Wednesday, April 06, 2011

how one thing leads to another

hoping the tulips hang on until our open house on Saturday

In the spirit of spring cleaning yesterday, I was following the advice of this blog post.

I spent a few hours applying Old English lemon oil to several pieces of antique furniture, including an ash table made by Pat's great-grandfather. Bringing the wood back to life and seeing the beautiful grain was very gratifying.

It also led to a trip into the past.

We have a lot of documentation of the life of Pat's great grandfather. The business he owned, the men he hired - including a couple of brothers - you may have heard of them - Wilbur and Orville Wright. Oscar was in the Wright place at the Wright time (har har) and got to witness history in the making. In fact, Pat's great grandfather was a pallbearer for Wilbur.

Once that piece was done, I moved on to a oak case with glass doors - once upon a time was a 'museum' for bits of nature that Pat and his brother collected. It currently holds various pieces of china and earthenware - some belonging to my grandmother, some to Pat's and some handsome pottery made by my brother-in-law. Still a museum of sorts.

The next furniture polished was a sturdy pine bookshelf. Pat's parents commissioned a Northwoods furniture maker to make this for us soon after Nathan was born.

One of the (unread by me) books on this shelf intrigued me. An old book, the copyright read 1899. The inscription was to Pat's maternal grandmother and was signed by Jessie Landis. Pat's grandmother would have been 8 when she received this book.

And that name Landis rang a bell. Jessie was ( I think) a daughter in law of Jacob Landis (see entry for March 6, 1862). Jacob served in the Union army during the Civil War. We have a 6 page letter dictated by him to Wilbur, his son ( I think) in 1923. This letter describes the battles he engaged in and the wounds he received. I will have to do some checking, but he is either Pat's great-great-grandfather or his great-great uncle.

After all the furniture was polished I sat down and read the book dedicated to Pat's grandmother The Birds' Xmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin (the author of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm). It is a sweet, sentimental story and a quick read. I'm sure Pat's grandmother enjoyed it very much.

With the furniture polished and the book read, the next job was grocery shopping, supper fixing and supper eating. After those tasks were accomplished my thoughts returned to Jacob Landis, our Civil War soldier. I dug his letter out of an antique dresser (also polished earlier) and decided to transcribe it. I can share it with you another day if you are interested.

I'm sure Jacob, who enlisted in 1861, never dreamed that a distant relative by marriage, 150 years later, would type his war musings into a Word document on such a thing as a computer. Or that you would google his name and find him on the web.

Interesting how one thing leads to another.


momawake said...

Thanks for sharing your family history. It's fascinating!

Cheri said...

Thanks, momawake. We think so!