A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Happy Mothers' Day, All You Mothers.

In honor of Mothers' Day, TOF will present a parade of Mothers, starting with:

1. The Incomparable Marge, from Tulsa, OK, who is the mother of the TOFsprings, shown here in their cute-and-innocent versions:
Sara, a/k/a Dear in the Headlights

Dennis: Wait, What's Going On Here...









2. Elsie Vera Hammontree (1924-1951) of Quinton, Oklahoma 

Elsie and the Marge

From here on, pictures are few. Elsie was the daughter of....

3. Ora Vanora Harris (1901-1967) was born in Chickasaw Nation. She married one of the innumerable John Hammontrees. She mothered The Incomparable Marge after Elsie died young. Ora's mother was...

4. Sadie Frances Holland (1884-1918), who had been born in Louisiana and moved with her parents to Chickasaw Nation in 1898, where the married Charlie Harding Harris. Sadie was the daughter of...

5. Annie Eliza Helms (1861-1939), who had been born in Lee Co., Georgia of North Carolinian parents. She married Henry Thomas Holland in Louisiana, then after his death in the Civil War, moved to Chickasaw Nation.. She was the daughter of...

6. Gatsey Helms (c. 1826 - after 1880) who was born probably in Mecklenburg Co., North Carolina, married Henry Michael Helms there and emigrated to Alabama, then to Georgia.

Further than which, research falters.

TOF, meanwhile, is also the son of a mother; to wit:

1. Rita Marie Singley (1924-1993) a/k/a "The Mut," born in Easton, married Joseph Francis Flynn of P'burg.
Mut, displaying her bona fides as a mother
Her mother was...

2. Helen Myrtle Schwar (1896-1952) a/k/a "Big Mom," born in Nockamixon Twp, Bucks Co, PA, married Harry Francis Singley of Fountain Hill, and moved to Easton.
Big Mom, with her smaller brood: Mut in arms, twins Ralph and Paul below

She was the daughter of....
3. Frances Hungrege (1870-1926) who married Joseph Francis Schwar
Frances: I'll see your five and raise you ten
Big Mom on far right
Born and married in Nockamixon, Bucks Co., she moved to Easton in 1900, She was the daughter of....

4. Magdalena Rieß (1836-1901), born in Niederhausen in the Grand Principality of Baden, emigrated to America in 1852 on the ship Pelican State out of Liverpool for New York City. She settled in the immigrant community in Nockamixon, where she married Conrad Hungege.
Magdalena Riess,
No family shots

She was the daughter of....

5. Franziska Stefan (1799-1856) who lived her whole life in Oberhausen/Niederhausen, Baden [nee Farther Austria]. She was the daughter of...

6. Maria Anna Pflüger (c.1772-1845), whose mother appears to have been 

7. M. A. Schwörer (1729-???) who was the daughter of

8.  Franciska Lang (1710-1771)

At this point, even German record-keeping falters and it may be that some records were lost during the Napoleonic wars. 

This barely touches the mothers of TOF and Marge, who comprise fully half of our ancestry!

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

In the Belly of the Whale: Role Call

 Introducing Detective Chief Inspector Bùxiè deSōuxún

 on the Preview Page

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Sing a Song of Singleys

The Singleys, of whom my mother was a one, came originally from Oberhausen (now part of Rheinhausen) in the Breisgau of Baden. The Breisgau  is the land between the Rhine and the Black Forest, and was formerly part of Farther Austria, i.e., Hapsburg lands far to the west of Austria. When the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved at the end the Napoleonic kerfufffle, the Breisgau was ceded to Baden..

The name Singley has been spelled with a wonderful diversity, both here and in Baden. Among the variants have been Zengley, Zengli, Zängle, Zangl, Zaengle, Zenglin, Sengla, et al.. Die Zange means "pliers," "forceps," or "tongs." The "-li" ending is the southern German take on the standard German diminutive "-lein" e.g. Hans >Hansl.


The first Singley of whom we have definite knowledge was 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Another excerpt

 In the Belly of the Whale.

Introducing the Big Dhik

on the Preview Page (see list in left column)

Monday, January 25, 2021

In the Belly of the Whale: Role Call

 An excerpt from In the Belly of the Whale, a novel-in-progress, can be found on the book and story preview page, linked on the left. It is one of a series of vignettes introducing various characters. These characters may or may not make it into the final draft.

A new excerpt has been posted at the same link.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Ancestor hunting.

Ancestor hunting is not for the faint of heart, and the further back one goes, the scantier the clues that come to hand. Even the Absolute Monarchs of the Enlightenment did not think to keep track of their subjects in as much detail as the modern Scientific State. If they sought you out at all, it was only for tax purposes, in which case the name of the ratepayer and the acreage occupied was sufficient unto. Vital statistics were the provenance of the churches. Compare, for example, the data scraped for the 1790 Census to that of the 1940 Census. 

But as Aristotle recommended, you start with the more certain and better known and proceed toward the less certain and lesser known.

Mary McGovern Cantrel, my grandmother's mother, had parents named as Matthew McGovern and Catherine Dolan on her death certificate, where it was further stated that she was born in Co. Cavan,Ireland, on 6 Aug 1856. . Lewis' Topographical Dictionary states that the "Kingdom of Glan" in Cavan was inhabited by "a primitaive race of McGoverns and Dolans" who intermarried and made moonshine whiskey.The barony of Tullyhaw in which these lands lay was co-extensive with the kingdom of the ancient McGaurans. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Be Afraid; Be Very Afraid. Please.

"[T]he whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary."
-- H.L.Mencken

 "Never let a crisis go to waste."
-- Saul Alinsky

Psychology Today has told us that "a moral panic is a feeling of fear spread among many people that some evil threatens the well-being of society." It is "the process of arousing social concern over an issue – usually the work of moral entrepreneurs and the mass media." Such a panic does not mean that that there is nothing to worry about. There really were Stalinist agents in the US Government when Joe McCarthy rose to denounce them. (We know this because the fall of the USSR led to many files becoming public -- for a while -- and names were named.) But the panic sets in when people begin to see Russians behind every tapestry or potted plant. It is the panic, rather than a rational caution or skepticism, that leads to overblown responses.

Per Wikipedia, the concept of moral panic was laid out by Stanley Cohen in his book Folk Devils and Moral Panics (Paladin, 1973). He studied public reaction to 1964 clashes in the UK between rival youth groups called “mods” and “rockers”during holiday weekends at beaches in Southern England. From these clashes -- and the media and public response to them -- he developed a social theory of moral panic comprising five sequential stages:

  1. An event, condition, episode or person is defined as a threat to the values, safety and interest of the wider society.
  2. The media then amplifies these apparent threats through inflammatory rhetoric These portrayals appeal to public prejudices, creating villains in need of social control (folk devils) and victims (the moral majority).
  3. The publicity surrounding the threat creates a sense of social anxiety leading to a public outpouring of concern.
  4. Government then responds to the public outcry and frames the alleged threat as being symptomatic of a wider social malaise that must be addressed.
  5. The moral panic and the responses to it transform the regulation of economy and society with the aim of tempering public outrage.

Whoa, What's This?

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