making cartridges, but he mixed the powder with charcoal saying: “None of these will ever harm my countrymen.” Although peace was declared about a year after his capture, he was kept in captivity two years longer, obtaining his release in 1785. He had become a favorite with some of the British officers, who offered him land in Canada if he would remain. He was eighteen at the time and pluckily replied: “All the land I want from you is enough to walk on until I get off it.” He returned to the Mohawk valley and the first relative he found was Mrs De Graff, whose descendants yet reside on a farm near Amsterdam. His father, whose tragic fate we have related, had previous to his death contracted for 1500 acres of land in Saratoga, but through his death the estate was lost. John however, on attaining his majority, bought a portion of the land a mile northwest of West Charlton, on which he and his descendants have since resided. He built the first frame dwelling in the southwestern part of the county and improved his land, bringing it to a fair condition of productiveness. In 1791 he married Dorcas Hogan of Albany who bore him twelve children, dying October 7, 1823. The change of name occurred in this generation. On the rolls of the British, kept while he was their prisoner, his name was written Consalus, and that orthographic has been retained by his descendants. [SOURCE: This story taken from a book of the history of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys in the State of New York, pages 680, 681, and 682. THE CONSALUS FAMILY IN NEW YORK

      Thus, it appears, we have the source for the legend that the Gonsalus family came to New York in Colonial America from Canada.

      It is not surprising, given the history of this determined, intelligent, and prolific family that our subject, Dr. Peter D. Gunsolus, would have lived his life by forging his own dramatic history as he ventured from his origins in New York state to his final resting place in Breckenridge, Texas. It has oft been related that Peter Gunsolus moved into each new frontier of the emerging American continent, living in each and every territory of each state ultimately forming a part of the United States BEFORE the domestication of that land was complete!

      Peter D. Gunsolus was born 10 Mar 1801 in the wilderness of New York. Without a proper Baptismal date, we are left to surmise whether he was born in Mamakating, (later Ulster County), New York where the father was enumerated in the 1790 census, or after his father moved to Broadalbin, Perth County, New York, before taking Christina VanAlstyne as his wife in Prince Edward Island, Canada in 1803. His father was Emanuel Gunsalus Duk, born 3 May 1783 in Albany, New York and died 12 Jan 1846 in Wheeler, Stuben County, New York. As mentioned above, no name has been supplied for his mother other than “a local maiden” leaving one to imagine that heritage.

      Peter Gonsalus’ grandfather was Johannes Gunsolus, born 16 May 1742 in either New York or Connecticut (depending upon which history you wish to accept), and died 6 Dec 1801 in Broadalbin, Perth County, New York.

      The first record found for Peter is the 7 Aug 1820 US Federal Census for Lawsville, Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, in a household enumerating one male aged 26 to 44 (does not equate with believed birthdate for our Peter), a female aged 16 to 25, and one free white female under the age of 10, a total of three persons total.

      A marriage is then noted for Peter with one Elizabeth “Eliza” Gunsalus, maiden name not known, and only referenced with the US Federal Census of 1830 for Lawsville, Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. This household enumeration more closely tracks the believed age of Peter: One male aged 30 to 39 (he was 29?), 2 little girls not yet 5, one girl between 5 and 9, and an adult female aged 30 to 39. Total in household: 5.

      By April of 1835, Peter has moved on. He purchases 160 acres in LaSalle County, Illinois, and completes the purchase, apparently, two months later.

      In 1838, he has “moved on” in another area of his life: he now adds another wife, named Susannah Lynn (some say Voin – although a later wife bore that maiden name and your author believes these two women’s histories may have been conflated).

      By 1840, the US Federal Census enumerates Peter’s household in Macon, Missouri. The little household now is home to four: one little boy under 5, an adult male aged (?) 20 to 29 (Peter is now 39?), one girl aged 10 to 14, and an adult female aged 20 to 29. Only Peter is engaged in agriculture.

      In 1848, Susannah Lynn Gunsolus passes away. By 18 Nov 1849, Peter has taken a new wife, Margaret Jones Davis. They are wed in Liberty, Clay County, Missouri, (a well known location for our research for our paternal line.)

      In the US Federal Census for 1850, researchers are treated – for the first time – to actual names, ages, and relation to head of household for all household members. Still a resident of Liberty, Clay County, Missouri, Peter’s household is enumerated thusly: Peter Gunsoles 41, Margarett Gunsoles 30, Eliza Gunsoles 18, James Gunsoles 12, Mary J Gunsoles 10, Fanny J Gunsoles 8, Jas Gunsoles 6, Peter Gunsoles 4, Polly A Davis 15, Matilda Davis 13, and Clarinda Davis 11. These three girls are assumed to be stepdaughters to Peter, children borne by new wife Margaret Jones Davis during her prior marriage.

      1851 finds Peter a widower yet again. Margaret Jones Davis Gunsolus has gone to meet her maker. But, Peter needs must have a mother for all those little children, so we find a marriage to Nancy Jane Stevens on 15 Jan of 1852, said marriage taking place in Clay County, Missouri. One researcher deems this wife to be Peter’s sixth. Somehow, your author must have missed two marriages if this is true, not surprising considering the dearth of records in frontier towns, the constant mobility of our subject, and the frequent misspellings that cause vital records to be overlooked.

      Although records show Nancy Jane Stevens Gunsolus to have lived until 1859, Peter has taken another wife before that time. On 31 Jul 1853, Peter marries one Susannah “Susan” Voin Jones in Laclede, Missouri. This will be his final marriage, records showing Susannah to be a constant in his remaining years. Peter is now 52 years of age. He has moved constantly from one side of the continent to the heart of the country yet being formed. A chance decision will now become a turning point in his life. As related in the newspaper report of the death of one of Peter’s daughters, one Frances “Fannie” Jane Gunsolus Lynch, (daughter of the first wife named Susannah Lynn):

      It was down on the Rio Grande, back in the California gold rush days, that Fannie J. Gunsolus, 15-year-old daughter of a Missouri doctor, en route west in search of wealth and gold, met a handsome, six-foot stranger, J. C. Lynch, returning from the Pacific coast, his wanderlust satisfied. Six months later the two were married somewhere along the river border in what is now New Mexico.

      Young Lynch an Irish imigrant had been in Texas and yearned for the "knee high grass country,” the range and the saddle, and the next year after the meeting, he persuaded the Gunsolus family to accompany him and his bride to the Lone Star state.

      The Gunsolus family settled in Stephens county, near where Breckenridge now stands and Gunsolus Creek, running near that city, was named for the British (*) doctor.

      The young Lynch couple moved into Shackelford county with a herd of cattle…and settled on Elm Creek. A dugout was their first home, and they received $15 a month and board. Later they acquired 160 acres of land at 25 cents an acre. They built a shack and started an accumulation of cattle and land that soon placed them in the forefront as ranch people in this section. More than 30,000 cattle, carrying a Lynch brand, at one time roamed the 10,000 acres of Lynch land. Thirteen years after they set up housekeeping in a dugout, they built a stone ranchhouse, now occupied by J. D. Lynch, a son and his family. There, Mrs. Fannie Lynch retained a suite of rooms, and when she was not visiting with children or grandchildren she lived in the home for which she selected the spot marked on a lone liveoak sapling nearly 50 years ago. [SOURCE: Abilene Morning News, published Tuesday Morning, January 20, 1931]
(*) Dr. Gunsolus was not British

      By 1870, the US Federal Census, shows Peter and his household at Lynch’s Ranch, Stephens County, Texas, the household members as shown: Peter Gunsolus, 66, Susana Gunsolus 35, Wm Preston Gunsolus 13, John Alexander Gunsolus 11, Sarah Irva Gunsolus 8, Soloman Gunsolus 6, Patsy Ann Gunsolus 4, Alex Brons 9 and Frances Brons 7. Your author has no idea how the Brons children fit in to the home.

      In 1880, Peter is enumerated again, this time in Precinct 4, Stephens County, Texas, with the household members: Peter Gunsolus 77, Susanah Gunsolus 47, Patsy Gunsolus 14, and Solomon Gunsolus 16.

      The following was contributed by a family researcher, concerning this remarkable man:

The attached article is from the "Albany Star" (a newspaper in Albany Texas) dated July 26, 1883...."Old Dr. Gunsolus, the oldest citizen in Northwest Texas (West of the Brazos River) was in town this week looking hale and hardy. The doctor was photographed at Burnett's Gallery and the picture to be sent to Harper's Weekly by Dr. W. I. Baird. Dr. Gunsolus is the father of 57 children and is married to his 6th wife."His 6th wife was Susannah Voin Jones Gunsolus, my great great grandmother...Earlene Humphries 4/2008
The Marker is in Breckenridge, Texas.

On 23 May 1886, Dr. Peter D. Gunsolus is noted deceased at Brushy Creek, Williamson County, Texas, with his remains interred at the Lynch Cemetery in Shackelford County, Texas. The obituary for this amazing man read as follows:

Dr. Peter Gunsolus, one of the oldest pioneers in this section, died at his residence on Brushy creek, Stephens County, Saturday night and was buried Sunday evening at the private burying grounds of his son-in-law, J. C. Lynch, in this county. He was eighty-six years old and has lived on the frontier of every territory that has become a state since Illinois was admitted in 1818. He was at one time a scout under Gen. Kerney.

      The Abilene Morning News carried news of the last surviving offspring of Dr. Peter D. Gunsolus:

Abilene Morning News (Abilene, Texas) - Abilene, Texas, July 5, 1935
Indian Fighter, 83, was son of founder of Old Picketville

    Word was received here Thursday of the death of John Gonsulus, last surviving offspring of Dr. Peter Gonsulus who was founder and physician of old Picketville, forerunner of Breckenridge. He died yesterday at 4 a.m. at the family home in Stephens County.

     His father, a lusty French-Canadian, was famous as the husband of seven wives and father of 42 children. Before moving his large family to Texas, the pioneer’s father had a frontier store on 150 acres on the site of present-day Chicago.

    Gonsulus is survived by his wife, one son, two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He was a great-uncle of C. O. Lynch, employee of the Abilene Reporter-News.

    Burial will be this afternoon at 4 o’clock on the Lynch ranch east of Albany beside the graves of his father and mother.

    He was born in 1852 in a cabin on the banks of the Stephens county stream named for his father. Gunsolus has recalled having seen or having participated in 12 Indian fights, early day stampedes, the pony express days and having made 20 trips up the Longhorn trail.

      At least one researcher attempted to pin down the actual number of wives and sired offspring to be accurately attributed to Dr. Peter D. Gunsolus. The list provided (with no attribution for the shared post) is as follows:

1. Eliza Gunsolus b: 1832 in New York
2. James (J. T. ) Gunsolus b: 1838 in Illinois (married Martha Ann Vanhooser)
3. Mary Jane Gunsolus b: 1840 in Missouri
4. Fannie Gunsolus-Lynch b: December 25, 1843 in Missouri. (married John Cornelius (J.C.) Lynch)
5. Isaiah Gunsolus b: October 26, 1844 in Missouri (married Icey Binda Ramsey)
6. Peter Gunsolus (II) b: 1846 in Missouri (married Lockney Jane Vanhooser
7. William Preston Gunsolus b: 1857 in Texas
8. John Alexander Gunsolus b: January 07, 1859 in Texas d: July 04, 1935 (married Mary Ann McNutt)
9. Sarah Ann Gunsolus b: 1862 d: March 21, 1886 in Texas (married Albert Samuel Sanford Swan)
10. Solomon Gunsolus b: 1864 d: 1885 (married Susan Pyles)
11. Patsy Ann Gunsolus b: 1866 in Tx (married Joseph Mitchell Pyles)

There were actually about 17 children sired, not all who carry his name are his seed, but rather adopted by him as he married. Some wives were widowed and some were abandoned and some were divorced. And all but the first wife and wife Jane, came with children of a different marriage. The practice of marriage for sake of convenience brought provision for their seed. They needed a Mother and a Father. It was too hard for either with children. However, If Peter D got tired of the marriage, he would leave and take the kids with him. Whether he paid off the spouse for the children remains speculation. But he claimed them all as his own.

      It is certainly worthwhile to relate the following history provided by a dearly beloved member of the Crowson family, descended from Dr. Peter D. Gunsolus:

      Dr. Peter D. Gunsolus is thought to have been born in New York around 1801, a member of the Gonsolus clan that originially migrated from Spain to the Nevertherlands and then as a part of the Dutch settlement of the New York area (New Amsterdam) of early Colonies. We are unsure exactly who Peter's father was but oral history indicates his mother was American Indian, possibly Iroquois.

We know he moved to the Chicago area early on in his life. In this area we think he participated in the "Black Hawk Indian War" and is thought to have received medical training, possibly at Rush Medical College in Chicago to compliment the herbal medicene training he supposedly acquired through his mother's people. There are records that he received land as compensation for his service in the wars to settle this area. Peter left the Chicago area moving south into Missouri in about 1840. Peter was married at least four times and had a large number of children beginning in 1832 in New York. Peter married his last wife and my great-great grandmother Susannah Voin Jones in Missouri in 1853.

Peter must have had an adventurous spirit as he only settled down after he had reached an age well after what most people consider "old" in the 1850's. Peter and Susannah after having several children in Missouri headed west to California. They made it as far as the Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory where a problem developed with the guides that were leading them west. A disagreement between one of the guides and a young Irishman, John C. Lynch led to a fist fight and parting of the ways with the wagon train west. John Lynch fell in love with Peter Gunsolus' daughter, Fannie Jane and they were married somewhere near Santa Fe. John Lynch convinced Peter that Texas had the promise they were looking for and they traveled back to the area of Texas west of the Brazos now known as Jack, Stephen, Parker and Shackleford counties (but at that time the heart of Comanche Indian country). They settled near a clear running, rocky creek called Rock Creek in Parker County.

This part of Texas was dangerous country with only nearby Ft Griffith (near Albany) and Ft. Richardson (Jacksboro) considered "partly civilized" This was the edge of the great Texas frontier and many noted buffalo hunters and badmen spent time at these forts, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and Wild Bill Hickok to name a few.

Peter was recognized as one of the first doctors west of the Brazos River and was noted as "Dr. Peter Gunsolus" in several publications in the 1860's and in the 1870 census he listed his occupation as "Physician". Life on the Texas frontier in the 1860 to the 1880's was hard and dangerous. Peter lost a son and grandson to Comanche raids in 1867 (notes from "Indian Papers of Texas").

Sarah Ann Gunsolus Swan holding Fannie Olivia Swan 1883

My great grandmother, Sarah Ann Gunsolus who married Albert Swan, was the oldest daughter of Peter and Susannah, . She died at the age of 24 when my grandmother was only 3 years old. My grandmother, Fannie Olivia (Ollie) Swan was named after her mother's half-sister, Fannie Gunsolus Lynch. Fannie Olivia Swan married my grandfather, John Goodwin Crowson.

Fannie Olivia Swan (Crowson) - mother of Johnie Randle Crowson - (Bobbie's Daddy, David and Earl's grandfather)

My father, William Earl Crowson who recently passed away at age 83, remembered visiting his Gunsolus relatives and knew Peter's son, John Gunsolus who was a noted indian fighter from the early Texas frontier days. My dad played in the clear running "Gunsolus Creek" as a youngster and this creek served as the main water suppy for many years for the town of Breckenridge Texas.

Leona Earlene Crowson Nov 2008

Grandpa Johnnie R. Crowson with Lila, Bobbie, Dorothy and Ronnie

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

The Awakening

As I looked in my mirror, my upper lip was bruised and swollen. When I touched it, it felt warm. “How am I gonna cover this?” I thought, “If I can just get through today without anyone noticing my lip. I am sure that it will look better tomorrow.”

I had gotten pretty good at covering my bruised and swollen face, but it was even harder to hide since I had started working. Work meant that I had to go out and face the world, even when I looked bad. But everyone always seemed to believe my stories about how I got hurt and no one even questioned me anymore about my bruises. In fact, the questions about my injuries had just about stopped completely. Shortly after the first few bruises appeared three years ago, it was something that I lived with at least several times a month.

Covering my bruises was hard because I hardly used makeup. I was a tiny, young woman. Only twenty-two years old and I only stand four-foot ten inches tall. I looked like I was still about fifteen years old. In fact, in Jr. High, when my friends started to wear lots of makeup, I plastered mine on too. But instead of looking mature and sophisticated, like my friends looked to me, I just looked like a little girl dressed up like a whore.

So my job this day and many days was not an easy one. I got my covering tools out and began to use my yellow concealer stick, next a little foundation. “That’s not good enough, I think, “I’ll try a little powder on it….Okay, now I have a pretty face with a big patch of spackling on it. Maybe I should powder my whole face. Should I do my eyes too? I guess not….I feel like enough of a spectacle, I’ll just wipe some of it off and put some water on the edges. I can try to blend it in…Well, that will have to do. I’ve got to get the babies ready to take to mama’s before I go to work.”

My two precious absolutely perfect babies. The oldest, Heath, was three years old and Quentin was only six months old. as I clean and dress them, I thank the Lord for giving them to me for me to love and to be loved by them.

On the long drive to my parent’s house the boys sit high in their car seats, as high as they can, stretching their little necks so they can see out of the window. They are always excited and happy to go to Nanny and Pappy’s house.

On arrival, as I get Quentin out of his seat, Heathie scrambles to get out of his little seat. My mother was always at the door waiting to see her little angels. She gave Heath a big hug and a kiss, then reaches out to take Quen from my arms. She glances at me, but Quen needs his morning love from his nanny, so she goes right to her business of getting the boys coats off and settled.

“See y’all this afternoon.” I holler over my shoulder as I hurry back to the car.

“Okay” answered both Heath and mama, little Quen just smiled at me as I turned to get in the car.

“Well, mom didn’t seen to notice, maybe today, my face looks okay.” I thought hopefully as I drove the three miles back to town. I began to feel better, even kind of forgetting about my face.

When I am at work, I am busy, with no time to think of my home life. Work to me is like another world. As long as people have a full cup of coffee and the food comes out fast enough, they are in a good mood. Anyway, I am a good waitress and all I let my costumers ever see of me is my cheerful, spunky side.

As I park my little car, I think of what a pretty clear cool October day it is. The leaves from the big oak tree are gently blowing across the parking lot. I really love the fall leaves. How can something that has dried up and fallen from their high lofty homes, still be so beautiful to me? They even make a comforting sound as I walk through them. And when people burn piles of them in the ditches by their homes, those same leaves give off a wonderful aroma.

Sometimes I feel like I am one of those leaves, slowly drying and getting smaller. I can only hope that after I die, and leave my boys, the memory of the pleasant parts of me keep blowing around in their minds and that I leave them with the aroma of hope.

As I approach the restaurant I can smell the biscuits cooking and the bacon frying, as Agnes does the prep work for the breakfast crowd. I step in the back door, I let the screen slap behind me. Agnes looks up and gives me a cheerful greeting. Then she looks at me seriously for a minute, her eyebrows raise a little as she asked, “How was your night?”

“Oh, it was okay. How was yours?” I reply.

She mumbles a few sentences about her kids and such as she looks down and continues her work.

“Do you want some biscuits and gravy for breakfast?” Agnes asked me.

“Girl, you know I do, unless you are fix in’ cinnamon rolls today.” I answered.

Now Agnes knows that I love biscuits and gravy, but her cinnamon rolls are my favorite. She looks up at me and puts her floured hands on her hips, shakes her head and smiles. “I’ll fix it.” she said, ” now you get yourself outta this kitchen, you’ve got coffee to make.”

We both laugh as I push through the big swinging doors into the dining room of the The restaurant. Early in the morning it always feels to me like Agnes and I are the only two people awake in the whole world. Agnes gets to the restaurant first, about thirty minutes before me, she turns on the lights and starts her prep work.

I head to the wait station and start the coffee to brewing, as I begin to pull the chairs from the tops of the tables. I start to think about the day, about the customers that I will probably see today. As I work, I am slowly able to close my life at home out of my mind.

It wasn’t long before I hear the doors from the kitchen swing open and around the corner came one of the restaurant owners, Stephen.

Stephen is a small, handsome man, of about thirty-three years old. He has a very dark complexion and black hair that is beginning to grey at the temples. He has a black mustache and brown eyes that seem to look right through me. Stephen carried himself with a smooth confidence that made his walk to me look like a choreographed dance. Stephen is always friendly and courteous to his employees. He had really never talked to me much, he and his mother owned the restaurant, his mother was the one who directed the wait staff.

Stephen’s father had died about ten years earlier and Stephen just fell into his father’s place in the family business.

I was a little intimidated by this handsome man who carried himself with such confidence. I would sometimes catch myself watching him out of the corner of my eye.

But this day was different…..

This particular morning, Stephen sauntered over to the coffee machine. He spoke to me as he began to fill his mug with the fresh hot coffee. As he looked up from his mug, he seemed to be studying my face. Looking at my longer than he usually did.

“What happened to your face?" He asked.

Whoa! I felt like a ton of bricks had just hit me. It had been a long time since anyone had seemed to notice my face. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. Everything that I had blocked out earlier came rushing back to me, like a flood, like a hard spray from a fire hose, nearly knocking me off my feet.

When I regained myself and slowed my heart as best I could. Stephen was still standing in front of me as he waited for my answer.

I felt like I had stopped breathing, so I filled my lungs with a long deep breath, knowing that I was not very good at lying. My heart again began to pound in my ears again and everything started to whirl about me.

“Quentin fell over onto me in the car.” I blurted out.

Stephen stared into my eyes as he slowly sat the coffee put back down firmly on the burner.

“If you think that anybody believes that your baby falls over and hits you hard enough to bruise your face as often as I see bruises, then you are not as smart as I thought.” he said, “your husband is hitting you and no woman deserves to be hit no matter what she does.”

My head suddenly stopped spinning and at that instant, it seemed like everything just fell into place. If it was so obvious to this man who I hardly talked to, why had no else suspected the abuse?

And why had I let it go on?

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

Consider This


Two Nameless Heroes

So many women, so many role models.I can’t even begin to pick my favorites or the ones I admired the most.Eleanor Roosevelt?A definite contender.I’ve read every single thing ever written about her and she was one prima first lady.What she did for America, for women, for African Americans, for all minorities during FDR’s presidency and after he died is the stuff of legends.I wish I’d known her.

Helen Keller.Sacagawea. All the women on the Mayflower. All the women who came across America in covered wagons.Joan of Arc.Marie Curie.Betty Boop. Margaret Bourke-White.Margaret Sanger. Margaret Chase Smith.Sojourner Truth. Assorted queens. The Statue of Liberty. OK, I’ll stop. You get the idea.

Who was the bravest?What woman did and do I admire the most?That’s a tough one because all of them were so very admirable.I think I’ve mentioned a couple in this column over the years, but all brave ladies deserve more ink, right? Lots more.

Two stand out for me, and I’ll tell you about them.I was re-reminded of one of them because I read a horrifying story about Donald Trump, poor darling, who had taken all the money out of some casino in Atlantic City he owned, minutes before it went bankrupt.In fact many of the casinos are crumbling and unattended at that formerly elegant seaside town.I rejoice.I went to Atlantic City as a kid and ---well, that’s for another column.

So let’s chat about the first of the two bravest women I’ve never known.When beautiful, sweet Atlantic City NJ was eyeballed by a bunch of guys with cigars, big cars, crooked noses and strangely furtive expressions, it all changed abruptly and horribly.That graceful, gracious little town became, well, Las Vegas East. Everyone had to move away.“They” took over and the old, elegant homes were flattened and hauled away like so much shattered driftwood, and in their places shot up huge, gaudy tall buildings, the floors covered with garish rugs, each gigantic room filled with every known gambling device.Every crime flourished, and the people came.

But there was one tiny flaw in the center of one of the largest, glittering dens of iniquity, looking for all the world like a small missing tooth.That biggest, tallest and most ostentatious of those buildings had a small opening at its base and in that space was a tiny house, old, shabby, and well used.It had a front porch and on that porch sat an old woman in a straight-backed chair, a look of rage on her wrinkled face and a great big blunderbuss across her lap.I’d read about her.She’d become famous over the last few years, and had been written up in newspapers and magazines, because she would not, she simply refused to sell her tiny home overlooking the beach in Atlantic City, NJ where she’d lived all her life, a home she loved almost more than life itself, where she’d raised a bunch of kids, loved a husband; it was a home, her home, and she would not sell it to the big boys who put a whole lot of threatening pressure on her to do just that.Nope.She would not go no matter how much dough they offered.

So they simply built the casino around and over her, and there she sat, every day, defying them.Da boys knew she’d die soon and then they’d go in and blast that tiny home to splinters and fill in the gap with more glitter, slot machines, bad music and fast women.She was a brave lady, sitting in that old chair.How could we not admire and love her?She’s gone now, and that missing tooth at the base of that huge casino has been filled in and smoothed over and there’s no memory of her, or a plaque nailed to the wall to speak of her bravery.But I remember her well and I have always wondered who got the blunderbuss.

Let’s now talk about the second woman.I’d guess this charming beautiful old lady had to also be in her mid-eighties.I never got to meet her and I regret that, but circumstances prevented.Here’s why; Mongo and I had driven to Maine from New Jersey to go camping in the Lamoine campground up near Ellsworth so we could enjoy Maine and our sons, and I could commence my slow, easy, just under the radar, never-knew-what-hit-him propaganda to gently ease Mongo out of his very good New Jersey job and to nudge them all into a good and new and better life in Maine. It all paid off and my work was a resounding success because in 1974, we found ourselves movin’ on up, and have never regretted it.OK, sometimes in March.

But back then, it was on one of those beautiful summer trips to Maine that we stopped somewhere in New Hampshire to grab some lunch and to then head on up to Lamoine and Paradise.

We stopped at a diner quite close to a busy traffic circle which I quickly learned in Maine is called a rotary. “Rotary” to me was a club of some sort, dictionary defined as an international service organization whose stated purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

We dined at that little restaurant right on the edge of the rotary and the cars were numerous and speeding and very loud.When we finished our meal we stood, digesting, and watched the traffic whizzing past when something colorful caught my eye through the blur of speeding vehicles.I squinted and tried to stare through the cars flying past, roaring around that rotary (or as Mainers will pronounce it, “ROE-chree”) and yes,there it was.In the center of that thundering, circling stampede of automobiles was a round patch of bright green grass and off to one side a beautiful small Victorian home, complete with gingerbread all over it and ornately carved knees, a porch swing, hanging ferns. It looked old and magical as I peered at it through the speeding cars.

But something else was there.A woman, an old woman.She had white hair and was wearing a big circular straw hat that had long silky blue ribbons around the crown and they fluttered with each passing car.She sat in a rocking chair and she was knitting. Knitting!Something pink.And while I could not see her dress very well, I could tell it was long to her toes and pale colored and it maybe had flowers on it.I think she was barefooted.What a sight! Whenever there was a break in the zooming cars I could see her face, smiling, as she bent over her knitting.I screamed “Hey! Hey!” at her but she never looked up or waved, and I wish she had.

Like the remarkable lady in Atlantic City, this too was a brave, unforgettable woman.Why was she brave and what was her story? It’s obvious.Knowing full well the mighty Highway Commission people had begun a death watch and would grab her tiny piece of her earth when she went to live with the angles, she advised the suits that she had a home, yes she knew the highway was coming through, they told her she had to move and she told them she did in fact not have to move, that she’d lived there her entire life and as sweet as she looked, those guys knew they were attempting to push up against an immovable force.That lady was going nowhere. And so just like the brave woman in Atlantic City and knowing she really couldn’t last too much longer,the bemused and pissed off men built a rotary around her little piece of property and went away, knowing it was just a matter of time.As I stared at that sweet, brave, knitting woman, loving her on her small patch of lawn next to her beloved home in the center of those whirling, roaring cars on that rotary I suspect, no I positively knew she’d firmly told the Highway Commission boys where they might consider putting their eminent domain.

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

Irish Eyes


John Cassidy, John McGahern et al

      John McGahern: Authority and Vision, edited by Željka Doljanin and Máire Doyle, is a volume of essays by a host of literary luminaries on the subject of the great late John McGahern. McGahern had his own differences with the Catholic Church yet his forgiving nature shone through in every situation. Mervyn Bragg sums it up admirably as a result of a television interview with the writer. He says “He carried his own church with him wherever he went.”

      Roy Foster on Amongst Women writes, “How far this reveals McGahern’s personal and family experience is worth exploring, and should not be too easily assumed. Denis Sampson’s work has shown how deeply Proust affected McGahern’s creative development, and the complexities of personal and family relationships are played and re-played through McGahern’s work in a closely stitched Proustian pattern, as are the re-creations of memory. From McGahern’s own memoir, we know his fascination at learning of his father’s IRA past in an official document.” from Patrick Gilligan’s painstaking work, we know the history of his father, Frank, in the revolutionary struggles, serving under the legendary Seán MacEoin of Ballinalee, and his route into the Garda Síochána as a pro-treaty IRA volunteer. We also know, from Mr Gilligan’s work, that the IRA activities of Frank McGahern more closely resembled those of the everyday foot soldiers than the spectacular adventures remembered by Moran and McQuaid.”

      Paula Meehan, in her excellent piece “Inside McGahern’s Workshop” she writes. “If McGahern ’s visions are not of the end of the world they are surely of the end of an Ireland of dancehalls and fumbled sex, the end of old decencies and hypocrisies alike.”

The Woodpile, in memory of McGahern,
Written in 2016 Paula Meehan

 We worked our way through it log by log:
three winters’ worth of heat, precious light
through the darkest nights, the darkest days.
You’d remarked you knew the very tree,
that last June you stacked them in the barn –
the silver logs in their fret of moss.
You must have had the news already
whistling from the woodpile’s finished height
your arms about your favoured black dog.

      Declan Kiberd, in the Afterword says, “In so far as McGahern’s characters think about the future, they are often distressed or even depressed about it.”

      John McGahern: Authority and Vision is a must read. Sixteen essays by great literary figures give us an unprecedented insight into their colleague.

      I think it was Freud who said that, “ . . . biographical truth is not to be had and even if it ere it couldn’t be useful.” This publication proves otherwise.

* * * * *

      Mickey MacConnell was born during a snowstorm, in Fermanagh, in 1947. He is one of our best known and prolific singer/songwriters. He has penned about 400 songs and he wrote “Only Our Rivers Run Free” in twenty minutes when he was eighteen. He is a journalist who has been married for forty five years.

      What else can I tell you about Mickey? Well, he has been living in Listowel for decades and this year he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sean McCarthy Memorial weekend. Once again the festival was a wonderful success under the Chairmanship of Jimmy Deenihan.
The Winner of The Sean McCarthy Ballad
    1. Caroline O Callaghan.___Ardfert___ Scarabhin
    2. Sean McGrath.___Galway___The Skibbereen Breeders
    3. John Kinsella.___Listowel___The Free Travel.

Winners of Mick McCarthy Story Telling Competition:
    1. Marie Gillen.___Cork___Black Opal
    2 Sonny Egan.___Lixnaw___The Hay Shed
    3. Francis Kennedy.___Listowel___Pedaling Pete.

* * * * *

John Cassidy with his wife Aine, sons Shane and Patrick, their respective partners, Sandra and Illinca and Dublin Lord Mayor.

      Sitric Mac Olaf, (nicknamed Silverbeard) whose wife Slaine was a daughter of Brian Borou, founded Christ Church, in Dublin 19 the year 1030, when he was King of the Dublin Norsemen. Why am I telling you this?. Because his descendent Paul John McAuliffe served as Lord Mayor of Dublin since June 2019. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that anyone that Paul McAuliffe is in Dublin’s Mansion House. Didn’t his ancestor Chief of the clan hold forth in Castle McAuliffe which stood on the ancestral lands of the McAuliffe clan on an elevation over the Dalua River valley outside Newmarket in the NW corner of county Cork. And speaking of great houses The Lafranchini brothers, Paul and Philip, originally from Switzerland, are famed today for their work in rococo style stucco, chiefly in the great Palladian houses of Ireland. But the father of Irish ornamental plasterwork was the late Pat McAuliffe from Listowel. He was self- taught and his external embellishments, which include rosettes, swags, flora and fauna, are to be seen in the towns and villages of counties Kerry, Cork and Limerick.

      When he retired from Dublin Bus, Donegal man, John Cassidy was presented with a scroll by the aforementioned Lord Mayor in recognition of his services to the city of Dublin.

      At the presentation Mayor McAuliffe lavished well deserved praise on John and his achievements over the years. Space doesn’t permit me to catalogue John Cassidy’s contributions, particularly to public transport and the Gaelic Athletic Association, in his adopted city.

* * * * *

      Tadhg Cowhig and Ronan Flood are taking on a 600km cycle from Ireland’s most southerly point at Mizen Head all the way to Malin Head in the north.

      The lads will depart Mizen Head at 4am on Saturday 14th September under the cover of darkness. They plan to make it to Galway that evening after approximately 12 hours in the saddle. They’ll stop in Galway for a brief overnight rest before getting back on the bikes Sunday 15th morning and pushing on to Malin head. They hope to complete the trip before dark.

      Tadhg and Ronan have competed in multiple Ironman Endurance events over the years, and this time they would like to help raise some funds for Lacken Community Centre. If you are one of the Lacken diaspora, or even if you’re not, go to this link;

      See you in October.

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

Sifoddling Along

I have a love-hate relationship with deadlines. I love them because if left alone, I would never get anything finished. With them I finish, but all too often by the skin of my teeth. This is one of those days I dislike. Too many tasks to do and deadlines are looming.

Recently I have received a great deal of support and attention due to the death of a loved one, my husband of thirty-one years – Allen E. Williams. I am so fortunate to have that loving ring of kindness from my family and friends to hold me up in my grief, but how I dread sitting down to write thank you notes. It should be easy because I am truly thankful for the many ways they have looked after me, but it is hard to focus. Sitting in my office with all the necessary pieces – lists of names and addresses, cards, envelopes, stamps, a good pen, it is difficult to stay on track for more than an hour at a time.

My mother raised me to be a good Southern lady (well, she was only partly successful, there are lots of rough edges left.) That means you get notes sent on a timely basis. So far, I have written about 30, but there are many more reminders in the basket calling me for response – thanks for visits, calls, notes, flowers, plants and attending the celebration of Al’s life.

I have stopped writing notes for the day because I like to write some personal comments on each and not simply sign my name. That seems like cheating somehow.

I have two other imminent deadlines. First is writing something to read at my weekly writing group and the other – this short essay about my lack of self-discipline and because I promised the Editor that I would write a column each month and August has slipped away almost unnoticed.

Deadlines whether external or self-imposed are a necessary part of life. They make me sweat and cry, but somehow, they also provide a useful framework that I need. I figured out why I procrastinate a few years ago. I am a closet perfectionist. If my handwriting is hen scratches, if there is a smudge on the back of an envelope, it I put on an ugly stamp, it is because of my haste in meeting a deadline and thus I can forgive myself for failing to be a perfect Southern lady.

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

On Trek

On this day, August 22,2015, AT 8:22, my father of 69 years, got his wings to fly around the universe. He has visited me in dreams, in photos he sends, in coins I find, his voice, and I saw him when he manifested himself sitting in a rocking chair where our entertainment center is. He is happy, I am happy. There are pieces of time that open to my memory when I recall moments we spent in our 69 years together. The moment when he and mom brought me a dozen red roses when I was going to sing with my chorus. The time he boiled small rubber washers and put them over a metal stitch in my lower leg, so it wouldn't poke me.

When he stood by my side and walked me down the path outside thru the Rose Arbor... where my wedding dress got stuck on the roses, and he pulled me free, so I could continue my walk to my husband to be.

He adored my children, and grand children, and entertained them with his wit and love for humor. Yes, I miss sitting on his porch, sharing a beer, and talking about anything and everything, just being. His love for life and people I stole from him. Yes, I know he is happy, but I miss his laughter, I miss his.. good thumbs up signal.

His last movie we saw together was Houdini. Time and space was ours that night. He once told me he talked to me thru the stars. He would walk out into his beautiful yard, and look up into the universe and talk to ME. Now I look up into the stars and talk to HIM. Life is truly moment to moment. Precious are the moments we share in time.
Judith 8-22-2019
Unconditional Love in Marriage
Unconditional love is known as affection without any limitations or love without conditions. This term is sometimes associated with other terms such as true altruism or complete love.

How can this unconditional love without limits, be used in a marriage? Many marriage ceremonies state that a partner completes the other partner making them whole. Each partner being a half. Then they make 100 percent. What if..each partner is a whole, and together they make 200 percent.

Each partner would never tell the other partner how to live or what to wear, or what they can do or can't do, but let each person have their free will to just BE who they are? Now before one marries, it would be good to talk out situations where you would be in agreement on..

For example, I do not believe in running around with other people having extramarital affairs. If our mate loves to read, why would we want to stop them because we feel differently about reading? We love without conditions. We don't allow them this or that. We love them without limits.

No limitations. That says a lot. So we are each a whole. We were created a whole being, we stay a whole being, and if we choose, we share our whole being with someone we can spend our life with.
Judith 8/20/19

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


I arrived back in China on August 2nd of this year and started a new teaching position at the Wuxi Foreign Language School, in Wuxi, China. Every weekend I am also teaching at a Children’s center in Suzhou. It feels great being back in the classroom with high schoolers. They are very respectful and eager to learn about our western culture. However, many of my students believe what they see in American films with all the violence and gore and what is being portrayed in American music videos is a true representation of America. I take my time to explain to them that their beliefs are farther from the truth.

American news programs with the politics of the day also portray America in a somewhat ridiculously way, especially on the world stage. The Chinese, however, still respect America’s education system even though America is now ranked 36th when comes to the global assessment scores.

I have been an American foreign teacher and taught at the Suzhou International Foreign Language School in Suzhou, China, for approximately 9 years, that was prior to returning to America. I can honestly say, I have learned a great deal from living and working in Suzhou, China, especially when it comes to China’s education system.

There has been a lot of talk about the drastic need for reforming the American education system in my home country. But, the biggest obstacle in doing so stems from the national teachers’ unions. I say this because there are plenty of teachers out there who put on the air of professionalism, but, unfortunately, they put themselves foremost, and their students are the least of their concern. These individuals seem to be the most protected under the teacher’s unions in America. The best teachers, however, are not just in it for the paycheck and benefits. What sets the great teachers apart from the mediocre teachers is their devotion to being the best teacher they can possibly be.

The Chinese go to school for long hours because they are competing not just in China, but globally. They want to study abroad because, when they come to America, most can outperform America’s students. They are not smarter than us, they are just better prepared academically.

I've gotten emails from former students of mine who have gotten accepted into American universities for graduate studies. They say their high school curriculum in China was more challenging than their university studies in America.

The majority of Chinese students have great respect for their teachers, and it's because of that reason I enjoy being in their company. That respect is vital for their overall education, and when you truly care and respect others, you will find that others will truly care and respect you. When a teacher takes the extra time to reach a struggling student, it is perceived in China as an act of kindness.

The American students, just like students from all over the world, put great emphasis on getting into the right colleges and earning the right degrees. Education, after all, does provide us with boundless opportunities, and an educated society enhances the overall well-being of its nation. If a teacher takes the time to positively impact a student's life, they are changing the world one person at a time. That kindness will be remembered long after the lesson plans are forgotten because it leaves an indelible imprint in one's heart and soul.

I have fond memories of the great teachers that revealed to me that, despite my deficiencies, I have great gifts. Our gifts and talents are further developed when we share them with others.

A teacher's kindness cannot be bought, sold or acquired academically; it can only be freely given from one heart to the other - and that can be their greatest legacy. Teachers are not only teaching; they are being taught by the lessons of life. The greatest teachers throughout history were also the greatest students when it came to those life lessons.

I have included a link describing 11 interesting facts about America’s education system.
    Always with love from Suzhou, China
    Thomas F O’Neill
    Phone: (410) 925-9334
    WeChat: Thomas_F_ONeill
    Skype: Thomas_F_ONeill

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

Get Ready to Travel

Do not lose heart,
     Tho' you're upset
And on the "bathroom trail,"
     "Tummy Palaver"
Is a common woe
     So don't you weep and wail!

That 'Lomotil'
     Will shout, "Halt --O!
Is this trip neccessary?"
     And 'Guanamycin'
Will soothe insides.
     So weak and weary.

So, rest and sleep,
     And sip that 'Coke'
(Tho' coffee would be better!)
     Board U T A
And fly away,
     But tell us all by letter.

Written to Carlene Hopkins as they prepared to leave for USA!
©Feb 8, '73 Linnie Jane Burks
Ibadan, Nigeria

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


Half lost for lack of light
A figure lurks on furred feet,
Hunched beside the bowl.

From the ears
And shape of head
I make out this is a cat.

It stares about,
Tense, poised to run,

Then settles down to eat.
Need trumps fear
Even in the night.

©2019 John I. Blair, 8/13/2019

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

Healing Words

I wish I knew a word
to help you heal inside,
a million words in a poem
that I could write.
I’d kiss your lips forever
till all the pain was gone,
the walls
from those not worthy of your love.
I held you close
and felt your heart beat to time, but,
as we lay there longer
I saw
the beating was both yours, and mine.
Can we both
create this healing
from when our lips had first touched?
Two hearts that love
so deeply,
and so deeply,
so much.

©2019 Keith Vander Wees

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



A tree that slants
Across this street
Points me home,
Marking as it leans
Where I must turn.

Through the years
It’s been mangled
Time on time
By careless hands
Yet still it lives.

Should that day come
When it disappears
I fear I will be lost
And doubt I’ll learn
My way again.

©2019 John I. Blair, 8/6/2019

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

My Dad

Marquette, on Lake Superior, in nineteen hundred and seven
Was the birthplace of my Dad, but now he lives in Heaven
Born to parents with origins going back to France
An old barn, now collapsed, is where he loved to dance

Freezing were the winters, bringing so much snow
Cardboard boxes down the hill, at thirty degrees below
Summers found him fishing down there by the lake
Then there was the moonshine that his relatives use to make

When he turned into a man, he started a family
Two daughters born, they were Dottie and Nancy
Things didn’t work right, a union turned to misery
So he was divorced to follow his destiny

Drinking played a big role, causing his family pain
Once he woke up in North Dakota, when he worked on the crane
I remember his temper, and how he’d let it go
It bothered me as a child, but I never let him know

The doctors told him to cut out his drinking trend
Or surely it would cause his entire life to end
He had many warnings, but still he never quit
Until he got much older, the wheelchair is where he’d sit

I came to know him better, without alcohol on his brain
A wonderful man inside, when he was feeling sane
Our friendship grew in his later days of life
He was married to my Mother, who was his second wife
We shared reading books, Doc Savage and The Shadow all the time
They fought so many villains, who paid for all their crimes

I shall always cherish the times when he was near
Many times I still wish, that he was still here
Although we were quite different, I loved him very much
“Dad, I’m so glad you were here, so I could feel your touch."

In memory of my Dad, Clarence Leo Lemire 1907 - 1990

©2003 Bud Lemire

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

Each Hour

I meet each of you there
Outside in the night
Vital, alive, roving
Through the garden

And think how fragile
Each of you appears,
Short in years
By human marks.

Yet each hour,
Minute, second
Of your existence
Counts as much as mine.

In the eye of time
There seems
No special merit
To my extended life,

My wide path as I go,
Except in giving me
A longer, broader look
At this sweet world we share.

©2019 John I. Blair, 8/29/2019

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

The Life That You Touch

When planning a family, remember what I say
Share all your love, for it’s the only way
A child with love, is like a seed with sunshine
It’ll grow in the light, and be blessed by the divine

Don’t abuse the new life, that’s given to you
Or darkness will prevail, in everything you do
What is learned, and taught at the start
Will leave a scar, that will never part

Wherever this soul, happens to go
It’ll carry the pain, of the memories it knows
The future all depends, on the love that you give
How they are treated, is how they will live

Be someone to look up to, make them so proud
Don’t mess up their lives, for crying out loud
The love that you give, or the love that they lack
Depends upon you, on how it’ll come back

As you sit all alone, in your old age
Wishing you could change some words on the page
The damage you did, was already done
Love was missing, now you have no one

While others are surrounded, by love that’s returned
You get back exactly what you had earned
So while you are out there, making a living
The Life That You Touch, depends on what you’re giving

©Dec 18, 2007 Bud Lemire

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

Listen To Your Body

Listen to your body, what is it telling you?
If it's telling you to rest, then it's probably true
I never use to listen, but now it's loud and clear
As your body ages, it's always good to hear
When you are young, you have energy to spare
But when you are older, you have none to share
As you age, you need to stop and rest
Your body will tell you, it's really for the best

You can't do everything, like you use to do
Your body has aged, into an older you
Nothing to be ashamed of, it happens to us each
It's something we can learn from, it's something we can teach

Listen to your body, if it's tired and it aches
It's time to take a rest, use your body's brakes
Stop and sit down, take some much needed time out
Your body is shouting STOP! And there's no time for doubt

Sometimes we forget, we aren't young any more
We keep trying to do, all the things we did before
If it's telling you to rest, then it's probably true
Listen to your body, what is it telling you?
©Aug 29, 2019 Bud Lemire
                        Author Note:
Know your limitations at every age. As you get older,
your limitations are more. Know what you can handle.
Listen to your body. If it's putting a strain on you, then
you need to stop and rest from what you are doing. It's
safe and healthy to be aware, and Listen to your body.

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


Missing Out

Missing out on the things that come into view
Missing out on dreams and a thing or two
The sky is clear, but there are clouds in the air
The sky is clear, but does anyone care

Missing out on the rights and the wrongs
Missing out on the calm before the storm
The ice is melting, but the sun continues to shine
The ice is melting your heart and mine

It’s not what we expected
It’s not freedom or fear
It’s not that we are pretending
We’re just pretending to care

Missing out on the things that could be
Missing out on the optimal degree
The water will rise, but does this come as a surprise
The water will rise in this bitter compromise

Missing out on the good and the bad
Missing out on the happy and the sad
The sky is clear, but there are fires of rain
The sky is clear, but things will never be the same

©8/3/19 Bruce Clifford

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

Auntie Fish

I recall our old Auntie Fish
With the snuff falling onto the cake dish
The piece of cake brother Jim couldn’t eat
But my brother Jay thought it tasted sweet
Every Sunday she’d come to stay
A game of Cootie, a visit for the day
We played cards, she liked them too
And I recalled things she would do

She put that snuff right up her nose
Sometimes it would fall, right on her clothes
There was a day I dressed up in disguise
As a cousin from Marquette, I felt so wise

She didn’t know which cousin I could be
And later I let her know that it was me
She would speak into my tape recorder, waiting for a reply
Her voice was what came back, she was wondering why
She didn’t realize, it was herself she heard
As she listened closely to every word

Those days so long ago have passed
But the special memories will always last
Bringing me back to yesterday
When Auntie Fish came to stay
©2003 Bud Lemire
           Author Note:
Exilia Belanger-Poisson (Auntie Fish as we called her, Poisson
is French for Fish) came over on Sundays and stayed
for dinner. We’d pass the time away playing cards
with her, or Cootie, or some other things.
She’d have some Copenhagen snuff with her
and would always be putting it up her nose.
Her Mother married my great grandfather Louis PINARD.

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