Saturday, April 19, 2014

Book of Me, Written by Me, Prompt 34: Easter Memories

The Book of Me, Written by Me is a blogging theme where one can write about their own life using blog themes posted each week. More information can be found at Anglers Rest here.

This week's prompt is - Easter Memories
  • What does Easter Mean to you?
  • A religious event?
  • The first main break (in the UK) since Christmas and New Year
  • A more general Spring/Autumn event
  • Easter Bunnies
  • Eggs
  • Chocolate
  • Traditions
Easter has always been a fun holiday for me. Family got together and the weather was nice enough for all the children to play outside, even if we were all dressed in our best Sunday church clothes. Easter meant a new dress for Easter Sunday Mass. My birthday is also in the spring and often my new birthday dress doubled for a new Easter dress, too. 
Easter 1957, Dad, me, brother Steve, Mom
Some fun memories include dyeing hard-boiled eggs using the little cardboard kits with the colored dye tablets.  My mother always used coffee cups to fill with the different color dyes. This was a big ritual we did on Saturday afternoon. With six children, she boiled at least 3 or 4 dozen eggs, so there would be enough for the hunt. The youngest children were always so impatient and their eggs were usually very light in color or end up a muddy color because they dipped them in every cup! I liked my eggs to be a rich dark color, so really ended up coloring less than the rest.
1961 Easter, brother Jon, cousin Terry,
brother Steve, me, cousin Melanie
holding my sister, Danna

The hunt the next day was fun. My dad always found the weirdest places to hide the eggs—some so high up, none of the kids could see them. We never found them all on Easter and one or two would turn up weeks later smelling pretty bad. I never was a big fan of eating the eggs when I was younger (I love them now). I only ate the white part then.
My sisters Sabrina & Renee
with the Easter Bunny

Traditional Easter food was ham, scalloped potatoes or potato salad, and green beans. Hors d'oeuvres included such things as baby smoked oysters, spring onions and salt, radishes cut to look like flowers, onion dip with Granny Goose potato chips, pickles, and olives. I don’t remember dessert. Maybe there was pie, cake, or ice cream.
Easter 1979: Bunny Cake
Morning tradition included checking out what the Easter Bunny brought. The baskets would be found on the front or back porch: candy nestled in a basket with plastic green grass. I loved jelly beans and chocolate eggs best. Easter was also the end of Lent and we could finally eat candy again—so we got a piece quickly into our mouths before our parents knew. Then off to church for Mass. Mom didn’t go, so had a nice breakfast waiting for us: either eggs and bacon, or pancakes, or perhaps pastries.

Then the cousins and grandparents came and there was lots of fun!  

I have fond memories of Easter with my own children. I tried to do the same traditions with them: give up candy for Lent, color Easter eggs, have the Easter Bunny leave a basket of treats on the washer, go to Mass Easter morning, and have an Easter egg hunt. We usually went to my parents' house for dinner and the same great food would be had by all!
Easter 1992: my daughters Margaret &
Elizabeth visit to the Easter Bunny
Easter: a great start to the spring season and a fun way to spend time with family.
Easter Eggs 2014
Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

Friday, April 18, 2014

52 Ancestors, Week 11: Martin Gleeson (1859-1924)

This is week 11 of the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge” by Amy Crow from No Story Too Small.  I am a bit behind but intend to catch up.

This week I’m writing about Martin Gleeson (1859-1924).

Martin Gleeson was born 25 Jan 1859 to John Gleeson and Margaret Tierney.[1] He was their first child. If they used common Irish naming patterns, they named their first son after John’s father, Martin Gleeson (1787-1859). Martin would have never known his paternal grandfather who died in October of the same year he was born.
baptism at St. Philips Church, Richmond, Ontario

Martin lived on the family farm in Carleton County, Ontario until about 1879, when they all moved to Dakota Territory. On 7 October 1880, he presented himself to the clerk of the District Court in Davison County with his intention to become a naturalized citizen.[2] He became a citizen on 6 November 1886.[3]
The five Gleeson sons of John & Margaret Gleeson.
Not certain which one is Martin, but he would be the oldest.
Martin purchased about 142 acres of land for $10 in Dakota Territory on 30 May 1881.[4] The records from the Bureau of Land Management showed his sister’s husband, John H. Sullivan, land not for from his.  Census records and directories indicated that Martin had a dairy farm.

He married sometime in 1893 or so to Hannah Kane.[5] They had three children: Marguerite (1894-1962), Florence Ann (1896-1979), and Frederick Kane (1899-1938).[6] Hanna was born 4 Jan 1860 in Michigan and died 3 Feb 1917 of pneumonia.[7] She was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Mitchell, South Dakota.[8]
Martin moved to Oregon and was living on a farm on Watson Road in Beaverton, Washington County in 1920.[9] His two daughters lived with him.

He died on 18 Aug 1924 in Bend, Oregon.[10] It was due the result of an injury he sustained on 24 July the same year. A board that was going through a planer split at the Brooks-Scanton planning mill and a large splinter went into his hip. [11] He actually died from pneumonia but his body couldn’t fight the infection. According to the obituary, Martin had arrived in Oregon six years prior and had served as the county commissioner and city councilman.

The funeral was held 20 Aug 1924 at St. Francis Catholic church and he was buried at the Pilot Butte Cemetery in Bend. There is no photo of a tombstone, though there are tombstones for his two daughters who were also buried there.[12]

[1] St. Phillips Church, Richmond, Carleton Co, "Ontario, Canada, Parish registers, 1836-1917," digital images, FamilySearch,, film 1304679, B2, Feb 1859, Martin Gleeson. The baptism record gave the birth of “25th of January last.”
[2] Davison County, Dakota Territory, 2nd Judicial Division Court, Declarations of intention 1880-1886, p 24, 1880, Martin Gleeson, ( : accessed21 Apr 2013) citing Declarations of intention (first papers),V00229, 1878-1886, film 1220949 item 23, from South Dakota State Archives, Naturalization Records, Box 2 of 24.
[3] Davison County, South Dakota, “Petitions for naturalization 1882-1892 vol 2D, box 12,” p 133, 1886, Martin Gleeson ( : accessed21 Apr 2013), citing Citizenship papers (second papers), v. 2D (V00239), 1882-1892,  film 1221054 Item 1, from South Dakota State Archives, Naturalization Records, Box 12 of 24.
[4] U.S. Bureau of Land Management Tract Books, Dakota Territory, volume 12, p 134, Martin Gleeson, digital images, ( : 30 Jan 2013), citing Digital images of originals housed at Records Improvement, Bureau of Land Management, Washington, D.C.
[5] Based on married 6 years on the 1900 census.
[6] “Mrs. Gleeson Called Beyond,” obituary, Mitchell Daily Republican, 3 Feb 1917, p 5.
[7] Ibid.
[8] "Find A Grave," database and digital images, Find A Grave (, Memorial# 102004392, Calvary Cemetery, Mitchell SD, Hannah Kane Gleeson.
[9] Washington Co, Oregon, 1920 Federal census, pop. sched., ED 436, sht 3, p 280b, dwl 91, fam 79, Martin Gleeson, digital images, ( : accessed 16 Jun 2012), citing NARA roll 1505.
[10] Oregon State Board of Health, Certificate of Death, State no. 88, Local no. 57, 1924, Martin Gleeson.
[11] “Fatal Complication Sequel to Injuries,” The Bend (Oregon) Bulletin, 18 Aug 1924, Martin Gleeson.
[12] A researcher, Deborah Herrison, checked cemetery records in 2003 and found records of his burial but at the cemetery only the daughters, Florence Ann and Marguerite had tombstones.

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book of Me, Written by Me, Prompt 20: The Feeling of Home

The Book of Me, Written by Me is a blogging theme where one can write about their own life using blog themes posted each week. More information can be found at Anglers Rest here.

Home means different things to different people, so this week we are going to explore what it means to us:
  • What does it feel like?
  • How do you recognize it?
  • What makes it home - people, place, time?

Home first of all is in Contra Costa County, California. This county is located in Northern California and is part of the greater San Francisco Bay Area. We have a temperate weather—not to cold and not too warm overall.

In winter, though, it can be pretty frosty in the morning. Sometimes the Tule fog can linger for many hours after sunrise or appear just at dusk and that keeps it pretty cool. In summer, if the coastal fog remains off shore, our high temperature can reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit until the hot central valley heat finally draws the fog from over the ocean into the Bay Area and cooling us down again in the 80’s.

I’ve always wanted to try living somewhere else when I was younger: on a farm or horse ranch, on a beach, in the mountains, in a foreign country, or along a river. But now at my age, I am glad I stayed here where I think it’s the best place on earth to live. We’re 40 minutes from the ocean and 3 hours from the mountains. One could surf in the morning and snow ski in the afternoon all in one day (of course I would never do either--give me a good book to read sunbathing on the beach or sitting in front of a roaring fireplace).

Mt. Diablo 2012
There is one sight that really means home to me: Mt. Diablo. Whenever I am away from home on vacation, it is the first sight of the mighty 3,864 foot mountain appearing behind Walnut Creek that makes me truly feel home. It is truly a physical landmark that has been a part of my entire life, from its green hills in the spring, the yellow grass of the summer and fall, to the occasional snowfall in the winter. I have wonderful memories of hiking and camping on the mountain with family and Girl Scouts.

Mt. Diablo. My beacon calling me home.

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past