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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Barbara Musselman Pontius

One of the things I love to do is uncover an unknown fact or untangle family lines that have been confused and misprinted in multiple genealogies. One of those fell into my lap this week. I regularly check Ebay for things like family records in Bibles, deeds, and fraktur. I found a few things over the years that were worthwhile, mostly in Bible records. Last year I found an unrecorded deed that filled in the blanks in a Good family. It's been enough to keep me watching.
This week I found an 1838 Taufschein (birth and baptism certificate) for Anna Pontius. The name meant nothing to me until I saw her mother's name, Barbara Musselman. The Muddy Creek Library has Barbara's Taufschein. She was born in 1785 to Mathias and Magdalena (Tschantz) Musselman of Brecknock Township. Barbara was baptized by Henry Martin in 1806 in the Mennonite church in Brecknock Township (now Bowmansville Mennonite). No one knew who Barbara married and she was lost in history.
Then this week her daughter Anna's Taufschein showed up on Ebay. Anna was born in 1821 and joined the Lutheran church in 1838. Her Taufschein identifies her parents as Johannes and Barbara (Musselman) Pontius of Brecknock Township.
With the name of Barbara's husband, I was able to find more information on them. John was bankrupt and sold his property in Brecknock to Barbara's brother, Christian Musselman. Barbara must have died before 1850 as by then John was living in East Lampeter Township with his daughter Anna. She was married to Benjamin Groff. By 1860, Benjamin and Anna had moved to Mifflin County and John was living with what I am assuming to  be another daughter in East Lampeter Township. He is not found in the 1870 census so he died sometime after 1860. I need to do some more research to try find burial records for John and Barbara.
It's amazing how one little piece can open a whole new field. I found a lot of family trees on Ancestry for Benjamin and Anna (Pontius) Groff but they say her parents were John and Elizabeth (Root) Pontius in Ohio. Completely wrong! No one anywhere knew anything about Barbara Musselman. But now you do!

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Yesterday started out calmly but things continued to get worse as the day progressed. Leroy called about 1:30 and said he wrecked his work truck. He was making a delivery when a guy crossed the road and hit him head on. It was raining but that wasn't the cause of the accident. The other driver said he didn't know what happened. It was on a straight stretch of the road. Leroy thought either something came over him or he dozed off.
Thankfully, Leroy was not hurt but the truck is a goner. It is 21 years old, has over 300,000 miles on it, and is not worth fixing.

The company sent a rollback to haul the truck and him back to the shop. They gave him one of the spare trucks to come home. Before he got here a strong storm was moving in and the electric was off. We had a cold supper but before we were finished the power came on again.
I managed to wash dishes before the storm was howling and the power went off again. It was still off at 9 when we went to bed. The storm was pretty well over by then and the power came on again at 10:15. We were on the upper edge of the storm. The worst storm damage was in the Gap area of Lancaster County.
This day was a reminder how quickly things can change. We're just thankful this was only a speed bump and not a life-changer. Trucks can be replaced, but husbands cannot. And doing without electric for a couple hours was no problem. The roof was tight and we were safe and dry. I'm still praising the Lord this morning for His protection and sparing my husband's life.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

My Own Boss

One of the benefits of being a career homemaker is the privilege of being your own boss. Not entirely, of course. There are always things that must be done and when my house was full of children there wasn't enough time in a day to get all the necessities done. And there was always a fresh list of must-do the next day, beginning with packing seven lunches every morning and on through the day.
Yet, I always found time to do the things I wanted to do like reading and writing. Sometimes it was only a half day per week. As the children grew older, I could spend more time writing and pursuing other interests. It really is true that we find the time to do what we want to do. Saying "I don't have time" for something is merely another way of saying I'm not interested in that activity. If we really want to do something we'll find the time.
My schedule follows a predictable weekly and seasonal pattern. Laundry is done on Monday, grocery shopping on Friday, and cleaning on Saturday, with adjustments of course depending on other events that creep into the calendar. Housecleaning is divided into spring and fall, gardening in the summer, etc. Winter is the best time to crochet, write, and scrapbook.
I had two writing projects going last year and finished both of them before Christmas. The crochet project was also finished before Christmas. That left me basically the scrapbooking for January. A few other things got tossed into the mix but I finished scrapbooking earlier than usual and still had a couple weeks of February left to do as I please. I turned to sewing to finish out the winter.
After my mother died, we cut some of her dresses into patches. I used some to make pillow tops for everyone in the family. My sister-in-law did the piecing and I finished them. Here are a few of them.

That was in 2009. There was a stack of 4-inch squares leftover. They lay in a bag in my scrap bag waiting to be made into something "someday." With my winter jobs finished early this year, I decided "someday" and come. I decided to make small 36x36" comfort tops from the patches. If I kept them small, more people in the family could have one.
Piecing quilts is not on my list of God-given talents but I can sew straight lines. I did not try to make any artistic patterns with the squares but mixed them up randomly to include squares of as many of the dresses as possible. The result was nine tops like this. It certainly is not anything beautiful but it has sentimental value and gives me a warm feeling. My husband said he can see Mom wearing those dresses when he looks at it. Exactly!
I still had a pile of small squares left from the pillow tops. I hated to throw them away so I summoned my courage and made one more from them. By the time this one was put together I had enough of piecing to last me a long time. It isn't perfect but is good enough for me. (Photo color is sort of poor.)
With that project finished, I still have another week of February left to do something else. Next project is making a set of Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls for a benefit auction. I haven't done this much sewing for a long time. I'm enjoying the change of pace and the freedom of being my own boss, able to choose what I want to do with my time.
Ahem! Today is Saturday and your cleaning isn't finished. Back to work lady!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Election Year

This is a Leap Year and every time we have one of those we have to suffer through a year of campaigning for President. It gets crazier all the time. Yesterday was the Chinese New Year and it is the year of the monkey. Is that a coincidence or what?
Actually the rhetoric begins long before January but that's when it really begins to heat up with the Iowa caucuses followed by a string of primaries. By the time the election finally comes in November we're sick and tired of the noise and just want it to be over.
This year's election is especially interesting. The Republican party has been a three-ring circus complete with a clown. No one can tell who will come out on top to win the nomination. God help us if it's the clown!
We also have a woman who has been trying for more than a decade to become the first woman president. In the beginning, she seemed to have the Democratic ticket sewed up but the threads began to unravel when a Jew from Vermont threw his hat in the ring and unexpectedly began to rise.
I find the fact that he is a Jew particularly intriguing. We know that God said He will bless those who bless His people and curse those who curse them (Genesis 12:3). Having a Jewish president would naturally tip the balance in Israel's favor. All politics and policies aside, might God be raising up a Jewish president "for such a time as this"?
In the last election, people voted based on race to give us the first black president. This time people are voting based on gender. Madeleine Albright (a former Secretary of State) told young women voters the reason to vote for the female candidate is "God will send you to a special place in hell if you don’t." That just shows how unbalanced and biased people are in their thinking. No ones goes to hell based on how they voted in a U. S. election. God has another ballot with the name of Jesus on it. That's the one that counts!
Although the election is creating quite an uproar on earth, God is in control and not worried nor will He be surprised at the outcome. He "removeth kings, and setteth up kings" (Daniel 2:21). He has not publically endorsed anyone and is keeping His opinion hidden until November. Whatever the outcome of the election, He has a reason beyond what we can see or understand. I'm casting my vote on my knees in full confidence that God knows what He's doing. May His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

White Mother

Winter is the time of year to slow down. Life moves indoors and we have time to do things that get pushed back in other seasons. I always have a list of things I want to do in the winter and I'm nearing the end of the list a bit early this year. Today I did a little scrapbooking to ease my conscience and spent most of the rest of the day reading a book I've been wishing to find for years.
When I was in about fifth grade, our teacher read a book to us that made a great impression on me. White Mother, published in 1957, was written by Jessie Bennett Sams about her own life. Into the lives of two ragged little Negro girls came an angel-a white angel. So it seemed to Veanie and Mingie Bennett, seven-year-old twins in a Florida town, half-savage, motherless, caring for their paralyzed and dying father. Alone they fought for their lives, stole food, and struggled against a hostile world. Then chance led them to the white side of town and the door of Mrs. Rossie Lee. It proved to be the door to a new life.
This book was my first introduction to  race prejudice and the Jim Crow laws in the deep South. I had no idea anything like that existed. Sometimes our teacher would stop reading to us, read silently to herself, and then lay the book aside. I always wondered what those parts were that she wouldn't read to us. I looked for the book but never found it.
Then this week,  a Google search found a free download of the book for me. I snapped it up with my Kindle reader and had a hard time putting it down. I indulged myself in reading today and finished it. I enjoyed it as much as I did back in fifth grade, although I probably understood some things better than I did back then.
I think I finally know what parts the teacher didn't read to us. But I'm not going to tell you. Read it for yourself. You can download it here to Kindle or a PDF file.