MV Obsession

My obsession with Martha's Vineyard.. phototography..genealogy and life in general and this and that…


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Memorial Day 2018…

Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.In 1971, Congress established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May and as a federal holiday.

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On my mother’s side of the family, my paternal great grandfather, Joseph Littlefield fought in the Civil War and died because of his wounds. He was wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864. He was sent home to Maine to die. He died of typhoidal pnemonia on Sep 30, 1864, he is buried in Rome, Maine. Unfortunately his wife and his 3 oldest children died of the same thing shortly thereafter, leaving my grandfather, Charles Littlefield at age 10 the oldest of the four remaining children.

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Below is a photo of the veteran’s section in the Fairmont Cemetery in Newark, New Jersey, where, on my father’s side of the family my great great paternal grandfather, Stephen Freeman is buried. Stephen did not die in the Civil War but was wounded in the battle of Antietam in 1862. He was sent home, lived another 29 years and died on May 30, 1891, which ironically was Memorial Day.

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Take a moment to remember the original reason for Memorial Day and the men and women who fought for, and gave their lives for our country.

Have a great Memorial Day and enjoy the weekend whatever you’re doing.

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Museum of the American Revolution-Philadelphia, Pa…

I wish there had been places like this when I was in school, history then was names and dates, this is hands on and brings history alive.  I know more about the American Revolution now than I ever did.

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The best place to start is watching the short film ‘Revolution’ and then proceeding to the main galleries.  Beginning in the lower right of the map we have…

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Becoming Revolutionaries (1760-1775)

The Darkest Hour (1776-1778)

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A Revolutionary War (1778-1783)

A New Nation (1783-present)

Last but not least, but certainly the most impressive – Washington’s War Tent

**From museum brochure – Created for use as a mobile field headquarters during the Revolutionary War, the tent likely was made in Reading, Pennsylvania in early 1778, while Washington was encamped at Valley Forge. It was used by George Washington from 1778 – 1783, and witnessed many dramatic moments during the War of Independence, including the 1781 Siege of Yorktown, the last major battle of the war. The tent was last displayed several decades ago at Valley Forge National Historical Park.

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Since we had limited time in Philadelphia we weren’t able to see much else.  I did however want to see the Liberty Bell and although that museum was closed it was visible from outside.

 

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Day Trip to Albany, NY…

The Albany Institute of History and Art has been having an exhibit of what the well dressed woman wore in Albany in the Victorian era (1837-1901).   I really didn’t know what to expect, I had an idea in my head what the exhibit would be like but it was nowhere near the reality of it.  It was really beautiful… the presentation was clever and interesting, the lighting was incredible and the clothes themselves were beyond my meager attempts to describe them.

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The blue gown is my fantasy gown. It was designed to make a grand impression when entering and exit at a ball.  All that’s needed is the glass slipper.

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Downtown Newark, NJ Walking Tour…

What a fun thing to do on a gorgeous April Saturday.  A walking tour of downtown Newark, NJ with Have You Met Newark tours.  Newark is where I was born and grew up and it’s exciting to see what’s going on there.  Here are some pictures of our tour.

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Pictured below is the Prudential Center arena (The Rock) and the NJ Performing Arts Center (NJPAC)

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The Old First Presbyterian Church was established in 1666 by the founders of Newark, NJ.  My 10 times great-grandfather was one of the founders of Newark and he, along with some of my other ancestors were buried there.

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The City Hall, and Broad and Market streets, known as the 4 corners.

 

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The Prudential buildings. The Prudential came to Newark in the late 1800’s, the original building was demolished in 1956 to make way for Prudential Plaza which opened in 1960.  A few blocks away in July 2016 the Prudential Tower opened.

Prudential Plaza                                                          Prudential Tower

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Right in downtown Newark are three lovely parks.  Lincoln Park, Military Park and here is Washington Park.  The Newark museum and library are located on one side of the park.

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Newark always had lots of department stores.  Pictured here are Bamberger’s (which became Macy’s).. and Kresge (which is the K in K-Mart ), there was also Orbach’s and S. Klein all within a two block radius.

But the department store that was always a bit above the others, literally and figuratively was Hahne & Co Hahne’s closed its doors in 1987 and sat empty for 30 years, it has been totally renovated and is gorgeous.  In addition to retail space the new renovation includes 160 apartments.  Note the original Hahne & Co sign.

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I’m a big fan of Newark, not just because I was born and raised there but because it’s a terrific place to visit.  Learn about what Newark is planning for the future, like this beautiful new park. IMG_4200 But also learn about Newark’s place in our history. A fun way to do that is with a group from Have You Met Newark.

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Ups and Downs Of The Vineyard…

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The eastern half of Martha’s Vineyard is called Down-Island and the western half is called Up-Island. Why you ask? To confuse you, that’s why. Not really, at least not on purpose. There is a very logical reason and here it is according to the MV website.

” Up-Island is the western area, which comprises the three rural towns of Aquinnah, Chilmark and West Tisbury. Down-Island is the eastern portion, home to the larger historic villages of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven (also known as Tisbury). The two terms come from the rich seagoing tradition of Martha’s Vineyard, which once sent its whaling ships circuling the globe heading “up” in nautical terms takes you “west” because it’s further from zero degrees of longitude in Greenwich, England, home of the Prime Meridian.”

Well then, according to the Guide to Martha’s Vineyard we have this explanation. “When a ship sails in an easterly direction, it is decreasing or running “down” the degrees of longitude toward zero at Greenwich, England. A westbound vessel, on the other hand, is running “up” its longitude. Thus the Down-Island town are those on the eastern and northeastern end of the Island. The Up-Island communities are at the western end. A ship moving through Vineyard Sound sails “up” to New York and “down” east to Maine.” Ah ha.

OK, I’m still confused but I do know how to get from Down-Island to Up-Island and not get lost… it’s an Island, how lost could one get anyway.

Got all that… me neither 🙂

But that’s not the only confusion about the Vineyard … she had an identity crisis at one time involving Massachusetts and New York.

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Martha! Martin! New York! Massachusetts! How many aliases and states have claimed this 100 sq mile island? The Wampanoags named it Noepe and that stuck until Bartholomew Gosnold came along in 1602.

No one seems to know who the Martin was whose name was once attached to the Vineyard… so let’s move ahead to Martha whose identity is still shrouded in myth. Was she one of Gosnold’s daughters, or his mother, or the name of an English royal. Whoever she was her name stuck and in my opinion has a nicer ring to it then Martin’s Vineyard.

According to the book “The History of Martha’s Vineyard” by Arthur R. Railton, in 1664 Charles II gave NY, NJ and the islands to the east to his brother, the Duke of York. In 1670 Thomas Mayhew, Jr and his grandson Matthew of Massachusetts traveled to NY to ask Gov Lovelace which colony his Island was under… New York or Massachusetts. Gov Lovelace made Thomas Mayhew “Governor for Life” of Martha’s Vineyard and gave him the authority to collect rents from all who lived within its bounds. Voila, Martha’s Vineyard Massachusetts. History lesson over. 🙂

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Experimental…

When I think of experimental I think back to my visit a few years ago to the Thomas Edison Historical Park in West Orange, New Jersey.

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This is the chem lab..in 1887 this was one of the best equipped chemical labs in the world. Within its walls, Thomas Edison and his chemists experimented on everything from phonograph records to rubber.  “Grand science, chemistry,” Edison once said, “I like it best of all the sciences.”

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Here are just a few of Edisons inventions… memorabilia… anything and everything.

My creation

(Thomas Edison National Historical Park https://www.nps.gov/edis/index.htm)

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/experimental/


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Veterans Day, November 11, 2017…

Thank you to all our veterans…

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This All Veterans Memorial is at the World War II Lookout Tower in Cape May, New Jersey

“This eternal flame honors not only the veterans of World Was II of the Cape May area but also all area veterans who have nobly carried forth the torch of defending our nation.”

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Thank you to all veterans for your service to our country.