James Cowperthwait and Harriett P. Brown.

An interesting couple… It is fairly obvious that Harriett has a very large goiter on her neck.


In doing the family history, I was adding documents, and found a document for James Cowperthwait entitled “U.S. Special Census on Deaf Family Marriages and Hearing Relatives, 1888-1895”. On the form, he states that he was deaf and 4 of his 5 siblings were born deaf.


The Eyebrow of Doom™®© appears to run in the family!


My absence

I thought I would explain my absence. Quite apart from spending all my time caring for my Mom whose Alzheimer’s has been progressing bit-by-bit, as has her deteriorating ability to care for herself, I haven’t had a lot to say. Well… Not quite true. I’ve been spending more time posting obsessively on Google+ and Facebook instead of bothering posting longer stuff here. As well, posting from my phone and iPad was, until recently, a pain in the ass. It’s a little easier.

Untimely Fate

I have been, as usual, been working on the family tree. There are many times when I find something really unexpected. Sometimes I find something that verifies something that I knew or turns what I thought I knew on its head. And, occasionally, I find something that I had completely forgotten. This is one of the latter.

My mother had related the story of “someone” who stepped off a tram platform to cross the street and was knocked down by an army truck. I couldn’t recall who this unfortunate “someone” was and sort of put it into the dark recesses of my memory.

The other day, I was searching for information about my great-grandmothers, my mother’s paternal grandmother, Jane Spence Soutar. I knew she died in 1940, 5 years after her husband, William Bowie McIntosh, seen here on their Golden anniversary.


My mother never really liked her because she was always critical of her.

She had broken off communication with my grandfather shortly into the War after what was a very silly thing that she did. Prideful.

She was evacuated from Newcastle because of the danger of bombing and had gone to live with my grandparents in Dumfries. She was nasty and spent her time criticizing my grandmother and complaining about the food and my grandmother and her cooking and just about everything.

Late one night, after bitterly complaining about the food and refusing to eat, my grandfather heard sounds from the kitchen. He went down and discovered her down in the kitchen eating all the food she complained about the day before. He tore a strip off her, pointing out that she was a guest in his house, and that her complaining about and wasting food (that was rationed) and then sneaking down and eating was not just rude and in bad form, it was unpatriotic.

The next morning she packed her bags and left and never talked to him again. His sisters, all but one, refused to speak to him, also. And SHE burned her bridges after the war and my grandfather’s death.

I am not sure how long before her death the above happened. At least a couple of years.

Yesterday, I was searching the British Newspaper Archives and came across this news story.


According to another report, the ladies had their umbrellas up and couldn’t see the truck. My great grandmother died later in hospital.

(A.R.P.: Air Raid Precautions)


Seven years ago, I posted this photo of my grand father on Shorpy.

Private J.E. McIntosh

Private J.E. McIntosh

I hadn’t bothered to check back to see if there were comment. As luck would have it, I happened to check back last week and found a comment from a military enthusiast and collector of memorabilia who informed me that he thought he had my grandfather’s WWI medals. He bought them on eBay and wondered if I wanted to have them. Did I?!! Panic ensued when I noticed that the comment was left last year!

I immediately emailed him and was relieved to know that not only did he still have the medals, they ARE my grandfather’s, and that, yes, he would part with them!


The medals are on their way. I’m not sure how they eBay but either they were given to one of his sisters and ended up in contents for sale or, and this is very likely, were “liberated” by the removals man my mother’s aunt engaged to pack my mother’s belongings when she emigrated to Canada in 1953. There were two removals companies in Dumfries, brothers. They owned different companies. One was less than reputable and my mother told her aunt to go to the other one. Apparently, she got confused and went to the first one. He packed some of her stuff, piling china in tea crates with too little packing material and burned what books and papers of her father’s that she had not. Much of what HAD been packed ended up falling on the dock im Montreal and into the St. Lawrence River or was smashed in transit. I suspect he may have sold some of the belongings, including the medals.

So here is a family Christmas tree story.

Mom’s Life of Crime

When my mother was still living in Dumfries, Scotland, her father had always brought in a tree that they had dug up the first year they moved to the town, in a tub. After Christmas, it would go out in the shed until it could be planted across the road on the edge of the farmer’s field across the road (now all houses). Towards the beginning of spring, it would be replanted across the road, and before the next Christmas, dug up, again. When my Grandfather died in 1945, my Mom and grandmother had to move out of the manse and into a flat farther away. The tree stayed where it was.

My grandmother had cancer by then, the flat was small, and money was tight (both because of my grandfather’s death and the post-war prices) so a tree was really not an option.

In 1950, Mom really wanted to get a tree for what was likely my grandmother’s last Christmas. So she went to where someone was selling Christmas trees but they were WAY too expensive. So my Mom embarked on the only criminal act in her life.

After dark, she went back to the tree lot and broke some of the lower branches of several trees where they would probably be cut anyway. She took them home, tied them together with ribbon, and her mother had a Christmas tree for what did turn out to be her last Christmas. She died in November of 1950.


The Houchins Cornet Band

Distant relations.


“The Houchins Cornet Band” was organized 1896-7, by nine young men, sons of the brothers, Reuben and Clayton M. Houchins. Later on a grandson joined. James F. was leader. Some concerts were given in the spring of 1898 that went more than half way toward paying for the instruments. A snare drum and a fife were added to the equipment. After several of the members had fallen victims to matrimony the organization passed out of existence.


James F. is a newspaper man, a writer of pungency and force, a close student of politics, and a firm advocate of woman’s suffrage. He edited the only journal that has appeared in the Indian Creek valley. His interest in the preparation of this volume [A History of Monroe County, West Virginia] has been most exemplary.


I posted the other day about how I’d been fiddling around with a homemade macro lens for my iPhone and creating some interesting shots. My friend Az left a comment about the the Ōlloclip lenses for iPhone so I thought I should check them out.

There are a range of lenses for iPhone 4 and iPhone 5, wide-angle, fish-eye, telephoto, and macro. After mulling it over I decided to order the 4-in-1 (fish-eye, telephoto, and 10x and 15x macro lenses) for iPhone 4 and iPod touch.


These were the first photos. I have to do a bit more fiddling but I am pleased with the results, so far.


As a matter of fact, I am thinking of ordering the Macro 3-in-1 (7x, 14x, and 21x) IF it works on the 4… (It’s for the 5). I have to find out.


Sleepy Haid


Reworked Florals

IMG_3329Queen Anne’s LaceIMG_2620GrassesIMG_2634Columbine

IMG_2639Morning GloryIMG_2654Columbine

Some older photographs I have reworked using a number of iPhone and iPad apps.

The Queen Anne’s Lace image reminds me of old tintypes.

I love the coloured ones because they have a very retro look. They remind me of old Technicolor postcards.

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