How Schuyler, Home of John-Boy Walton, Got Its Name

History, People
[caption id="attachment_15352" align="alignright" width="480"] Walton Mountain Museum[/caption] The much loved fictional TV series The Waltons was based on author Earl Henry Hamner’s real life family. The name of the community in which Hamner’s family resided is Schuyler. It is located in Nelson County, Virginia and neighbors Scottsville, Virginia. Today, apart from its connection with The Waltons, Schuyler goes largely unnoticed. Yet historically, it was a vibrant locality. It was inextricably linked to the Alberene Soapstone Quarry. The question arises, how did Schuyler get its name? How Schuyler Got Its Name Schuyler, with its current population of some 300 persons, was once the home of thousands. It was originally named Walker’s Mill, after William H. Walker and his family. Walker’s son S. G. Walker is listed in the 1880 U.S. census…
Read More

Colonel Jacob Bucher Ayres Married into the Royal Stewarts

Genealogy, History
[caption id="attachment_18300" align="alignleft" width="380"] A young Jacob Bucher Ayres.[/caption] The Ayres family can be traced from England through Ireland through Scotland to Pennsylvania, USA. There are other lines of Ayres, but the line we discuss here descends from Samuel Ayres married to Margaret Richmond. Jacob Bucher Ayres, who went by his middle name only, was son of William, son of John, son of William, son of Samuel. [caption id="attachment_14222" align="alignright" width="244"] Bucher's father William.[/caption] [Jacob Bucher] "Bucher" and George Bucher Ayres, along with six others, were children of William Sr. and Mary Elizabeth Bucher Ayres. Mary had been married once before, in 1812, to one John Swift, having a son likewise named John. The author has not yet attempted to trace that family line. However, there has proved to be…
Read More

George Bucher Ayres: A Letter to His Niece

History, People
[caption id="attachment_14191" align="alignright" width="480"] The Man.[/caption] George Bucher Ayres (1829-1905) was neither an unknown nor an insignificant man. He is famous for having hand-painted photographs of Abraham Lincoln, originally taken by Alexander Hesler. You see, he had purchased the man's studios and found the glass negatives. But George Bucher Ayres was not a singularly talented man. He was an historian, a photographer, a newspaper editor, an author, so forth and so on. Search for him by name and you will learn a number of things about him. One of his most interesting adventures was when George Bucher Ayres booked Swedish Nightengale Jennie Lind (formerly employed by Phineas T. Barnum) to make a public appearance in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. George Bucher Ayres - Artistically Inclined Yes, George Bucher Ayres was also into…
Read More

Saved from Cannibals by Captain James Ceronio

History, People
[caption id="attachment_26236" align="alignright" width="480"] New Guinea cannibals. - Image Library of Congress[/caption]Yes, some people were saved from cannibals by my distant relation. You see, he was a ship’s captain. He had been raised on the east coast of what would become the United States. But he didn't stay there indefinitely. James Montague Delare Ceronio was born 1782/1783. He grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He died December 6, 1860 in Chandernagore, India. This fascinating man was married 3 times. First to Elizabeth Beckford of Australia. Then to Mary Poles on November 15, 1811. Finally to Catherine Amanda Charters on March 1, 1823. How would he help some people be saved from cannibals? My distant cousin, Marilyn Long, writes: “I went to Chandernagore where James died in 1860 from fever as he…
Read More

Does Glass Flow? Is Glass Liquid or Is It Solid?

Chemistry, History
[caption id="attachment_14158" align="alignright" width="440"] Old glass (top); new glass (bottom).[/caption] From childhood, I had been told (and believed) that glass is a liquid. Kids are so trusting! I never doubted what the grown-ups were telling me was gospel truth. Well, is it the truth? Is glass liquid or solid? The answer is (and I say this almost sadly) glass is a solid. Is Glass Liquid Kids may be gullible, but adults should not be. They should know better. So the idea that glass is a liquid—where did the adults get that from? On what evidence was it based? It came from the belief that glass flows. "Evidence" did seem to suggest it. What evidence? [sc name="MidArticleAdsense"] The evidence of the windowpanes. I’m not sure how easy this is to check…
Read More

Transcribe Missing Words in This 1700s Document

History, People
Transcribe missing words... A distant relative purchased a photocopy of part of a letter from the late 1760s written by a family member. In fact, the letter’s author was my 4x-great-grandfather, George Stockham. He was my mother’s mother’s mother’s husband’s father’s father’s father. I transcribed the letter. Can you transcribe missing words I couldn't? He was born in Bristol, Gloucestershire, England in 1736. He died 20 Apr 1821 near Bristol, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. At the time of the letter, George was engaged in seeking willing and able men to travel aboard the Concord, under the captain-ship of Jacob Volans of Bristol, and become indentured servants in the colonies/states. George Stockham is of particular interest in connection with the Revolutionary War and persons who wish to join either the S.A.R.¹ or…
Read More

Mummy Ötzi and the Bible

Bible, History
[caption id="attachment_13034" align="alignright" width="300"] A reconstruction of Ötzi's axe. Image by Bullenwächter, CC by 3.0.[/caption] Mummy Ötzi and Tubal-cain have what in common? Most scientists do not know. But it has to do with his axe. It also has to do with the Bible. The oldest and best-known naturally preserved mummy was discovered and uncovered in 1991. He had been frozen in ice for more than 5,000 years. Nicknamed Ötzi, a copper axe was found in his possession. What is so special about the axe? Scientists had previously believed metal objects would not be introduced for an additional 1,000 years. Mummy Ötzi Many new things were discovered in connection with mummy Ötzi. But the thing that should most interest sincere Bible students is the axe. Why? Because the Bible informs…
Read More

Pompeii: Frozen Animal Statues?

Education, History
Who is unacquainted with the dreadful eruption of Mt. Vesuvius? That volcanic disaster brought raining death by heat, smoke, and ash. Numerous detailed plaster casts of the dead portray life’s activities in Pompeii and other towns in clear detail. Men, women, and children lie in postures that prove how quickly they died. A cross-section of all aspects of life is seen – whether at home, work, or elsewhere. Recently, the concept that most died from the volcanic ash was seriously reconsidered. A more probable explanation is that Pompeii victims died by flash heating. This understanding arose from a comparison of the way volcano victims died in other, nearby towns. Questions Arise But a question arises: What about wild, farm, and domestic animals? Are there “statues” of these creatures to be found?…
Read More

The Difference Between Mohandas & Mahatma Gandhi

History, philosophy
[caption id="attachment_7716" align="alignright" width="380"] Mohandas K. Gandhi in 1909.[/caption] You've noticed it for years, but never understood why. What's the difference between Mohandas and Mahatma Gandhi? It's all very simple. What's in a Name? Mohandas Gandhi Both Mohandas and Mahatma Gandhi refer to the very same person. Mohandas is a name. Mahatma is a title. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948) was the man who led India to independence from Britain. In the process, the land was divided in two: Muslim Pakistan, with the remainder becoming the new Hindu-dominated India. What's in a Title? Mahatma Gandhi He employed peaceful means to accomplish this end, and so came to be revered among the people. The reverence is reflected in the title Mahatma, which is defined as a revered person or sage who, some…
Read More

Spring Daffodils – Grim Hurricane Reminders

History
[caption id="attachment_6598" align="alignright" width="480"] Daffodils in Massies Mill, Virginia serve as a living testimonial. Image courtesy Sean Korte.[/caption] Hurricane reminders can be grim. Rather like Beauty and the Beast. In August of 1969, a terrible storm, downgraded from hurricane status, struck Nelson County in Virginia, killing more than 150 people – washing away and otherwise destroying many homes and other buildings. This tragedy is etched in the minds of survivors and is a hallmark of the county's history. It will not quickly be forgotten. To this day, newcomers can see evidence of the devastation. Green Acres is the Place to Be In the Green Acres area in Lovingston, a mountain cliff can be seen that is naked of soil and trees, though gradually it is filling in with small vegetation. But…
Read More