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Friday, December 27, 2013

Lancaster's Native Americans

A candlelight vigil will be held at 6 p.m. today to mark the 250th anniversary of the massacre of the Conestoga tribe at the former Lancaster workhouse. On Dec. 27, 1763 — 250 years ago — Scots-Irish vigilantes from miles to the north rode into Lancaster, then a borough of about 2,000 residents, to finish a job they began 13 days earlier, when they had slaughtered six Conestogas at their village in Manor Township. The Conestogas were the victims of a string of broken promises, the last of which resulted in their slaughter.
A treaty signed in 1701 by William Penn, gave the Conestogas 3,000 acres of prime Manor Township wilderness to call home, and he also pledged that the English and Conestogas "shall forever hereafter be as one Head & One Heart."
It was an ecstatic promise that lasted only 16 years. Penn's sons had designs on the Conestogas' extensive holdings and whittled it down to 400 acres.
Despite that first broken promise, the Conestogas remained peaceful and began assimilating with the growing number of settlers who became their neighbors. The Conestogas learned English, adopted English dress and remained loyal to the crown during the seven-year French and Indian War, which ended the same year as the Conestogas' demise.
Sure that they enjoyed the respect and protection of their neighbors and provincial officials, a Conestoga elder named Sheehays once scoffed at the notion that angry settlers would do them harm, saying, "The English will wrap me in their matchcoat and secure me from all danger." Sheehays tragically misjudged the English.
At dawn on Dec. 14, 1763, about 50 armed riders from the Paxton area of what is now Dauphin County attacked the Conestogas' humble, defenseless settlement in Manor Township. They fired into the huts, set the dwellings on fire, killed three men, two women and a boy, and left with booty and scalps.
A treaty was salvaged from the Indians' burned-out village. It was the 1701 document signed by William Penn granting the Conestogas "the full and free privileges and immunities" of English law. The treaty assured the Conestogas that they and the English "shall forever be as one head and one heart, and live in true friendship and amity as one people."
Because of snowfall, 13 other Conestogas who had been making the rounds peddling their brooms and baskets had not made it home the previous night. Now homeless in the dead of winter, those 13, plus a boy who escaped the first massacre, accepted the offer of Lancaster County's chief magistrate, Edward Shippen III, to take shelter in Lancaster's workhouse, a newly finished brick building — next to the jail — that was intended for the correction of beggars, drunkards and other nuisance offenders.
The Conestogas trusted that Shippen and others in Lancaster would protect them if, as seemed likely, the raiders from Paxton returned to try to complete their bloody work.
They did return, 13 days after the first attack. More than 50 vigilantes rode in, and were confronted at the workhouse by only two men. Both of them — Sheriff John Hay and Coroner Matthias Slough — feared for their safety and stepped aside.
Shippen's failure to assure the Conestogas safety in the workhouse was the ultimate broken promise.
Unlike the earlier plot to annihilate the Indians in their village, the raiders on Dec. 27, 1763, executed their plan perfectly. Not a single member of the tribe escaped a fatal thrust or blow. All died in the snow-covered yard, victims of heartless men. Victims, too, of the last of many empty promises.
On the afternoon after the second massacre, the jail keeper heaped the 14 bodies of the Conestogas onto a wagon, took them to a Mennonite family cemetery on Cherry Alley, and dumped the load into a large hole.
Into the pit fell the bodies of three married couples, Kyunqueagoah, known as Captain Jack, and his wife, Betty, or Koweenasee; Tenseedaagua and his wife, Kanianguas, and Saquies-hat-tah and his wife, Chee-na-wan. Also tossed were the bodies of five boys, Quaachow, Shae-e-kah, Ex-undas, Tong-quas and Hy-ye-naes, and of three girls, Ko-qua-e-un-quas, Karen-do-uah and Canu-kie-sung.
Lancaster's Moravian pastor, Albrecht Ludolph Russmeyer, shook his head. "They were all thrown on top of one another in a hole, without a blanket or cover, like a dog," he wrote, "and the onlookers said, 'That is not right, that is accursed, that is shameful.' "
Dirt was thrown upon the bodies, and Lancaster washed its hands of the Conestogas. The killers saw themselves as above the law and acted accordingly. Lancaster's leaders chose to let the killers get away with murder and no justice was ever served.

The tragedy cannot be reversed, but today, 250 years later, the fourteen innocent victims will be honored and the error of their murder acknowledged.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Past

We had our Christmas dinner on Saturday, December 22. With the new foster baby Dales brought with them, the number of people in attendance reached 30. We are blessed!

About half of the people parked their shoes by the door before going into the basement for dinner.

Gifts were exchanged after the meal. There were more gifts under the table that aren't shown in this photo.
After the feast at dinner we weren't hungry for supper but the children were ready to eat again. The 70th birthday of patriarch of the family was recognized with a birthday cake. A John Deere tractor seemed appropriate since he finished building one from scraps this year.

He was presented with a case to display his collection of  trucks and tractors.

Christmas is about love and family. The love and family of God. The loving gift of His Son so we can be adopted into His family. Take away all the trappings that have be added to make it "feel like Christmas" and where there is love and family it will still be Christmas--any time of the year.

Friday, December 13, 2013


I have never been in the Ukraine and I am not stranded there.
While I was shopping this morning hackers got into my email account and stole my address book. They sent an email to everyone in my address book saying I was stranded in the Ukraine and needed money to get home. While I was still in the grocery store Gene called and told me I had been hacked. When I got home I found four messages on my answering machine from people who had gotten the email. I thought I would quickly send out an email and tell everyone it is a scam but my address book was empty. All my mailing and email addresses and phone numbers are gone.
I called Comcast and we reset things but the hackers had set my email to forward all the messages that came in to their fake email account and I wasn't getting anything. Amy helped me reset it so that stops and I could send and receive again.
Now I have to reassemble my address book and that will take awhile. The big question is, how did they do it? Can they do it again? What I've done so far should help but it might be safer to disable my email and open a new account. I hate to do that but it might be safer that way.
I haven't gotten very far today because the phone has been ringing off the hook. People from here to California and all points in between have been calling about this problem. At least I'm finding out how many friends I have!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Strength of That Meat

After Elijah won a great victory for the Lord over the prophets of Baal, he turned tail and ran when Queen Jezebel threatened to kill him. He stopped to rest at Beersheba where an angel appeared and fed him twice with fresh-baked bread and water.
1 Kings 19:8 says, "And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God."
I always thought that meant those two loaves of bread sustained him for forty days and he didn't eat again until he got to Mt. Horeb. This morning I had an alternate thought.
When we came home Sunday evening after a weekend at the cabin with our friends, we brought a lot of leftover food with us. Some of the leftovers were given away and I froze some of our share. But I still have so much in the frig to use up that I have not had to cook so far this week. I thought this is like Elijah. We're going in the strength of the weekend all week.
So does 1 Kings 19:8 mean Elijah didn't eat again for forty days or that the leftovers of the two loaves lasted forty days. What do you think?


Monday, December 9, 2013

Party Time!

We had a big birthday party for Leroy when he turned 60. It's amazing how short ten years is and how soon the big 7-0 came up! We didn't think it was necessary to have another big party. When Daryl and Velma suggested inviting a few friends to a cabin for the weekend as a birthday celebration, Leroy liked the idea. I told him since it's his party he should make up the guest list. His first choice was to have our bridal party. I believe a little water went over the dam in the 46 years between these pictures! The best man passed  away two years ago so one of our number is missing.
There are seven bedrooms in this cabin so we invited a few more people to fill them. Here is the whole group.
Daryl and Velma took the pictures of the old timers but they are the ones who did all the work to make this weekend happen. Velma offered to do all the cooking. We just went to the table and ate whenever she said the meal was ready. And she wouldn't even let me help wash dishes afterward. We were starting to feel like we're in an old folks home!
That's Velma at the end of the table with the blue sweater and Daryl standing at the other end serving. We officially observed the birthday with a cake for Sunday dinner. It was a good weekend full of memories and laughter. Everyone enjoyed it as far as I could tell.
The weekend ended rather abruptly when we realized the roads are probably getting slippery from the snow that was falling. We slid down the mountain and came home with a lot of happy memories to savor in the days to come. You just simply can't be with this jolly bunch and NOT have fun!
A huge thank you to Daryl and Velma for all the work they did to make it happen. A small party with a few friends was more fun than a big party with lots of friends!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tried and Couldn't

I am not a crafty person. Some people can take a few odds and ends and make something really neat and artistic out of it. Or they might see a knick-knack at a yard sale and use it to make an attractive display. I can never see the potential in stuff like that and wouldn't know what to do with it if I did have it. When I see how they did it I think I could do that, but I just don't have the ideas myself. I can never envision the finished product and don't know until it's done if it looks right or not. And mostly my stuff is in the NOT category; looks like I tried and couldn't quite pull it off.
One of the latest fads is Pintrest where all kinds of neat ideas can be found. I never joined it because I know I wouldn't make the stuff anyway. But once in awhile someone posts something that looks simple enough for the likes of me to try it.
Last week I saw a candy cane vase and decided I could do that one. All I needed was an empty jar and enough candy canes to surround it. Any simpleton could do that, I thought. Put a rubber band around a jar, stick candy canes inside the rubber band until the jar is surrounded, tie a ribbon over the rubber band, and stick flowers in the jar. Easy, cute, and edible.
So I bought two boxes of candy canes (only cost $2), came home, and set to work. Easy, huh? The candy canes leaned to the side and wouldn't stand up straight. After several attempts I put two rubber bands around the jar. That helped. But my candy canes were not all the exact same length like the ones in the picture. They did not form a perfect even circle around the jar. And I had two rubber bands to cover with ribbon instead of one. The curve of the candy canes was in the way to tie the top ribbon. Aaargh!! So I taped a plain strip of ribbon over each rubber band and stuck a pre-tied bow between them. The project improved somewhat when I stuck some silk poinsettias in the vase, but it was just not as elegant as the one in the picture that was filled with red roses.
I'm too tight to throw out two dozen candy canes so I'll make the best of my poor attempt to be crafty and let the thing set until Christmas. Then the grandchildren can have the candy canes and I'll go back to playing with words instead of trying to be crafty. I tried and couldn't.