January 2021 Update

Featured

Mary Mitchell with corgis Annie and Abigail
Abigail and Annie were not being cooperative for this photo session.

Hey there friends out on the internet. How were your holidays? I hope everyone has remained healthy, that you are managing financially, and that you are able to see your loved ones.

All’s well here. As you can see, Annie and I have a new puppy. I was searching for a dog to adopt on Craig’s List and happened on a Corgi puppy. Our whole household is getting out more. No more sitting in front of the computer for hours for me. Sometimes Annie is very happy for the company and sometimes not.

Abigail and Annie on the floor in my studio.
Annie likes it best when Abigail is contained.
Abigail and Annie guarding the garden against squirrels.
Abigail and Annie guarding the garden against squirrels.
Both dogs still fit on my chair during coffee time in the morning.
Both dogs still fit on my chair during coffee time in the morning.

We’ve taken one day-trip together. You might have seen the above YouTube video about it.

Making YouTube videos has been my Stay-at-home thing. I run two channels. One is for my RV stuff called Rambling in Ramsey. I posted this video a vew months ago about converting my Ram ProMaster City into a camperfan without building anything or making permanent changes to the van.

I haven’t taken any overnight trips in a while because of the pandemic. Sadly, that means I haven’t seen my family in Southern California for a while. Real bummer. But the grandson who lives near me in Marin County loves toodling around town in Ramsey. Our favorite haunts are still the Railroad Station and the Dump.

I also have a YouTube channel by my author name, Mary Ames Mitchell. I post stuff about my books and genealogy research on that one. At the beginning of 2020, I created a series of videos about book formatting. You can access them from the tab above “Self-Publishing Guides.” But I need to redo them using a more updated verrsion of Microsoft Word.

My current project is a video about human rights. For several months, I’ve been working on a video about my great-great grandparents Charles and Fanny Ames. They were human rights activists in the 1800s. Originally, I only intended to compile the historical research that I had in my possession so that the rest of my family could access it. But as I gathered letters and notes, I wanted to know more details.

Researching through Charles and Fanny’s eyes, I’ve learned how interconnected the abolition and women’s rights movements were, how the Unitarians were involved, and what exactly heppened between 1833 (the founding of the American Abolition Society) and 1920 (the ratification of the 19th amendment). It’s amazing how many parallels I’ve found to what is going on today with human rights on all fronts (race, sex, and religion). Now I know how the term liberal came about.

I’ll let you know when I finish. Meanwhile, stay safe and be kind to each other.

Self-Publishing Tips

Hi. I have shanghaied this website which was meant for my travel blogs, for placing some downloads for my self-publishing YouTube videos. GoDaddy, who hosted my website with all my writing stuff on it, quadrupled their prices. So I canceled the whole thing. Since I already pay for this website, I am using it. Please forgive me if all you want to see is information about traveling in Ramsey Jr (who is not going anywhere these days). If you are interested in self-publishing, then enjoy it.

Suggested Retail Price Worksheet

This graph goes with my video about preparing for downloading your self-published book to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. One thing you need to do is figure out your suggested retail price. This worksheet gives you the formulas to do that.

Worksheet-for-Establishing-Retail-Price

To watch the YouTube video. Click here.

 

Santa Barbara, Rincon, Santa Paula, the Sisters on the Fly

God, I love my state. I count my blessings every time I drive south along Highway 101 to Santa Barbara. One thing I was struck by this time, that I hadn’t noticed before, is how many Camino Real bells there are between King City and San Luis Obispo — one every five minutes or so. Does that mean there were once that many here at the northern end of the Royal Road between San Francisco and Sonoma?

Camino-Real-Sign-Bradley-CA

Let’s hope the ignorant general public continues to ignore them.

After leaving super early on a Wednesday, so I could clear the South Bay before rush hour, I made it to Santa Barbara by 2:00ish. I visited two places. The first was a retirement village named Samarkand after the hotel of that name that my great-grandmother Mary Hopkins established in the building that her son, my maternal grandfather, Prynce Hopkins, had built in Persian style for the Montesorri-like school he founded in 1913 called Boyland. (Long sentence, sorry. Sometimes it is difficult trying to be factually and historically correct.)

Samarkand

The blue urns, now planters, are remnants from the hotel. My great-grandmother probably imported them from the Middle-East where they were created to store olive oil. See the koi pond at the left? Grandpa built that for the school. Here is a photo from the history exhibit the complex displays. My aunt Jennifer Hopkins provided the old photo for the exhibit.

BoylandII-Pools

The round pool beyond the koi pond was a swimming pool for the school children. It was shaped like a globe to help teach the children geography.

The second place I visited was the Santa Barbara History Museum.

SantaBarbaraHistoryMuseum

Even though I have been visiting Santa Barbara since I was in my Mommy’s belly (to visit  her father [d. 1970] and grandmother Mary [d. 1955]), I had never been to the museum — at least that I remember. Here are some of the highlights for me.

First, I noticed upon entering the museum that the stone with the brass plaque to the left of the door is exactly like the gravestone for my great-grandfather Charles Harris Hopkins’ in the nearby Santa Barbara Cemetery (the photo below).

HopkinsCharlesGrave

Next, it was fun to see photos of Santa Barbara back when my great-grandparents moved there. They built their home on the corner of Pedregosa and Garden Streets back in 1897. Their son, Grandpa, who would have been twelve in 1897, later wrote about the horse-drawn trollies running down State Street. He mentioned that sometimes the trolly drivers waited outside a store for a rider to do her shopping, then continued on after she reboarded.

Old-Santa-Barbara

I also liked seeing this old embroidered silk shawl. I have one just like it that used to belong to my great-grandmother Mary. Maybe she used to wear it for the annual Santa Barbara Fiesta?

Shawl

I spent the night at the Rincon Parkway Campground, a strip of parking spaces along the highway between the ocean and the cliffs.

Next morning I headed to Santa Paula for a Sisters on the Fly weekend event. The Sisters on the Fly is a group of about 14,000 women around the US and Europe who like to camp and have fun. They have four rules for joining their events. 1) No men. 2) No children. 3) Be nice. 4) Have fun. The fun activitiy planned for this weekend was paddling kayaks along the coast of Anacapa Island.

That was Friday. On Saturday, we hung about the KOA campground, did some crafts, got to know each other over coffee, and then, following Sisters on the Fly tradition, toured the women’s camper trailers, or, as in my case, campervans. I only filmed the fun vintage trailers.

On Sunday, before heading to Pasadena to visit my grandchildren, I took advantage of Family Day in Santa Paula. All the museums were open for free. There is an Agricultural Museum,

SantaPaulaAgriculturalMuseum

an oil industry museum,

OilMuseum1

OIlMuseum2-OilRigs

and two art museums. The drive from Santa Paula to Pasadena through orange and avocado groves was very pretty, but the weather was cloudy. So I’m not going to include my photos.

That’s it for now.

Otis, Massachusetts

Hi there.

My ukulele and I have been in Massachusetts, where we performed Henry’s Big Kaboom for the children of Otis, population 1549. Otis is one of the 56± towns along the Henry Knox Trail. Ramsey and Annie stayed at home for this one. Here is a short video.

Women’s Rights and Child Labor Laws

Julia-Frances-Fanny-Baker-Ames-_Young-n-Old

Julia Frances ‘Fanny’ Baker Ames (1840-1931)

This is why studying my ancestors can be so interesting. Often I find connections between events in the distant past that enrich my understanding of events today. This time the women’s rights and child labor law connections are between my great-great-grandmother Fanny Baker Ames and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Yesterday I wrote up a bio of Fanny because she is being featured in an exhibit for the Massachusetts State Police Museum. Fanny lived in Boston in the 1880s, when she was in her 40s. While her husband Charles Gordon Ames busied himself as the minister of the Church of Disciples Unitarian Church, Fanny served as the president of the Boston Equal Suffrage Association, held offices in the Massachusetts and New England Woman Suffrage Association for Good Government, served two terms on the Boston School Committee, and was one of the first women on the original Board of Trustees for Simmons College.

Most relevant to this blog post, on May 9, 1891, Fanny was one of the first two women hired as officers for the Massachusetts State Police. The other woman, Mary Ellen Healy, lived in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Fanny and Mary Ellen worked as factory inspectors to help enforce the new child labor laws. Men officers were each paid $1,500 per year. The women were each paid $1,000 per year, though the men and the women did the same job. Fanny worked for the police until 1897. But Mary Ellen stayed on for 37 years.

Then this morning (February 20, 2018), on BBCNews Online, I read about Elizabeth Warren officially launching in Lawrence, Massachusetts her campaign for the 2020 Democratic race. “Ahh, Lawrence,” I thought, curiosity piqued because, of course, I remembered learning yesterday about Mary Ellen of Lawrence. I related to this news article with a completely different perspective than if I had not written Fanny’s bio yesterday.

“The Massachusetts senator told the crowd of several thousand in Saturday’s blustery cold about Everett Mill. …. Back in 1912 [when Mary Ellen was still an inspector there], the textile factory was the scene of a labor strike for better pay and working conditions that expanded to include 20,000 workers, mostly women, in the then-bustling industrial town.

The west side of Everett Mills as viewed from Essex Street.

Everett Mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts. (Photo placed on Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, by EMC)

“The movement that started in Lawrence, [Warren] explained, led to government-mandated minimum wage, union rights, weekends off, overtime pay and new safety laws across the US. The story of Lawrence is a story about how real change happens in America,” Ms. Warren said. “It’s a story about power  –  our power  –  when we fight together.”

I suspect Elizabeth Warren caused as many eyes to roll as I do when I talk about my ancestors, but wouldn’t Fanny have been happy to know that six of the ten Democratic candidates running so far for President in 2020 (400 years after Fanny’s ancestors Francis Cooke and Richard Warren stepped off the Mayflower) are women? Richard Warren may well be Elizabeth Warren’s ancestor, too. Six degrees!

Massachusetts militia entering Everett Mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1912. Photo copyrighted by the Lawrence History Center.

Photo from the Lawrence History Center Exhibit: “Bread and Roses Strike of 1912: Two Months in Lawrence, Massachusetts, that Changed Labor History”

Holiday Closet Sorting

HopkinsChestVideo-prt2-Cover

Hi there. A few months ago, I reorganized my blogs so that this blog, Rambling in Ramsey, is just about my travels in my campervan and other RV-related thoughts, while my other blog, Peach Plum Press (the name of my publishing company), is about my writing projects. Since nearly all of my writing projects have to do with genealogy, I am now posting genealogy-related subjects on Peach Plum Press. For those of you would like to follow along, here is the link to Peach Plum Press.

https://peachplumpress.wordpress.com/

Happy Holidays

Last Leg of the Henry Knox Trail

Hi. I hope everyone had a fun Thanksgiving. Lucky me, I got to be with all three of my grandsons and their families. Meanwhile, I was able to finish this video compilation of my trip in September 2018 through southern Massachusetts following the Henry Knox Trail (West Springfield to Cambridge). I also visited some amazing libraries. I sorta screwed up on my video labeling. This is Part 2 of following the trail but actually, Part 4 of my series on being in New England doing Henry Knox related things.

As I noted in the comments section on YouTube:

For a copy of my sing-along children’s history book about the trail, Henry’s Big Kaboom, go to the Fort Ticonderoga Museum Store at http://www.fortticonderoga.org and click the ‘shop’ tab. You can also order it on Amazon. You can view the animated video (same title – Henry’s Big Kaboom) on YouTube.

To view my video about following the first part of the Henry Knox Trail go to https://youtu.be/aD9fu4BeTzI.

For a written guide (pdf) to following the Henry Knox Trail, check out the Hudson River Valley Foundation website at http://www.hudsonrivervalley.org/themes/knoxtrail.html. They updated the guide a year ago.

That’s it for now. Keep on Rambling.

USA Swing Videos – Pasadena to Vermont to Maryland to Pasadena

Brochures for the National Parks I saw on my westward leg of my USA Swing

Traveling westward, I visited 5 National Parks, 3 National Historic Sites, 5 National Monuments, 1 National Recreation Site and 1 National Historical Park as well as county and state parks.

I’ve just posted on to YouTube my video’s of my August to September USA Swing. In the second video, I included a clip about how I found free or inexpensive campsites using an app called AllStays.

Here are the links. The video for the trip eastward takes about 12 minutes and the video for the trip home is 33 minutes. I love it when people leave comments on YouTube and subscribe to my channel.

I feel so lucky to have been able to see our spectacular county this way. Next time I take this trip, I will make it in October and November when it is cooler.

I’m in Wisconsin

It is stormy and green here in the cheese state, but gorgeous.

Since my last post, I spent a peaceful night by the lake at Split Rock Creek State Campground just east of the Minnesota border – the best site for a night in Ramsey ever.

About 15 minutes up the road, I toured Pipestone National Monument, where American Indians have mined the red stone used for peace pipes for as long as their oral tradition remembers. The red stone is thought to contain the blood of their ancestors, hence a very spiritual stone.

This reproduction of a painting by George Caitlin shows the mines in the middle of the prairie in the mid 1800s.

Then I dashed through corn field after corn field to St Paul on the other side of Minnesota to visit my third-cousin-once-removed, Leila. She turns 94 this Thursday. I spent two nights in a real bed.

On Saturday, we toured Grand Hill, where her side of our family lived for four generations, and where my paternal grandmother spent her childhood. The current owner of 501 Grand let us look around.

This morning, more of my third cousins gathered for breakfast. Here are four generations of Ameses.

Next destination, Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. I must drive through Illinois and Indiana first. I’m due in Vermont for the wedding festivities for my niece on Friday.

The Henry Knox Trail 3-Part Video Series

Haven Younger and Mary Mitchell singing the chorus of Henry's Big Kaboom

Haven Younger and Mary Mitchell singing the chorus of Henry’s Big Kaboom

Hi. I find many of you prefer to watch videos than to read through blogs, so I’ve put together a three-part series about my trip to New England I hope you will enjoy.

Part I is my visit to Fort Ticonderoga in New York and a snippet of my performance of Henry’s Big Kaboom for the children.

Part II starts with finding New York Marker No. 1 of the Henry Knox Trail in Ticonderoga and following the rest of the markers through Albany, over the border into Massachusetts, and on to Westfield. That took three days. I then had to dash to Thomaston, Maine for the ‘Boom’ event. I will finish the trail from Westfield to Cambridge in September when I return to New England for my niece Megan’s wedding.

Part III shows my visit to the Henry Knox Museum aka Montpelier. Imagine what it’s like to view a place that, even though a replica of the original, is where your ancestors lived for three generations. As evidenced by the streets named after my 5x-great-grandparents (Knox St, Thatcher St, & Flucker St), they also established the town. I performed my Henry ballad a second time and met third cousins Amy MacDonald and Charles Fletcher (fellow Knox descendants) I’d never met before. Thrilling. After working hard to update our family tree and connect with my family, it was also very emotional.

Part I

Part II