Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Thomas P. White - now I have to truly take my head out of the sand

I have been checking out the records of Danbury, Ct. researching a maternal branch of my tree. I found a couple juicy stories, one of which I have posted on this blog.

Earlier this morning, while looking at the same branch, I started down a rabbit hole regarding the Spanish American War and a volunteer army heading down to Cuba. The newspaper articles are too long to transcribe here, but maybe one day I will recount the story.

Back to the Danbury records. 

Twice I have seen the birth records of a person before whose name comes the descriptor 'negro'. Here is the record that got me to write today.

I modified this image from something I found on Ancestry - Connecticut Town Birth Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006.Original data:White, Lorraine Cook, ed. The Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records. Vol. 1-55. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994-2002.

And here is the image of the 1790* census with Thomas P. White being the only person on the page who listed an enslaved person. Do we assume that enslaved person is Jenny? And if so, where is her son Benhadaa?

I have started a tree on Ancestry with Benhadaa as the home person and I hope to find more information about him and his mother. I am pretty sure I know how the father fits into my tree, but there are a couple Thomas P.'s, so I need to do more checking. I haven't got the answer yet because I wanted to write this discovery before I finished the research.

Searching the entire Danbury census, I found there were 23 enslaved people in Danbury at the time. And, interestingly, there is a column heading: "All Other Free Persons" and in that column there are 20 people enumerated.

In two cases these free people are living with white families. And we assume this because the families made up of "all other free people"  use the descriptor 'negro' after the name is listed. (Here we see an obvious incidence of white privilege.... one is assumed to be white unless you are called out as otherwise....)

In Danbury of 1790

    - 2 slaves and 1 Free non-white person is living with John Trobridge

    - 1 Free non-white person is living with Samuel H. Phillips

    - 5 free people living with a family headed by Cato negro

    - 5 free people living with a family headed by Limri negro

    - 2 free people living with a family headed by Jubi negro

    - 2 free people living with a family headed by Cato negro

Of course I can't be sure I am not making an assumption that the 2 people who are living with white families are not indigenous people. I do, assume, that it is probably pretty safe to assume that they are of either mixed English-African heritage or African heritage. 

But of course by this time the American Revolution has been fought and won.

I heard on the radio the other day about a man named Venture Smith. (Here is the wikipedia entry about him.) He was a man who was captured in Guinea, West Africa as a child and bought his freedom and that of his family. He recounted his own autobiography. In the radio story I heard someone suggest wouldn't the world be a much better place if America had ended slavery during the time of the American Revolution rather than allowing the practice to continue another 100 years. More information about Mr. Smith can be found here.

NPR did a story on Thomas Jefferson and his stance on slavery. Essentially the author of a book on Jefferson and Sally Hemings - Annette Gordon-Reed - indicated that Jefferson knew slavery would rip the country apart, but did not take on the task of dismantling it. The podcast is worth the listen. Professor Gordon-Reed is a professor at Harvard Law School.

I said that I had to take my head out of the sand because I can no longer deny that my family owned enslaved people. (In the past I have had to acknowledge that my family benefited from the labor of enslaved people.) Right here is the evidence. And I only recently learned that Abraham Lincoln did not free the enslaved people of the north, only from those states that fought against the north.

As I drafted this post I learned that Prince, a "negro" son born to Ebenzer Russell White died at age 17, so I suspect there are no descendants of his that I can find. But that is two White brothers who conceived sons (raped might be more accurate) with enslaved women.

    * image copied from here: Year: 1790; Census Place: Danbury, Fairfield, Connecticut; Series: M637; Roll: 1; Page: 45; Image: 418; Family History Library Film: 0568141

Monday, August 10, 2020

Joseph Moss White and his scandal

Who knows how much of this story is embesllished. It was publised 4 years after the death of said Joseph Moss White. It is a delightfully horrible, or horribly delightful, tale. There is another news story I need to trasscribe which has difference figures - multiplied by ten! So, instead of $45,000, it was $400,000 provided to the young Mr. White. 

I tried to find 40 rues des Cosseles in Paris and no such address - at least not now. 

And Stydd House.... there were references to it on Google, but it wasn't quite clear, so I gave up without more information. 

And what is Colon? I don't know. 

From The Weekly Times-Democrat (New Orleans, Louisiana 26 February 1892) 



The Rapid Career of Young Joseph Moss White - He was wayward from childhood and left a record in every city in Europe 

New York, February 17th - there have been many rich young New Yorkers who have plunged into gay life in a wholesale manner and cause no end of talk while they were doing it. There was never much talked about the life led in Europe by Joseph Moss White and Harvey Spencer, Jr., And yet it was more extraordinary than that of any other young Americans who have made a stir abroad. Whilel New York heard little of them, their names were familiar in London, Paris, Vienna and even the Far East. A good many years ago Eli White was at the head of a large hat manufacturing establishment in New York. He made money and judiciously invested it in real estate. It was never necessary for his son Joseph Moss White to do any work, and he never did any. He wanted to make a good marriage and he succeeded. He married Matilda Wolfe Bishop, the sister of David Wolfe Bishop and the cousin of Catherine Wolfe. The marriage caused a bitter quarrel between the bride and her family. Joseph Moss White died before the only son of the marriage was born. The son was named after the father and he is the hero of the story. Mrs. White had a considerable fortune in her own name. 

When in his childhood, the posthumous boy was wayward. there was nothing wicked in his nature, but he was always getting into scrapes. He was prepared for Princeton, where he remained about two years. His wildness caused his mother to send him abroad under the care of a tutor, the Rev. Samuel J. McPherson. The young man led the reverend gentleman a mad dance over the continent. While he was abroad Eli White, the grandfather, died, leaving the young man $15,000 which caused surprise. The old gentleman did not like the manner in which the young man had acted. The bulk of the great fortune was divided between his children, John Jay White, who lives at Fifth Avenue and Forty-second Miss Susan White, who lives in Kensington, London, and young White's mother, who received her husband's share. Miss White was fond of the youthful Joseph, she thought he had been unfairly treated, and so she settled $45,000 upon him.

About this time White's chief end in life seemed to be to fall in love with every pretty girl he met. He was usually engaged to three charming young women at one time in his own social circle, besides having many liaisons with women beneath it. He was always bubbling over with animal spirits and wine.


In 1881, while he was in his uncle's house at Lenox, he met Harvey Spencer, a young man of fine family, fine manners and fine clothes. Spencer belonged to the Spencers of Guilford, Connecticut. When Joseph White met Harvey Spencer the latter was known and every fashionable house in New York. He was said to be the best dancer in society and a thorough man of the world. Two years before he had gone to Hong Kong, China, to make his fortune. He did not make it, but he did lose his health. Spencer and White became fast friends directly. Mr. Bishop encouraged the friendship. One reason was that Spencer's shattered health made it impossible for him to go into excesses. But he could not curb White. The young man contracted a passion for Marion Whitehorn and brandy, which nearly resulted in his ruin. The young woman was extremely pretty and thoroughly bad. White had met her in Crane’s resort in West Thirtieth Street. Her real name was Mary Flenner, and she claimed to be the divorced wife of a gambler. The young woman exercised a powerful influence over White, whose mind and body began to give way because of excessive brandy drinking.

It became necessary to take vigorous measures. Mr. Bishop asked Mr. Spencer if he would not lend his assistance. The first step was to get White away from the woman. The plan agreed upon was virtually a kidnapping. Mr. Bishop wanted to pay all the expenses. White was spirited away to Washington first. It was at times necessary to detain him by force in order to prevent him returning to New York. He was virtually insane. Then the young man was brought to Jersey City, placed on a steam tug and taken to Staten Island, where he was transferred to the steamer Alva bound for Haiti and Colon. In the meantime detectives were searching high and low for White at the insistence of Marion Whitehorn, who claimed that her husband had been kidnapped. At Colon, White and Spencer were met by Allan Pinkerton, the detective, who directed them to sail for England on the steamer Moselle. The vessel put up for a few days at St. Thomas where the voyagers were met by a man named Field, who came at the insistence of the so-called wife. Field interested the United States Consul in the case and managed to see White. The young man wanted to return to the woman, but Spencer managed to get the charge away safely. On the long voyage White was weaned away from brandy, and he began to improve.

The two young men journey through England and the Continent and then went to India and the Far East. They also visited Australia. When White became of age he threw money to the winds. When he was in the clutches of Marion Whitehorn Mr. Bishop induced him to place the principle of his fortune in trust until he was 25, so that it should not be squandered. Subsequently, just before the kidnapping, he signed without reading the document making the trust deed cover his entire life. When the young men started from New York Mr. Bishop agreed to allow them $4,000 a year. This was inadequate. When White improved the whole income was given to him. The legitimate income ranged from $20,000 to $23,000 a year. White had become so attached to Spencer that he proposed that they live together and share the income. They lived at a tremendous rate. In Paris they had a beautifully furnished hotel at No. 40 Rue de Cosseles, and their cook was said to be the best in Paris. They had a fine country place in Hampshire, England, called Stydd House, where they kept eighteen horses and a retinue of servants. They also maintained a sailing yacht and a steam yacht. For the latter they paid $30,000. At a New Year's banquet given in Paris in 1888 White caught a cold, which developed into dry pleurisy. White was seized with a coughing fit, the abscess burst and White died of suffocation. He was then 28 years old. The will provided that all outstanding debts in the names of White and Spencer should be paid out of the estate, and that a sufficient sum should be placed in trust to yield Spencer $10,000 a year. Spencer had the body embalmed, and 10 days later he started with it to America. He was met at the pier by Mr. Bishop, who told him that White’s will was useless, as he had no property to bequeath, having surrendered at all to his mother. Spencer says that Mr. Bishop had the body secretly buried the next morning, without letting him or any of White’s friends know anything about it.

At the time of White’s death there were $45,000 of debts. Of this Spencer claims to have paid off $26,000. Next Friday the case will go on. It is said Spencer will begin a fight to have the will carried out in spite of the release he gave. Counsel for White’s mother says Spencer is unprincipled in his demands for money.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Last person to receive a Civil War pension dies

Let me start by saying:

Black Lives Matter.

I don't want to ignore or pay lip service; I recognize my statement does little to help. I recognize that I do not write/exist in a vacuum. I put that statement out into the Universe from my heart for the Universe to absorb and manifest change. And, yes, I recognize that is not enough, but by putting it out there, I pray for it to help me in my every action to manifest the change that we as humankind need.

A couple of weeks ago I realized I missed getting The Week Magazine. I love the little distillations of the news of the day. And I love the different perspectives. I really only watch one national news program and sitting beside a spouse that does not view the world the same way I view the world has made me notice that perhaps the news outlet I watch is not quite as diverse in perspective as I was convinced it was. I hope* resuming my subscription to The Week will allow me to see outside my bubble a little better.

However, my reason for popping up today of all days is because I saw something written by Catherine Garcia in The Week that brought me back to genealogy and family history. Of course it is perhaps ironic that it should be something about the Civil War - AND, to boot, that it is about someone who started out as a Confederate and changed to become a Union soldier.

Irene Triplett, whose father Mose Triplett served in the Confederate Army before defecting and joining the Union, died Sunday at age 90, following complications from a broken hip. The North Carolina resident was able to receive her dad's Civil War pension — $73.13 every month — because she had cognitive impairments and qualified as a helpless adult child of a veteran.

Military records show that after two years as a Confederate soldier, Mose Triplett "deserted" in 1863, just one week before his old regiment was nearly wiped out during the Battle of Gettysburg. He applied for his pension in 1885, and Irene Triplett was born in 1930, when her father was 83 years old. Her mother, 27 at the time, was his second wife. Mose Triplett died in 1938 at age 92.

One of Irene Triplett's relatives told The Wall Street Journal she had a rough childhood, with kids saying her father was a "traitor." Later in life, she found friendship with other residents at Accordius Health, a nursing home in Wilkesboro. Jamie Phillips, the activities director, told The Washington Post Triplett like playing Bingo, listening to gospel music, and telling her friends about what she heard on the news. "I never saw her angry," she said. "Everything was funny."

I just cut and pasted that above from the digital version of the magazine. In the print edition, it mentions that Irene's father, Mose Triplett, fought with the 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry, a Union Regiment known as Kirk's Raiders, which carried out a campaign of sabotage.

The Smithsonian Magazine has a nice write up about Ms. Triplett here. It that article it mentions when the last Civil War soldiers and widows died.

The last two veterans of the Civil War died in the 1950s at more than 100 years old, according to U.S. News. The last Confederate widow, Maudie Hopkins, died in 2008 at age 93, while the last Union widow, Gertrude Janeway, died in 2003 at age 93.

The Smithsonian article directed me through a link to Digital's article on Kirk's Raiders. Digital Heritage indicates that it is "Connecting Appalachian culture and traditions with the world." It is created and maintained by students of Western Carolina University. I have to say, what a rabbit hole this has led me down. And a lot of same shit, different day. A lot of gray and nuance and history-is- written-by-the-victor kind of thing. If you read and believe this article, though a Union soldier - you know, "the good guys", George Kirk sounds like a psychopath. [But I was not there and I am not trained to identify a socio- or psychopath.]

Well, that was more than I bargained for.... I just thought I was observing the passing of an era. It might be interesting to spend some time with the women who married the veterans to secure the pension. That action certainly suggests an interesting context for family history.

* Yes, I recognize that just hoping is inadequate.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Knitting for the Apocalypse

My niece asked me about genealogy the other day and I had a delightful time sharing with her. I'm afraid I haven't been blogging at all. I'm afraid it hadn't even crossed my mind. Hadn't even been doing genealogy until my niece asked me about it.

But then a friend sent me a link to the NYTimes article about knitting for the apocalypse. I'll see if I can share here for you. [I cut and pasted it below, sans photographs.]

I myself have not been knitting. I have been sewing masks. And with the scraps from those masks I have been making a plague skirt. I was going to make a plague quilt.... but then I was reminded by a friend that that had already been done. Ah, yes, so it had. [The AIDS Quilt.] I knew my plague quilt would not be pretty, but it would be historical.

I am feeling fortunate that I had the stash of quilting cottons in my closet. Wish I had a lot of elastic, too.

I think my skirt may be my 2021 Mardi Gras costume.... even if there isn't a Mardi Gras. A friend here in New Orleans said even if it's not a formal thing here next year, she'll be wearing a costume to the grocery store or on a walk, need be, because she will be costuming.

Here is the article written by Alexandra Marvar, May 8, 2020:

Why settle for a tea cozy when you can make knitwear fit for a nuclear winter?

Pastimes of yore have been all the rage during this pandemic — flower pressing, jigsaw puzzles, baking bread — and on that list, knitting continues to climb. In Spain, a hipster knitting company’s sales are surging. In Britain, there’s a run on supplies as the Prince of Wales rallies influencers to boost yarn crafts. Tutorials and essays espousing the healing powers of knitting have flooded the internet. In short: We’ve hit peak crafting.

But the fact that knitting-related businesses, in particular, are seeing a boost during this time of social and economic stress fits a historical pattern. When Danielle Romanetti opened her yarn shop in Alexandria, Va., in 2009, it was the pit of the Great Recession.

Loans were nearly impossible to get, and for the most part, people were holding onto their money. Yet Ms. Romanetti’s business immediately did well, she said. “Where travel and a lot of other things weren’t happening,” she said, “people were turning to needles and yarn.”

Now some of Ms. Romanetti’s customers are reaching out about a T-shirt that her shop, Fibre Space, used to sell. It debuted during the 2016 presidential election, and features a skull-and-crossbones motif — the skull in a stockinette stitch, and the bones, a crochet hook and a knitting needle. The text reads: “Come The Apocalypse I Will Have Clothing.”

“People are digging them out of their closets, wearing them again, sending me pictures,” Ms. Romanetti, 39, said of the T-shirts, which she reissued because of demand. “I guess it feels like the right time to bring it back.”

Knitting is a renowned stress reliever, at least for those not bothered by the clacking sounds made by its more ardent practitioners. Ms. Romanetti picked it up when she was in graduate school, to soothe her anxiety disorder, and for decades it has been suggested as a cure for rheumatism, tension, addiction, nervousness, insomnia, so on. But it has long been a foil to external chaos too.

Let us pause to recall the tricoteuse, a woman who sits and knits, coolly carrying on with her handwork as the world unravels around her. Fiction’s most famous was Madame Defarge, knitting through public executions during the French Revolution.

Then there are those who take a more active hand, wielding their needles as the novelist and knitter Barbara Kingsolver sees them: “the point-nosed plow of preparedness.” These knitters confess to squirreling away skeins of yarn as if they were disaster supplies. They share memes proclaiming knitting “a post-apocalyptic life skill.” For them, knitting isn’t merely a way to keep the hands busy; it is preparation for end times.

In mid-April, the pandemic forced a major knitting industry event, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, to go online (with less emphasis on the sheep than usual). Shannon Okey, 45, a textile maker and the owner of a small press in Cleveland, needed something special to help her make back some of the lost income from the canceled fair. She settled on reissuing a book that spoke to this very idea.

“Doomsday Knits,” first published in 2012, was a cult favorite collection of patterns for comfy knit survival gear that landed somewhere between, as one knitter put it, the attire we imagined we’d wear when the world ended (Mad Max-esque accouterments) and what many have ended up wearing (pajamas).

In recent years, copies of the out-of-print paperback started going for $60 at independent bookstores and listing for upward of $200 online. As this strange spring progressed, Ms. Okey said she received a number of inquiries as to whether it would be available again.

“We rereleased it, and in no time it goes from zero to ‘Oh my God,’” Ms. Okey said. “Did everyone get their stimulus checks or are we all whistling past the graveyard?”

The creator of the book, Alexandra Tinsley, 34, of Ypsilanti, Mich., is a former professional knitter now furloughed from an enamel pin company. Each pattern in the book had its own vivid apocalyptic scenario. The cover features a garter-stitch balaclava paired with a Chernobyl-era military-grade gas mask.

An apocalypse knitting book was bound to happen at some point, according to Franklin Habit, 47, who works full-time in the knitting industry, by writing, illustrating and teaching internationally. “You know that thing: If something exists, someone’s made porn out of it? Well, if something exists, knitters have done something with it.”

“There are fandom knitters — knitters who are into ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Star Trek’ — knitters who are into burlesque, preppy cardigan knitters, knitters who are into punk,” Mr. Habit said. “You have everything, including the extreme spectrums of left wing and right wing.”

After Ravelry, a social network with nine million users that is at the heart of the online knitting world, banned open support for Donald Trump on the site in 2019, Mr. Habit said he was placed on a conservative knitters’ blacklist for being Arab-American and openly gay. But while politics may divide them, knitters can agree on at least one thing: Come the apocalypse, they will have clothing.

“In times of peril and crisis, handwork people find ways to make the best of what’s available,” he said. Indeed, beyond tending to their own needs, knitters have been called on, war after war, to stitch lifesaving “service woolies” for soldiers. (“Remember Pearl Harbor: Purl Harder” and “Knit Your Bit,” American World War II-era posters read.)

The practice is perfectly suited to conditions of scarcity. Sure, one can spend nearly $300 on a baseball-size skein of Jacques Cartier vicuña hair yarn (from an Andean relative of the llama), but one could just as soon unravel a forgotten garment, cast on and make something new, as pilgrims and pioneers may have, knitting by firelight on the decks of ships and in covered wagons, and as Britons during the World War II were ordered to under the “Make Do and Mend” campaign.

There’s also the easy comfort of the finished products themselves.

“I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the post-apocalyptic branch of science fiction is not where we are headed,” said Deborah Nadoolman Landis, a Hollywood costume designer and fashion scholar. “I don’t think anybody wants to look like Neo from ‘The Matrix’ right now. I think people want to take embroidered handkerchiefs and stitch them together to make a blouse — things that are pretty and soft, that help with a feeling of security in a time that’s so unknown.”

Ms. Landis, 67, created the costumes for the 1981 movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and recently curated a science fiction-themed show for the Science Museum, London (postponed because of the pandemic). She believes knitting is an extension of the innate human drive to make something out of nothing.

“It’s very much part of the human condition to go back to basics,” she said. “In the joy of making something you can wear yourself, whether it’s a mask or a sweater, there’s an enormous feeling of confidence — in that ability to be self-reliant.”

And so customers new and old continue to patronize yarn stores like Ms. Romanetti’s (or their online outposts). She or members of her staff are there six days a week, fulfilling orders and hosting virtual shopping appointments on Zoom.

But there is one caveat.

“There is something very strange about knitting when 2020 is going to be the hottest on record,” Ms. Landis said. “If we’re knitting, we have to knit linen. I’m in Los Angeles. It’s going to be 85 degrees here tomorrow. What are we all doing knitting wool?”

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Valentine from 1923

I'd have to say this image looks a little young for someone who was born in December 1904 - so she is 18 - to be receiving....

But Olive kept it until she died. So Al must have been important to her.

Not sure I'd want a card with a guy stuck on fly paper. Not sure that sounds romantic, but you never know.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Sleuthing the Kirkpatricks

It has been a very long time since I have posted. I have been researching, but apparently haven't felt like blogging in a long time.

With that being said, I am meeting with a DNA cousin tomorrow and I brought a ton of unlabeled photographs to share with him in the hopes he might recognize some people. I have also been posting photos on the Kirkpatrick Genealogy Facebook page, hoping maybe someone there might know the people. Alas, it seems that there are many Kirkpatricks which came to this country in the mid-1700s, but mine came over in about 1831, and I have yet to meet a Kirkpatrick cousin from that larger group. Whereas my family stayed in Troy, NY, the rest of the Clan seems to have headed south and west.

BUT, the person I am meeting tomorrow is absolutely a Kirkpatrick cousin and from the Troy, NY area. So I know he is family.

I recently had an "aha!" moment when I realized that I recognized a house in the background. Guessing on the children, I assumed the photograph was from 1900 and I looked at the census for that address and sure enough, the people I assumed were in the photograph were all living in the house together at the time.

The first photograph below I know all the people.

Nellie Jane Kirkpatrick Lee with sons Herbert "Herb" and Horace "Harry"

This photograph was labeled - and I do know the house - Kirkpatricks after the porch and fence taken.

And this third photograph was the mystery. But based on the known children above, the 1900 Census, and other photographs of the house, I think this must be Martha Jane Wright Kirkpatrick holding Harry with little Herb standing in front.

As of a few years ago, the house looks like this:

The house has seen some better days.

This was a house in my family for generations. Through the census documents, one can see first that Charles and Nellie Jane lived there with her brother and sister-in-law, and Nellie and Oliver are in and out a couple times, and then Martha Jane's father is there with them for a while before his death, and then Oliver and Nellie raise their children there. Must have been a sad day when the house was sold and Olive moved with her parents Oliver and Nellie to Bronxville, NY.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Baron's Son Kills Wife and Himself, Say Jersey Police

I was researching a branch of my tree and came across the obituary of a cousin three times removed or some such. In that article, the names of her family members were included. I added the names to my private, off line tree; these are my cousins, after all. I then went and looked at my DNA and found a person with one of those names... What a find! So I contacted her through Ancestry and we have been having a delightful time comparing notes and talking about the research we have done.

One of the things she lead me to was this article. Now von Boecklin is not biologically related to either of us, but peripherally so.

What a fascinating and heartbreaking story.
I found the article in the New York Times archive, from 1978. Written by Robert D. McFadden.

A 74-year-old “gentleman farmer” and cat fancier apparently shot and killed his wife, a pet cat and himself in a murdersuicide Thursday morning at their home on a 150acre estate near Blairstewn. N. J.. the New Jersey state police reported yesterday. The victims were identified as Rupprecht von Boecklin, the son of the late Baron. Rupprecht von Boecklin of Rust. Baden, Germany, and his wife. Mary, 36. Mr. von Boecklin. who moved Ito this country about 30 years ago. was ‘ known to neighbors as an eccentric who kept cats, as well as statues and figurines of cats, and had cat figures carved on his ovra tombstone years ago. Mr. an Mrs. von Boecklin were found shot at their estate, Red Cat Farm, in Warren County. about 10 miles from 1.112 Pennsylvania border in northwestern New Jersey, about 7:30 A.M. Thursday. Suicide Note Found Shortly before that the state police received a telephone call, allegedly from Mr. von Boecklin. The caller was said to have told the police that he had shot and killed his wife and was about to take his own life. Arriving a short time later, the police found Mrs. von Boecklin dead on the floor of a den and Mr. von Boecklin fatally wounded and lying on a bathroom flocr. Both had been shot once in the head. Mr. von Boecklin was pronounced dead about two hours later at Newton Memorial Hospital.
Authorities found a revolver believed used in the shootings and a purported suicide note by Mr. von Boecklin, but they refused to divulge the contents of the new or to give any information about the weapon, saying the investigation of the deaths was continuing. The police said that the couple's pet. cat had been shot in the head and killed, and that their German shepherd dog also had been shot in the head, though not fatally. Neighbors said yesterday that the cou- ple had lived a reclusive life on their farm. Trespassers, they said, were occasionally greeted at gunpoint, even if they had intended only to ask for directions. Statues and figurines of cats adorned the grounds, and signs depicting cat figures proclaimed the farm's name. At Cedar Ridge Cemetery in Blairstown, Mr. von Boecklin installed a tombstone for himself and his wife more than a decade ago. The red granite stone had a crouching cat carved at the top and a mouse in bas relief below, and bore inscriptions for Mr. and Mrs. von Boecklin giving, only years of birth. Several cats were buried in the family plot, according to neighbors, who said some members of the community had objected.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The U.S. threatened Ecuador into dropping a U.N. resolution to promote breastfeeding.

It has been such a long time since I have written, but I couldn't sit idly by and not post this little tidbit. If this is true, Holy shit. In this climate with everything going on between Russia and the US/Trump, it's hard to put into place, unless, of course it was a power play.

With all we know about the benefits of breast milk, why would the US threaten Ecuador over a resolution? The story tells us why... But that makes me want to throw up.

photo by Mauro Pimentel/AFP/Getty Images (taken from The Week Magazine on July 19, 2018)

The delegates to this spring's World Health Assembly, the annual gathering of the United Nations' World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, expected that a resolution to promote breastfeeding would pass easily. Then the U.S. delegation tried to water down the resolution, siding with the $70 billion infant formula industry, and when that failed, the State Department threatened Ecuador, which had planned to introduce the resolution, The New York Times reports, citing interviews with more than a dozen participants from several countries.

"The Americans were blunt: If Ecuador refused to drop the resolution, Washington would unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid," the Times reports. "The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced." Other Latin American and African nations declined to step in, fearing reprisal from the U.S., and the U.S. also reportedly threatened to withdraw its funding for the WHO. "In the end, the Americans' efforts were mostly unsuccessful," the Times says. Why?

It was the Russians who ultimately stepped in to introduce the measure — and the Americans did not threaten them. ... A Russian delegate said the decision to introduce the breast-feeding resolution was a matter of principle. "We're not trying to be a hero here, but we feel that it is wrong when a big country tries to push around some very small countries, especially on an issue that is really important for the rest of the world." [The New York Times]

Decades of research shows that breast milk is the healthiest food for infants, providing nutrition as well as hormones and antibodies, and a 2016 study in the British medical journal The Lancet estimated that universal breastfeeding would prevent 800,000 child deaths a year and save $300 billion in global health-care costs. Infant formula sales have flatlined in wealthy nations but are still growing in the developing world.

Written by Peter Weber at the New York Times.

I found it in the Week, in the July 20th edition.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Monday, January 8, 2018

Gene editing: A path to "designer babies"?

So, whose DNA do they stick back in the area they cut out? And how did they figure this out? What might this mean for DNA for family research? Would there be another set of DNA in there from another person who was not in the room when the egg was fertilized?

“The era of human gene editing has begun,” said Vivek Wadhwa in Washington​ In a major biological breakthrough, a team led by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University have successfully modified the DNA of human embryos to replace defective genes that cause a hereditary heart condition. The scientists used CRISPR, a “gene-editing system” that essentially cuts the faulty DNA portion out and replaces it with a healthy version of the gene. This is a monumental breakthrough—one that could eventually lead to the eradication of “all hereditary diseases,” including cystic fibrosis, early-onset Alzheimer’s, and some cancers. But it has sparked an ethics firestorm. Will gene editing also be used to make people taller, stronger, smarter? Where will we “draw the line”? There are already “plenty of people who wouldn’t think twice about dictating their embryo’s IQ,” said Nicole Russell in the Washington Examiner. The CRISPR research moves us a step closer to “designer babies.”

Sorry, but “these fears are closer to science fiction than they are to science,” said Pam Belluck in The New York Times. CRISPR alters just one gene with a harmful mutation; characteristics like intelligence and height are shaped by thousands of genetic variations. To prevent scientists from going too far with genetic modification, society simply needs strict laws, regulation, and oversight. Every advance of this type has produced “hysterical” predictions of engineered superbabies and mutants, said André Picard in The Globe and Mail (Canada). “We saw it when in vitro fertilization was pioneered” and “when Dolly the sheep was cloned.” Yes, there are potential perils, but with 10,000 single-gene disorders plaguing mankind, think of the “hurt, heartache, and premature death” we can prevent.

Be that as it may, there is still “a great deal we don’t know” about gene editing, said the Los Angeles Times in an editorial. Once people start passing edited DNA to their offspring, “minor issues might become major ones.” When scientists first used genetic modification to create “more uniformly red” tomatoes, for example, they inadvertently “turned off the gene that gave tomatoes flavor.” Who knows what might happen when edited embryos grow and develop? Clearly, preventing disease and suffering is a worthwhile aim. But let’s “get human gene editing right rather than just getting it soon.”

Taken from the August 18, 2017 edition of The Week magazine.

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