~:: Things Made ::~

Finding gifts for grownups.  Tough.  While you may still be able to slip in a Matchbook car, trying to figure out which video camera accessory or computer component or even sweater or  Sephora product is going to do the job is – well, pretty near impossible.  And expensive.  It’s not like the old days when a couple of Nancy Drew books and a bike were the things of wonder and astonishment.

So I’ve been trying to come up with magic made by hand.  Unexpected treasures.

Ambitious, I know, but it’s kinda fun to try.

Treasure chests:

I found these cool little unfinished wooden chests in three sizes at Joanne’s.  I got one for myself, to hold treasure for grandkids.  The more I looked at its blond wood self, the more I thought it cried out for some visual fun.






The fun was thinking about icons of old lives and new –






And a wee one for Chaz –






One of my favorite artist/craftswomen is The Goode Wife on Etsy.  I bought a few patterns from her – the Ghost and Black cat I put up here in October of 2013.  She taught me how to start with muslin and a character.  She really kinda set me free.  So I decided to make some deer.  It took some messing around with shapes, and I finally came up with this little girl:


I wanted to use sticks from our trees for the legs, which mean trying to figure out a way of transitioning from stick to fabric.  G and I experimented with some fly tying stuff, but finally settled on some silky cord to make the joint.  Then, it was amazingly fun to study up on deer coloration, and then to wrangle the paint for hue and texture.


Choosing the sticks was fun, too – looking for the right shape, using the native characteristics of the twig itself to help add to the character.


Then the finishing, festive details –


Every one of them had a character of its own.



They were kinda too big to hang easily from the branches of the tree, so they became branch grazers.  And they hung around on the top of the book cases and hutch.


 Lately, I found a pattern offered free by a woman who had made a Tilda-like sheep.  Her design didn’t say sheep to me, so I took what I learned from her construction and made myself a little suffolk guy.  I’m liking this concept.  Gonna have a lot of fun playing with this one.


Is it silly to get so excited over something that won’t change the world?



Posted in Family, Making Things | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

~:: On Making Things ::~

I wonder, sometimes, how many stupid things I say in a day. How many things that make total sense to me, but that can be, and will probably be, construed differently by the people I say them to? Considering the amount of words I can burn through in twelve hours, the chances are high that the number of gaffs is just as high.

After the Great Ornament Bash of 2015, as I was sending people back out into the wintry world (not my favorite part of the night), somebody – I don’t remember who – was kind of apologizing for the ornament she had made (which I recall thinking was silly, since it had been a totally great little piece of work). And I said this thing to her that has been haunting me since.

I said something like, “Pfff. Look at you. You’re not a maker. But you DO it anyway.” I saw her wince at the not-a-maker thing.  As though I’d said, “Look at your handicap, you poor thing,” which is not at all what I had meant. Far from it.

First of all, I’d said it because she is obviously something else – a singer, or a writer or mother, or teacher or genealogist or chef or seamstress or theologian – some other –er. I could tell you what, exactly, if I could remember who it was.

What I had meant was along the lines of: “You’re not fanatic about turning raw materials into ornaments. You’re not obsessed with bits of fabric and felt and glass and wood. You’re not haunted and driven to make silly little not-useful things. And yet you are willing to put your mind to this.”


This is what I mean when I say someone is a Maker:  most people I know have some kind of inner imperative. The thing that makes a person an “–er” is not just a discipline or a course of study or a job. Some sing because they can’t stay silent. Others play with strange, convoluted strings of equations because they can’t get any rest until they – solve them. Some choose to be with small children because they’re fascinated with human beings and the way they grow. Or they cook because the knife fits their hand and the flavors cry out for combination. They teach because they can’t help themselves. Or take pictures because they have to capture light and life.

I’m talking about something a little like being an addict, except a bit more productive.

I make things because I can’t stop making things. I’m not an artist. In the “arts and crafts” balance of the universe, I’m in the craft camp. Not that I’m a craftswoman – because I only make by the seat of my pants. Can’t even claim to be a designer. Because I’m not that, either. I’m a – is there a word for this? I run with a concept. Ideas send me off in directions, but they are rarely born in my own little head. But when I see something that – see, words? – Click. Grab me. Engage me. Make me hungry. Charm me. Challenge me. When that happens my hands feel hollow until a thing is formed against my palms. Little things. Mostly useless. Out of all kinds of media – wood, glass, wire, stone, bead, fabric, flame, paper, clay. Little things, mostly that have eyes. Or movement. Or character.

I have written characters. I live with characters. I love characters. And sometimes, I make them in three dimensions.

The point is, when I said, “You’re not a maker,” I meant – lucky you – you aren’t tormented until you make. And yet – she had made such a charming thing.  Probably because a Maker made her do it. I smile. By that sentence, I mean I made her do it for the party. But it also means that being a child of a creator allows us a certain ability to create out of ourselves – out of the materials I listed above, or out of brain chemistry, or out of the emotion in a room, or sound, movement, food, groups of people, growing things, information, time or spirit. So many media. So little time.

So the Makers – whose hands carve, bend, knit, fire, stitch, form – and make Christmas ornaments – are blessed by the Shapers of love, accord, joy, peace, community, food, future, sense, kingdoms. And sometimes one person can be all these things. And really, all of us are several –ers at one time.

The reason why I love making ornaments is that they are both little and big. They don’t function, but they carry with them, when they are real, great meaning. They tell something about what they commemorate – the birth of life, joy, salvation and exaltation. And they tell something about the heart and life of the maker. The best ones carry the maker inside of them – so that when an ornament goes home from the bash, the household that receives it also receives a token of the personality of the maker. A thing can show humor and/or great love for live things, for concepts, for detail, for the work the maker does, his patience, her wildness or strict attention to every line, the people and things and times beloved – even the colors and the concept are a little piece of the person who put them together.


My tree is hung with love. Love and humor and wonder – and hints about so many people I love.

In the end, there wasn’t enough room in the house for the quilts I made in my quilt period. I suppose there’s still room for a few more painted stools. I’m going to have to buy another Christmas tree – because the ornaments are like geology now – I can excavate our family’s history as I go through the boxes.

And I could never sell any of it. Not because I’m not totally satisfied with the quality I turn out – which I never am. But because each thing is too real to me to sell it. I grow too fond. I can’t even sell a real horse when I probably should. It’s why I should never breed puppies. I can only give loved things away. And that’s hard enough. (Not the YELLOW one – or that red one. I need to keep that one. Yeah, I know there are two, I mean both of them . . .)

I think I might be a little crazy, actually.

I’m going to post some of the projects I did last year in the next post. It’s more fun to post them when you make them, but they were secrets and could not be shared before the curtain went up.

Posted in Christmas, friends, Fun Stuff, HappyHappyHappy, holidays, Making Things, Memories and Ruminations, Seasons | 3 Comments

~:: 2014 Ornament Bash ::~


I can’t remember when we started this party.  I think it was probably 1979. I may have explained explained the origins of this crazy n0w-tradition in other posts; my father and mother (I really I have to say this surprises me; my folks didn’t do these things when I was growing up) – started having this party when he was an LDS bishop, for the friends my parents worked with at church all the time. Just a silly kind of an ornament white-elephant party. People brought all kinds of funny stuff.  Like a Popsicle snowflake with the words, “wrong side – turn this side towards tree” painted on the back.  I loved that thing.  It was the seed of my own party.  And I own it now myself and cherish it mightily.

So the first real year we were in the house, we invited our dear kindred-spirit crazy friends – gathered from all our various walks of life (studio, university, missions, church – ) and had this party, which we have had ever since – with basically the same kindred spirits.  Not all of them are crafts people. Some are artists.  Some hate making things. Some hate the party and find it a source of extreme anxiety every flipping Christmas season – and some are trixters who have to be held close in hand.

So here is this year’s bash.  I’m really amazed at how little I’ve written in this blog over the last two years – but the party cannot go unposted, come high water or heck – so here we go.


 These are just tiny little peppermint wrens.  The idea of using red ticking for birds was triggered by a cover of Molly Makes, a magazine I cannot afford and that has about three brilliant ideas for every thirty pages of ads.  My birds are not like the one on the cover.  The birds in my head were just something I had to try.  And, of course, you can’t make just one.  The first one tells you if this is something that grows in your hand or not.  And the second one begins the experimentation – what if you use this?  What if you shape this part that way?


 I am not a careful craftswoman.  For me, neat and elegant  finishing is totally trumped by the achievement of character.  As I write this, I realize that character is the most important thing for me.  Also, now I think of it, I wish I were a lot free-er and more slapdash in the shapes and construction.

 Anyway, if you go to the trouble of working out a pattern for yourself and finding a process – how can you walk away making just one?  Or five?  Or twelve?  And the truth is, I’d want to make as many of something as it would take to give each of the people I love. Which I can’t.  So I make at least several.  Mostly all different.  At least, sometimes.  And because they are different, I always want to keep them all.  Which I don’t actually do.  Mostly.


This is the guy I made for the party.  He’s (she’s?) a couple of times bigger than those little guys above.  And now the actual party stuff starts:


Jeff’s button snowman.

 Now, I don’t know if this was actually Jeff’s, or if he cheated.  Many people cheat, causing their partner or child to make the party offering.  Or even buying things off kids in their classes, or finding things on the library floor.  Mostly, it’s male persons who do this.  But not always.  So. Jeff’s.  Or maybe Peg’s.  Please be advised that leaving comments after this blog can be useful in making a case of self-defense.

Many thanks to Chelsea.  I was pretty sick the day of the party – but prepared.  Probably the most prepared for the thing I’d ever been.  Luckily.  Because Gin and the kids showed up like magic on my doorstep in the morning, for one thing – and stupidly upper-resp sick for the other.  So I wan’t my usual obnoxiously dynamic self.  I was going to be lucky to remain relatively upright through the evening.  And Cam’s kids had gotten sick, to, so he wasn’t going to be there, either. Luckily Chelsea was there, and she stepped in to do the camera work.  Then the camera got sick. I still don’t know what was wrong with it.  So Steve Perry saved the day with his phone, shooting things as they went by with Johanne’s back as a back drop.  Otherwise, there’d be no images, and I’d be doing something else right now.

I don’t do a lot of commenting on the captions.  So here is a general statement: I LOVE all these things.


 Lynn cunning little bird.  This sweet little guy was a much better blue than the lighting allowed.  The feet: I wish you could see them better. Love the feet.


Bob’s woodcarved two turtle doves – above with recalcitrant camera, below with Steve’s phone:



Chelsea’s tiny stocking. We love charm and detail.


One of the things we love is when the ornament that comes with a person kind of embodies that person’s passions and life.  This miniature gingerbread house is exactly that kind of work: Kathy’s.


(This is Steve’s phone cam detail.On this page you can always tell Steve’s shots by the sweater.  I love that sweater.)


Char wasn’t doing that hot that evening either.  So we got to open this tree of hers and then she absconded, heading for home and bed.


Laura Hickman. All crochet.  Well, not the bead parts.  I don’t know how you do this.


Lynn – paint on glass ball.  Jerusalem.  Steve caught the detail:



Terry always does this minuscule petite point.  Is that redundant? Yes. Here we have front and back.  Steve got a little closer, so his front follows:




See?  This is just an example of male-cop-out.  Yes, I know that we have these little problems we’ve got to deal with in our hum-drum lives.  But really, couldn’t Tracy have just gotten Laura to teach him how to crochet instead of covering him with her brilliant self?


Johanne’s driftwood Santa.  Wait.  Johanne – did you do two ornaments?  Steve, is this yours?  Not confused at all here.


Meridee’s  quilted, paper-pieced tree.  teeny-weeny paper piecing.  Tassel.  We LOVE tassels. And trees.  And paper piecing.


Above and below: Brian’s hand made sled. I fought for this.  I lost.  He has not made me one since.  Just sayin’.  He better have made Rachel one.



Debbie always does whimsical mobiles. This one – well there’s a story.  Bob came in through the front door, laden with food and packages and handed the packages to me.  But he let go before I got gripped, and one of the pages fell straight down to the entry floor. Just went down like an elevator.  And hit the floor with a pretty solid thunk.  He looked at me and said, “This is not good.  It’s Debbie’s.”  And sure enough, when we opened it, there were a lot of disembodied ears in there.  So what you are seeing here is a composite.  It’s easier to stick ears back on in PhotoShop than it is in real life.  Debbie – I am SOOOOO sorry.


Dick always cheats.  Always. It’s an actual thing. Meaning: he did not make this.  I just hope he actually paid for it.   Johanne took it home and hung it in her living room.


Ginger, who travels the world in ways only National Geographic knows, brought back these beetle wings.  I don’t know where they came from, but they are not home-grown.  Comments at the end of this blog can also count as footnotes.  As well as reviews,  kibitzing, commentary, explanation. If you bother to make them.  Which, you know – would be good.   The beaded part was not part of the original animal.  Can you believe the sheen?


Gaye’s baby Jesus.  May I point out, Gaye, that this is not a quilt?  And I was going to give you back the tree with your grandmother’s buttons on it.  You should have that.


Jeannie came without David.  Surely he was ill, for nothing else would have kept him from us.  She brought two fused glass trees. This is only one of them.  I need to fuse some more. I never made anything as lovely as this.


We have a couple of actual working visual artists among us.  They make it look so easy. This is Sam’s woodburned ball.  I fought for this, too.  Nobody gives me any respect.   Sam promised to make me one, but I am third in line after Marilyn and Ginna and don’t really have a prayer.  In the last round of the wild card, there was nearly a brawl.  I felt better when Ginna ended up with it. BUT —



Ginna didn’t keep it for long.  After she had taken possession, Lucy took it into her own hands and loved it and was very happy with it.  It became completely and wholly Lucy’s.


Can you see it in Lucy’s widdo hands???  She was laughing and cooing and loving it and then the EVIL GAYE got the wild card and DEMANDED THE BABY’S LITTLE TOY.  Do you see this child’s face?  I wish I’d been on top of this – Chelsea caught this face, but you should have seen the way Lucy subsequently glared RIGHT AT GAYE.  And GAYE, having 4000 grandkids, didn’t bat a flipping eyelash.


Heartless woman.


Ginna’s joyful origami star.


Okay. Pretty sure some cheating went on here.  Cause Rebecca and Danny both showed up with these cheerful “He’s the Gift” trees.  Plaster and paint.


Mark and Tricia also teamed up.  There were two of these cool shell guys.


Melissa, elegant and a bit steampunk as always.

2014-12-19-PartyOrnaments-66 copy

Laura’s whimsical penguins.  So yeah, my SON cheats, too.  This guy holds a snowball.


This guy is having a long winter’s nap.  Felt with embroidery.


Peg’s button Christmas tree.  What a swell little guy.

2014-12-19-PartyOrnaments-96 Rachel was laughing even before she showed me this dude – long before the party.  She says, “Everybody needs a Christmas wooly mastodon. ”


Marilyn always does a set of guys.  Star Wars once.  These are the Wizard of Oz.  Blood was lost over these.


Melanie made this tiny book.  And here’s the deal.  Char, who left because she was ill, had been #1 in the game, which also meant that she should have had the choice to chose very last of all.  That’s one part of the story.  In my own family – starting long ago when I was very, very young – my father, with his wonderful voice and style, used to read this book to us every single year at Christmas.  It would take nights and nights, and he’d always end up mad because we kids fidgeted and messed around while he was reading; he had no idea that not only did we hear and love every word, we were practically memorizing the work word for word, and would grow up to be able to read it in just exactly the way he had read it to us.  Which I did with my family until they were all too old and didn’t live here anymore.

So the game wore on –  long because there were some pretty significant battles waged – and we got down to the very last present.  Johanne had won this little book earlier and was pretty confident that she’d be taking it home, but Chelsea, still slaving away over the camera, leaned over and whispered to me – a Great Plan.  Since Chaz should have chosen very last, Chelsea was going to choose for her – and she did, and stole the little book for Charlotte – with no one after her to take it away again. I am fairly certain that Chaz got choked up when Chelsea later put it into her hand.


Johanne’s Santa.  A revisiting of a guy she’d made – really – like almost thirty years ago.  I have the original. Can we really have been on the planet for so long?  Were we really ever that young?  As long as there are no mirrors, though – and our joints don’t ache, we still think we’re that young.


Kara’s gnome.

Enough to start several wars.


Did I mention character and detail?


Guy has decided that he’s in the middle of a series.  He gets no end of fun out of fussing over the beads and trying to fit them on this fat wire.  Cedar.


Lind may hate the party and hate having to make things, but he always does incredible things.  If I’d won this, I’d have given it to Meridee.


Mark’s Snowman at Night – from Mark and Kara’s beautiful book.  I do not know what this is made of or how it was done.  Don’t you love a good mystery?



And there we are.  The mess of us.  So many jolly friends crowded into our house – growing old together (HA).  It makes the season for us, filling the place with human Christmas cards.  Love and joy and uproariousness.  If the house were bigger, there would be more folks in the picture.  Then again, not everybody can stand this kind of pressure in the middle of the holidays, and far be it from me to cultivate apoplexy in a dear friend.  At least,  no more often than necessary.


Bonus cuts:  Me in my natural habitat




And  shooting.

Wearing Char’s gift-to-me shirt and  Rachel’s hand knit socks with red and white toes. And a fitbit.


Posted in A little history, Christmas, Events, Felt stuff, friends, Fun Stuff, holidays, Knit Stuff, Making Things, Pics of Made Things, Stuffed things, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

~:: What is the Grandmother Doing? ::~

Yeah – it’s been an age since I entered anything here.  But then, it’s been an age since I started doing genealogy again. I finished a long-time dream: the book of my darling mother’s life. Turned out to be some 420 or 30 pages long – a challenging story to reconstruct.  An amazingly satisfying piece of work, but not something many other people are going to care about.

I think I have become a “Pinterest mom.” Not sure I want to admit it, but  – Gin made me start using the thing, and I’ve stored a lot of life “clip art” there.  I’m not much of an idea generator, but I can run with ideas – in fact, the second I see something that speaks to my creative engine, the thing kicks in and I start gathering the raw materials that just might satisfy the vision.

I think I have always wanted to sew for grandkids.  Not on a large scale; more like satisfying the cuteness quotient of my creative imperative.   So when I saw this little Halloween dress someone had made, and pinned it so I’d remember, I determined to make something out of the idea – make it for Andy. Months later, after I’d bought fabric and ruminated on the concept for a while, I went back to the original picture and found that my own version was WAY different.  Surprised me.  So – I made it.  And then I made one for the baby.  And knowing that Scoots would not take being left out gracefully, figured out something for him, too.

And here are the pictures.  I took a lot of them.  Big surprise.


Somewhere, someone taught Andy to pose with a hand on her hip, weight thrown to the side. We cannot figure out where this came from.  Gigi is under no such constraint. Scooter’s shirt sports the same pumpkin face but with added spider and bat on the shoulders.


I love this one.



I wanted some camera-verite, so I added another shot to my collection of  “Portraits of Cam in motion.”




This whole black and orange thing was a happy coincidence.  I just showed up with the clothes and announced that we were now going to take PICTURES.



These two people seem to go together pretty well, non?


Such a simple little dress, but what a great little girl.


We end with the pint-sized version.  So feel free to tell me I done good.  Cause I did, didn’t I?  Yes?  I thought so.

Posted in A little history, Doing Things, Family, Fun Stuff, Making Things, Memories and Ruminations, Pics of Made Things, Seasons, The g-kids | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Arringtons: John D and Nicholas – Greene, Al and Warren, NC

Arrington: The saga of Greene County, Alabama’s John D and Nicholas Arrington

For Arrington Wills and Probates, including William and two Arthurs of Isle of Wight and Nash Counties, North Carolina, Two James of Warren and many docs from Green County, Alabama.

For More on Arthur and Anthony (cousins from Nash and Halifx)

Intro (docs and dates below this section):

It was Maurice Hensen who asked me to help her with her ggrandfather’s family.  We were cousin/co-researchers who had connected through my dad, long ago. The Arringtons were not my blood line; John D Arrington had married my ggg grandmother, Elizabeth Jane Cherry Arrington Davis Travis in Greene County, Alabama (one of my Nexus counties) in 1829. But they were family by association, and John D’s children were my half ggg aunts and uncles.  So I guess they were blood-relatives, at least, that far down the line.

She sent me everything she had on the family, including a copy of several pages of John Bennett Boddie’s Southside Virginia Families that had a whole section on the Arringtons of Nash County, North Carolina.

All we had on our end was John D. Arrington – and Nicholas Arrington, who became the exec of John’s estate when he died so young.  And there was an Anthony Arrington in Greene also, whose name was prominent in the Greene estate papers of Arthur Arrington.  I gave it my best, combing through the Boddie information, squeezing the census for everything I could get. But we didn’t get anywhere.  And she died without finding out who her family had been.

I had a little bit.  Her gg granfather was Thomas Henry Arrington, the son of Nicholas.  And Nicholas had married the daughter, Eliza J Davis, of Samuel Davis, said to be the son of Chesley Davis – and that seemed to cross my own Turner A Davis line (he married Elizabeth Jane Cherry Arrington after John D. died).  And I had a few documents. But I really couldn’t get anywhere.

Years went by, and every so often I’d shake that tree again.  Last year I did it, studying the Nash Arringtons again. There is a strong name pattern that runs through that family, and probably the most used name is Arthur, which is odd enough a name, it sticks out.  Basically, the family line I was looking at was William Arrington – Arthur Arrington(1) – Arthur Arrington (2) – And this last Arthur had a mess of kids, among them Joseph, whose son Anthony was about the only person in the US with that name, and Arthur (3), whose children and wife all ended up in Greene County, Alabama after he had died.

Oh, and William, who had sons named John D. and Nicholas. His John D married Joanna Drake and lived his life in Nash County, NC, and his son Nicholas, son of William’s second wife, married Temperance Arrington Drake (according to the Boddie book) and did the same.

I was sure in my heart that my Greene County Alabama Nicholas and John D. had to be related to each other; why else would Nicholas have been chosen by John D’s wife to be the administrator of his estate?  And Anthony was all over the Arthur Arrington documents – the guardianships and probate papers that were registered in Greene as well as in Nash, North Carolina where he actually died; those two had to be related.

It was easy enough, after reading all the material available from researchers I had reason to respect (document hunters) and looking at the other evidence, doing exhaustive searches, to ascertain that Anthony was, in fact, Arthur Arrington’s cousin.

But those same exhaustive searches – doing the math with the dates and the ages of children – proved that the John D. and Nicholas who were William’s sons – and who were Anthony and Arthur’s cousins, were NOT the same John D and Nicholas I was seeing in Greene County. There were census entries for all these names in both states, and they were close to the same age.  But NOT the same age. In the Nash, NC family, John D was older by about 18 years than my John, but Nicholas in Nash was a younger half brother to his John, while MY Nicholas was the older full brother. But how could you possible end up with pairs of brothers with exactly the same names in the same family? It was really frustrating.

It has taken me a month of narrow-eyed, relentless digging and a lot of prayer – I read every Arrington probate I could find in Greene, followed up even the craziest leads I found in Google or ancestry.  I made charts of census records.

Finally, I stopped and looked at a detail that had, for some odd reason, stuck in my head: John D and Elizabeth had a son whose middle name – recorded in maybe two places through all those records – was Portis. James Portis Arrington.

I remember having seen that name in the Boddie book, and I went back to that. But there was only one use of it in the whole volume: William of Isle of Wight (meaning isle of man) – his son Arthur had seven kids (this is all first half of the 1700s). Of those seven, one was Arthur and one was James. There was information after Arthur’s name in the book.  After James, there was only this: md. Miss Portis.

That was it. The only place I’d seen that Portis name before.

But people put surnames into their childrens’ names for a reason.  And now I had a new angle.

The discovery was this: William’s son Arthur had a son James Thomas. And there were wills of neighbors who became fathers-in-law who identified both him and his son. And I found several people on line who had tiny pieces of this puzzle – each different pieces.  Some were contradictory. Some were flat out wrong. Boddie, for instance, was wrong about this, not having given this particular name much focus.

But I went to the documents in Nash and in Halfax county North Carolina. I read the Arthur Arrington Wills for two generations, and then the James Arrington wills for two generations.  And I found that James Jr., was cousin to both Anthony and Arthur.  So his sons, John D and Nicholas, were second cousins to Anthony and the Arthur whose children lived in Greene County.

I also found out that everybody had their own spin on these families. Boddie and conflated the two James. Other people had chosen a James Arrington who had migrated to Georgia as the son of Arthur, rather than looking at Warren, which is right next door to Nash and Halifax.

But when I looked tonight at the names of the huge Arrington group who’d gone to Georgia, the name patterns just weren’t there.

I don’t have a smoking gun. I thought I did.  James Jr., John and Nicholas’ father left John’s kids a legacy of $400 in 1851 (that’s about fifteen years after John died, actually).  There should be paperwork on that legacy – a probate, a gdnship, communication between the states – on that legacy.  But I haven’t found it yet.

But what I did find tonight, as I did a census survey search – just looking for every Arrington in the United States from 1780 through 1840 gave me wonderful perspective. “James Arrington” wasn’t as common a name as you might think. Pretty much limited to North Carolina in those first decades.  I could watch it disseminate, and I find myself very comfortable with the conclusions I’ve come to. There were really only two choices in James – the Georgia group with names that didn’t dovetail with the Nash family – and the James that lived right up there in the family stomping grounds. It was kind of no contest when you looked at the name patterns.

My John D used James Portis, Thomas Henry, his wife’s father’s name and Robert Willis.  Nicholas used Henry Thomas (or Thomas Henry) and his wife’s father’s name for his sons.

I can hear the family in those names like a song I’ve known for years.

It really didn’t take very long to write down the story of this journey. But it was a fierce struggle getting here.  Now I know Maurice’s ggg grandfather and her 4xg and 5xg and 6 and 7x great. I’m sorry she’s gone.  But then, she probably already knows all this, huh?

June 25: I have finally found the smoking gun that connects the Warren County, NC Arringtons with the Greene County, Al ones.  When James Arrington Jr. leaves his son, John’s heirs $400, it is paid to an agent of John’s: F.Y. Townsend. The only F.Y. Townsend who comes up on an unfiltered Ancestry search lives in Greene County.  I don’t find paperwork on this legacy in Greene – but the children are mostly grown and wouldn’t need gdns to guarantee that the money was put aside for them.  That the agent lives on the same 1850 page as the Brassfields is sufficient.

The pieces all fit together.

What will follow here is a collection of census entries and documents that will prove the connections:

First of all, the centerpiece of the town of Arrington, I am told by Boddie, is the church of St. Nicholas. So I’m guessing that it might be the basis for this series of names. Or it might be the connection that John, son of Arthur(2) had with the Nicholson family through his wife. Several of his children bear her name as a middle. Samuel Lewis Arrington, John’s son, married his cousin Eliza Ann Nicholson and they had ten kids. Joseph Arrington, son of Arthur(2) Named one of his children Thomas Nicholson Arrington. So the phonemes run rich in the fam.


 A broad survey of all James Arringtons (and some other notable Arringtons) in an unfiltered Ancestry search, including both federal and state census:

1780 – North Carolina

  • Arthur jr and sr Nash
  • James Nash
  • Joseph Nash

1782   North Carolina

  • Arthur Jr and Sr Nash
  • James Nash
  • Joseph Nash

1784 NC

  • James Sampson NC
  • James Sampson nC

NC state census 1784

  • James: Warren Co.   number of Males  between 21-60 : 1     mls under 21 and  60+: 4  Fem: 4

1786  NC

  • James Warren Weather’s Dist 1786
  • James Warren Weather’s

1790: Federal

  • Arthur Nash
  • John Nash
  • Joseph (2) Nash
  • Peter (2) Nash
  • James in Burke and Richmond

1800 (43) in all  Federal with no filter but Arrington

  • James in Buncombe NC
  • James in Hallifax, Warren NC
  • James Jr. Hallifax Warren NC
  • Joseph (2) and John, Mary, Peter, William, Willis in Hallifax NC

1810 Fed census,  no filters (72) Arringtons (actually, this includes Herringtons)

  • Ann        Warren  County
  • Arthur   Halifax
  • James    Buncombe
  • James    Warren
  • John        Nash
  • 2 Joseph Nash
  • Peter        Nash
  • Richard    Nash
  • Welles (Willis?) Warren
  • William      Nash
  • Benjamin    Barnwell, SC

1820:  Fed (144)

  • Ann         Warren
  • Arthur     Nash
  • Arthur     Halifax
  • James      Warrenton, Warren NC
  • John jr.   Hash John S Nash
  • Joseph jr Nash (2)
  • Joseph     Halifax
  • Lewis        Edgecomb
  • Martha     Nash
  • Peter,        Richard, Nash
  • Thomas     Nash
  • William      Nash
  • James  Jefferson, GA (in that county Ezekiel, Henry, James, John(2), Rebecca, Silas William(2)

1830:  (248)

  • Arthur:   Nash
  • James Arrington    Fishing Creek, Warren, North Carolina (where Leah’s dad lived)
  • Jas      Buncombe
  • John S., Joseph (2)    Nash
  • Martha        Nash
  • Nancy           Halifax
  • Nicholas       Nash  (Richard, John Peter)
  • Robert         Halifax
  • Still a mess of them in Jefferson Ga.
  • Anthony      Greene, Alabama
  • James           Ohio and Kentucky
  • Arthur          Franklin,  VA

1840: Fed (299)

  • Archibald   Nash 
  • Barbary      Nash
  • Benj    Halifax,  also  Gideon, Henry
  • James    Washington NC, 
  • Yancy      NC
  • John, John D, John S     Nash
  • Joseph, Littleton, Samuel, William Halifax
  • Nicholas, Rebbeca, Sally, Temperance  Nash
  • Still a mess in Ga
  • James, Richmond Ga, Franklin Va, Humphreys Tenn, Talbot Ga, Upson GA
  • William D Sumter, Alabama
  • Anty, Perry Miss  (Anthony)
  • Elizabeth (John D’s wife) Greene, Alabama
  • H.T. in Sumter (Nicholas’ kid)
  • Jackson   Sumter  Al
  • Joseph     Sumter
  • Nancy       Sumter
  • Nicholas   Green Al
  • Robert       Sumter
  • William       clark Miss (where Anthony went)
  • William       Benton Al
  • William       Sumter AL
  • Arthur         Greene
  • West            Greene
  • James         Tenn (2)


  • Mary Arrington to Benjamin Whitehead 24 July 1764 edgemcomb
  • Mary Arrington to Henry Southall 28 July 1798 Warren
  • Ana to Erasmus Culpepper 15 Sept 1804 Warren
  • Elizabeth to Charles Marshall 21 Feb 1807 Warren
  • Richard to maria D Johnson 9 Feb 1810 Warren
  • Sally to Modicus Robertson 15 Dec 1813 Warren
  • Nancy Arrongton  to Clabour Aycock 9 March 1825 Warren
  • Rebecca to Francis Rice 30  Sep 1822 Warren
  • Anthony to Polly 22 Aug 1826 Halifax
  • Gideon to Rhody Carter 20 Dec 1826 Warren

1786: NC Compiled census and substitutes index: James Arrington NC Warren County, Weather’s district

1800: There are two James Arringtons.  (They are the only two Arringtons.)  Halifax, Warren County, NC.  The listings are alphabetical, which drives me nuts.

  • 1m 10-15  1m 45+  1f 10-15  2f 16-25 1f 45+  2 people under 16 2 over 25 8 slaves (b.1755 or before)
  • 1m-10  1m  16-25 1f –10 1f 16-25 2 under 16  (b.1775 – 1784)  he’s 20-24


The will of James Arrington of Warren County. NC.

In the name of God Amen. I, James Arrington of Warren County, and State of North Carolina being of sound and perfect mind (blessed be God) . . . As make and publish this my last will and testament in manner following, that is to say: First I give and bequeath unto each of my two Daughters Elizabeth Marshall and Martha Smith four hundred and twenty dollars to be raised of my Estate by Selling such of my property on a credit of six months as my wife shall choose to spare.

I lend all the rest of my Estate both real and persona after paying my just debts and the above mentioned legacy to my beloved wife, Ann Arrington for and during her life and at her death to be all sold on a credit of twelve months by my Execs and fir pay unto each of my four Daughters, Mary Southall, Elizabeth Marshall, Nancy Culpepper, and Martha Smith one hundred and eighty dollars and to my son Willis Arrington one hundred dollars and the remainder of my Estate to be equally divided between all my seven children namely Willis, James and Henry Arrington, Nancy Southall, Elizabeth Marshall Nancy Culpepper and Martha Smith, Except the on third part coming by the last mentioned clause to my daughter Martha Smith I give and bequeath to Mary Ann J Blount, daughter of Joseph Blount dec if she live to the age of twenty one years or Mary, if not to her Mother Martha Smith and I hereby make and  — my three sons, Willis, James and Henry Arrington my execs of this my last Will and Testament – 21 December 1807

(List of heirs:

  • Ann Arrington, wife
  • Elizabeth Marshall
  • Martha Smith
  • Mary Southall
  • Nancy Culpepper
  • Willis
  • James
  • Henry)

Warren County Estate Papers

James Arrington 1810:  Warren County 4 images:

  •  1. Acct sale of estate. 1812 March 28 Buyers: Erasmus Culpepper, Nichols F Alston, Charles Marshall, Edward Smith – signed Willis Arrington.
  • 2. Spine
  • 3. Inventory of estate of James Arrington taken 22 Aug 1810:  Cash in hand: $123.25. Bonds and accounts: 193.18
  • 7 people of color: Isaac, Harry, Orah? Cate, Sam, Peter, Fed.  4 head horses. 34 cattle. 25 sheep. 118 hogs. 40 geese. Six feather beds and furniture two walnut tables, four pine ditto, one desk, 4 chests one Busfat? 12 Chairs one gun, etc. 4. Signed Willis Arrington, exec

https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/DGS-004763705_00625?cc=1911121&wc=93L6-92X:185353701,183204102,186103401  Warren County, NC Estate papers

James Arrington 1825  10 images

2.. Accounts of exec. Have been examined and found supported. Left with $4,889.56


  • Willis $689.36 It’s actually a W with a small raised s. Was there a William/
  • James $581.36
  • Henry Southall in right of Mary $761.36
  • Erasmus Culpepper in right of Nancy: $761.36
  • Charles Marshall in right of Elizabeth: $761.36
  • Edward Smith I right of Martha $567.58
  • William Harvey in right of wife Mary Ann? $193.78
  • In settlement of the ? amt are here given to Willis Arrington 127.72

3. account of sales:

  • Henry Southall bought a load of domestic stuff.
  • Francis True (Harrow, plow)
  • 4. John Pearson
  • John Portis
  • Gardener Holeman
  • 5. James Arington 2nd? 1 walnut table.  Negro man Harry, Peter 297 acres of land
  • Wood Tucker
  • Boykin Bass
  •  6. Joseph Arrington Shrrff
  • Henry Bains, John Shouthall, Wm Williams, Wm. Alston, Willis Arrington.  All bought Sorrel horses

7. Gid Richardson, Leven Evins, Lewis Arrington, Isham Bennett, Claiborn Aycock, Holady Hedgpath, Martin Garrett, Mason Ash, George Harper, Gid Arrington, Arch Wright, Hardy Richartdson, John Davis

8. Shugan Davis, William Erby, Frances Inge [There is a Francis Inge who is guardian of the children in Greene, so this is either a connection or a wild coincidence], Cooper Decon, Edwd Alsston, Plummer Samkin, David Marshall, John Scott, Abner Aycock, Cyrus Rosser, James Evins/ John A Williams.

9. John Pearce, Wm Marshall, Jesse Richardson, Charles Marshall William King, James Arrington JR.

10. Willis Person, Henry Sims, Philip Alston, John Roan, Jesse Marshall, Absolom Richardson, Allen Jones James Arrington Jr. again.

1810: James Arrington Warren, NC i12/33

7 males –10  1m 10-15 1m 26-44  1f –10  1f 10-15  1f 26-44 10 under 16 2 over 25 (b. 1766 – 1784) he’s 30-34

1820: James Arrington, Warrenton, Warren, NC

4m 10-15  1m 16-18  3m 16-25 1m 26-44   2f 10-15  1f 26-44 6 people under 16 2 over 25  11 people (b. 1776 – 1794) He’s 40-44

On the same page with David Marshall, Ann Arrington (right next to James Arrington) is over 45

 1830: Fishing Creek Warren, NC

1 m 20-29  1m 50-59  1f 20-29 1f 50-59 (b.1771 – 1780)  (So far 1776 is the low, 1780 the high) he’s 50-54

on a page with abner Aycock, Dr. G Williams, George Alston James Arrington, John Williams William Stokes, Samuel T. Alston, John Southall, Edward Williams

Looking for the probate of John Portis. Stopped at I 49


John Portis:

3. JOHN FLOYD ABIAS3 PORTIS (GEORGE2, JOHN1) was born 1740, and died June 1794 in Nash Co., NC. He married SARAH JANE WILDER 1755 in Isle of Wight, VA.

Notes for JOHN FLOYD ABIAS PORTIS:  John Portis died at his residence on Fishing Creek near Ransom’s Bridge and near the intersection of Halifax, Franklin, Warren, and Nash Counties. The property was also known as the “Portis Gold Mines”. His antecedent ancestors in America reportedly originated in Isle of Wight and Surry Counties, VA (not yet confirmed). John Portis left a will which his widow Sarah, and a number of other legatees mutually agreed to suppress. However, his “minor” son, Ira Portis, “by his guardian” brought suit in the Halifax Superior Court to a) establish the will of his father, and b) recover the legacy left to him by his father. (Halifax Superior Court Docket. (“Suppressed Will of John Portis-1794-of Nash County, NC,” North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal, Vol. IV, No. 3, August 1978, pp. 169-170). The will identifies his children and some aspects of their status as of 5 May 1800.


John Portis listed in 1790 Census of Franklin Co., NC, Halifax District. 1 while male over 16 and heads of family, 4 free white males under age 16, 3 free white females and heads of family, and 1 slave.

Children of JOHN PORTIS and SARAH WILDER are:

  • 4.         i.                      IRA 4 PORTIS, b. November 17, 1777, Ransoms Bridge, Franklin, NC; d. September 08, 1825, Suggsville, Clarke Co., AL.
  • 5.         ii.                     JEREMIAH PORTIS.
  • 6.         iii.                    GEORGE WILLIAM PORTIS, d. 1795, North Carolina.
  • iv.                                  JOHN PORTIS.
  • Notes for JOHN PORTIS:  Received 110 acres of land from his father’s will.
  • v.                      MARY PORTIS, m. JAMES GOODWIN, Bef. June 1794.
  • Notes for JAMES GOODWIN:  James Goodwin is probably the brother of Mary Ann Goodwin, future wife of Ira Portis, Mary Portis’ brother.
  • vi.                     ELIZABETH PORTIS, m. JOHN COX, Bef. June 1794.
  • 7.         vii.                    KEZIAH PORTIS, b. 1763, Franklin Co., NC; d. October 10, 1841, Murphressboro, Rutherford Co., TN.

viii.                   LEAH PORTIS, m. JAMES ARRINGTON, Bef. May 05, 1800.

  • Notes for LEAH PORTIS:  Received two cows, calves, one sow, and pigs from her father’s will. She was possibly a minor in June 1794 and not yet married. However, in the suit it was revealed that by 5 May 1800 she had married James Arrington.

At this point, you should read the James and James jr. wills and estate papers fron 1810-1851.


Marriage record: the international one had his birth at 1805, I think. The Alabama one had no such info. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&db=fs1almarriages&rank=1&new=1&MSAV=1&msT=1&gss=angs-d&gsfn=Nicholas&gsfn_x=NP_NN_NIC&gsln=Arrington&msgdy=1825&cpxt=1&catBucket=rstp&uidh=f35&msgdp=10&cp=12&pcat=34&fh=4&h=153632&recoff=&ml_rpos=5

Nicholas Arrington b. 1805 md Elizabeth Davis 6 Oct 1829 – Greene, Alabama

1831 – Nicholas Arrington is granted a land patent in Greene. 

1832 – Nicholas Arrington takes over administration of John D. Cherry’s will.  Anthony and Arthur were signed to George Cherry’s will. I think Nicholas is on that estate until 1835. (this is wrong)

 1) Document:

Elizabeth J Arrington renouncing her administration in the estate of her husband.  Rec. Page 669 (or 4), N 304:

The Hon Wm. B. Strut?  Sir:  I have determined to withdraw the right of taking the administration of the Estate of my deceased husband John D. Arrington and wish that you may appoint as administrator my BROTHER IN LAW (my caps), Nicholas Arrington and the Brother of the Dec.  Respectfully yours Elizabeth J Arrington

Greene County Nov 11 1831.  So now we know that they were brothers.  The rest of these notes don’t know that yet.

1840 in Greene:

Nicholas Arrington: 2 males aged–5   1m 30-39 (he is born)  b. 1800-1810     1 fem 5-9  1f 20-29

1840: i45/93

Elizabeth Arrington 2m-5 2m –5-9  1f10-14, 1f 15-19, 1f20-30 on page with James A. Tallman, Edwin Roberson and Mary, James Dorroh, William Thetford, Hatch, Swinson, Jones Wallace, Lightfoot, YOUng Perrin, Kennin, McAlpin, others


Nicholas Arrington 2m –5  1m 30-39  1f5-9  1f 20-29  b. 1801-1810  with Bullock, Hunger William Glover, Charlton, Townsend, Thedford, Watlkins, David BRASSFIELD, Milton Brassfield (?) John Anderson, Daniel Ingram, DD. Briggs, W. Thomas, others

1842: Nicholas Arrington marries Charity Johnson Oct 8, 1842.  Eliza J Davis must have died by then.

1850: Greene County:

  • Nicholas Arrington 45 NC (b. 1805).
  • Charity 35 NC
  • Thomas 13 Al (This is H.T. who is Mauriece’s gg grandfather. He is Henry Thomas who is the admin for his father’s estate and also his mother’s until he died, in – I think 1871)
  • James V Arrington 5

1850: Warren County, North Carolina i41/65 fam 733

  • James Arrington 75 NC (b. 1775)
  • Leah 75  NC



  • Nicholas Arrington 45 NC (b. 1805)
  • Charity 35  (b. 1815)
  • Thomas (Henry Thomas) 13 (b. 1837)
  • James V 13


  • Elizabeth J. Davis 57    7000    NC
  • Martha Arrington   20    AL
  • James 18
  • John 16
  • George 14
  • Robert 12
  • Elizabeth T Davis


  • Patsy LR Briggs 53 NC
  • Victoria Arrington 13
  • Lucy A Arrington 8
  • James Y Arrington 5 (these might be the children of Arthur Briggs and Eliza and probably are.  Check the Arthur in Sumter. Eliza was married in 1835 – 15 years.

On a page with Hewel L Kennon physcian and fam NC Two pages after i147 which has Lovet Hines and a bunc of Gullies, Raynes P Travis and some Thetfords, Jacob Holbrook, McKees and Alfred Brassfield and Tilman Brassfield.

1860: Greene

  • N. Arrington 54 NC (1806)
  • C. Arrington 45 NC –(How funny that the Nash Nicolas wife is Temperance, while the Green is Charity)
  • H.T.  23 minister AL Means that the family has been here at least since 1837. But we know it was earlier.
  • MEA 4 Al  (she inherits her mother’s money, including a fat insurance policy, and marries Charles Edgar Latimer)

1827 John D. Arrington and Penelope Cherry are security for administration of George Cherry’s estate.  With Samuel Davis. SO – John D. Arrington knew the family and was close enough to them to be admin of George’s estate (intestate)

->  John D. Arrington md Betsy Jane Cherry 19 Jan 1829 Greene County, Alabama.  He was said to be “over age.” If that is so, then is he over 21, or just plain “old?” What did it mean? Here is the answer to all these questions: if you look at the actual page in the marriage register,  every person who is 21+ is over age of consent. Every person under has to get consent of parents.  This is not a big mystery. He lived to beget 5 kids, the last of which was born in about 1838. She married Turner in 1842, and she signs many of the gdnshp papers with his surname. In one place, she is refered to as Elizabeth J Arrington, but that is struck out and replaced with Davis. So John had a daughter in about 1838 – married about nine years or so. Maybe ten.

1828 – Greene: Deed Book C p428: James Arrington sells to Francis Inge (who also lived in Warren) 5 Jul 1828.  I’ll try to locate the orignal note.  *******

 1831: Nicholas Arrington is granted a land patent. Now I’m going to have to go back and see these docs. I dug them up 20 years ago and didn’t bother to note where.


1834: Richard Inge gdn of children of A. Arrington John P, Arthur, James H, Mariah, Willis A (estate papers or probates)  The full abstract included in the Arthur/Anthony file.  (There are exchanges between Francis and Richard Inge. As I recall, Francis was a physician) ***********

Greene Probates Book C pg 29 around 1830

John D. Penelope, Samuel Davis James McDonald all bond for estate of George Cherry.

1836 – Penelope Cherry’s will.  John D. is security. Arthur Arrington is witness.

1840: GREENE, Alabama


  • Nicholas Arrington 2 male –5 1 30-39  1 f 5-9 1 20-29
  • D.D. Briggs (down a bit) 1 10-14  1 15-20  1f 15-20  Duncan married into the family (he’s a dentist). And Arthur (4?) married Eliz J Briggs. So here’s another instance of the interlacing of families.


Arthur Arrington 1m –5  1  20-30    2 –5  1 15-20 1 20-30  b. 1810-1820 Now, this is older than Arthur 4 should be, isn’t it?

Nicholas Arrington m Charity Johnson  Oct 8 1842 

Elizabeth Jane Cherry Arrington m. Turn A Davis Aug 27, 1842.  John D. Arrington is dead a few years.

1842: Turner A. Davis petitions Nicholas Arrington for dower.  Nicholas is admin estate of John D. Arrington, husband of Elizabeth Jane Cherry Arrington, widow – who subsequently marries Turner A. Davis

1850  Greene County, Alabama i142

  • Nicholas Arrington 45  NC 2500      I’m assuming this to be the Nicholas, once husband of Elizabeth J. Davis, daughter of Samuel Davis. (And I am right)
  • Charity 35 NC
  • Thomas 13 Al  This is Henry Thomas, who will be Lida’s father.
  • James V 13 NC

i109 fam 1110

  • Patsy R Briggs 52 NC  (the Briggs came from Fauquer County with the Cherrys, Gullys, Johnstons(?)
  • Victoria Arrington 13 AL
  • Lucy A Arrington 8 Al
  • James Y Arrington 5

I don’t know whose kids these are. I am wondering if they chose to stay behind with their – what was Patsy? Can’t remember my Briggs-lore. Grandmother? Instead of going on with Arthur and Arthur? Or did they belong to some other Arrington? They show up in MS later in Arthur’s family. Good guess, me.

i33  With Andrew Pickens, a John D Arrington, 45, from GA, an overseer. The entry is hard to read and may be something else.

Business in 1850   Greene

Samuel L Arrington m Margaret E Crowson Jan 28 1851  (in census, she is with John Crowson (her father) and family.  Next to Wilson Cherry.  Could this be John and Nicholas’ brother who hadn’t picked up his legacy by 1854?

1854: Will of Jesse P Davis, son of Samuel Davis of Sumter and his first wife (South Carolina). His sister, Eliza J., married Nicholas Davis, and their son, Thomas Arrington, nephew of Jesse P Davis, is an heir.

Estate of Jesse P Davis dec. in the new Probate Court of Sumter County:

The petition of James T. Davis respectfully showeth that his “intestate”. Jesse P Davis, dec, left the following heirs, to wit: John W. Davis, living in Choctaw County, a BROTHER, Thomas Arrington, a son of Elizabeth Arrington and a nephew of deceased living in Green County and who is a minor,  William R Davis, a brother living in Sumter COunty, Headly Davis, a brother living in Sumter, Ellen Davis a minor, a half sister living in Sumter, Amanda P Davis minor and half sister living Sumter, Rachel Walton and her husband, R T? Walton, a sister living in Sumter, Emily Davis, a minor and half sister and a minor , half sister, name unknown, livng in Suter and your peptitioner and further showeth that his intestate owned …  James T Davis, Dec 13 1854–

1860: Forkland, Greene, Alabama

fam 184

  • N. Arrington 54 Planter 2100 NC  (1806)
  • C. Arrington 45 NC  (1815)
  • H.T. Arrington 23 minister AL
  • M.E. Arrington 4 AL
  • Bobben – laborer NC 40

Greensburough i16 fam 119(?)

  • William Williams 60 dentist (I think we saw him in NC, too – check the sales in the probates.)
  • Maria Williams 33 NC
  • John C Orrick 18 AL

Children of John D Arrington and Elizabeth Jane Cherry

Martha A.

1850: Greene i149 fam 1431

  • Elizabeth J Davis 37  NC
  • Martha Arrington 20  AL down
  • James 18  Student
  • John 16
  • George 14
  • Robert 12
  • Elizabeth T Dvis 7

1860  Forkland, Greene Al i1  Fam 151

  • EJ Travis 47 Hotel Keeper NC
  • JP Arrington 28 Merchant AL all down.
  • GC Arrington 24 merchant
  • M.A. Arrington 30 F
  • S.M. Arrington 20 F (in law?)
  • M.E. Davis 5/12 (grandchild?)
  • E.J Davis 16
  • J.B. Fuller, 18 clerk

John and Robert are the only children missing here. Their marriges would have been before 1860.

Martha A  Arrington md. 9 Mar 1864   Philip May

1870: Ala, Sumter, Livingston i19 fam 585

  • Phil May  59 Farmer NC
  • Martha A 40 AL –all the way down
  • Mary 18  Teacher
  • George 14
  • Anna 12
  • Elizabeth 11 or 17? Or maybe 7?
  • Martha 5
  • Kate 4/12

Okay – so wait – they’ve only been married six years, which pretty much means that George, Anna and Elizabeth are from a firt marriage. Shoots the heck out of the name patterning I was depending on.  Back we go in time again.

1860: Sumter

  • Phil May 47  NC
  • C.L. May 34 Can
  • Sarah Butyler 71 F  Can
  • Louisa May 11 AL down
  • Mary 9
  • John 7
  • Ann 2
  • George 4


https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-23304-29261-21?cc=1978117&wc=MX52-HZ9:314241801,314484201 This is a file indicated as Henry J Arrington – but it’s H T’s estate.  There is another file that I really wanted to read, but it has another person’s docs in it.  This one  – i8, includes a doc from Bettie Arrington to Mr. M D Garrett 1866 its about tuition.  Wait, this is about Nicholas  Arrington’s estate.  Bettie is someone for whom the estate is paying tuition.  This would be Mary A E – who goes by Elizabeth and Bettie both in the census as the decades go on.

i20 – Mary Jane Arrington, Geo C Arrington, Thos A Oliver, bond – Mary Jane is admin for HT Arrington 1870

1880: Alabama, Sumter, Belmont, 116, i8 fam 100  A puzzling entry. No relationship notes.  And the word Transient after Mollie, Anni and Phil. But not after Walter. And there are others listed after them who are not in the family. It’s strange.  Mary was a teacher.  And Phil a land owner, at least I thought. So what happened, I wonder?

  • Mollie May Lacy 28  So this is Mary?
  • Anni May 21
  • Phil May 69
  • Walter Lacy 3 

Even weirder:  Jefferson, Alabama 1880 i46 fam: 471

  • Martha A. May 52  SC SC SC  so not our girl. But the names line up, which is really strange.
  • Martha J 26 dtr
  • Elizabeth A 21 dtr
  • Reuben J 18 son

Who is Victoria Arrington LEE? Md. Richard Lee in 1853 Greene

The Lees, 1860, ended up – families full of them in Scotts, Perry, Alabama i4

Mary A.E. Arrington  m 02 Dec 1875 in Greene Charles Lattimer (Cousin Edwin’s parents)

1850: Albama, Perry, Brush Creek

  • Samuel S. Lattimore 36 SC 2000
  • Amelia C 36 F SC
  • Amey 24 Al
  • Jehue E  11 m AL
  • Eugenia 8 F Al
  • John 7 m Al
  • Albert 1 m AL

Jesse Chandler is next door. (this is significant, and seven years ago, I’d have known why). Turner bought or sold to a Chandler.

1840: Perry Al I 29 film 110   S. S. Latimore 00001 20001

1870: Perry, beat 10      John L 25 10 July 1870

Chas E 16  Greensboro – Chas E  18 June

1830: Lattimore Steven, Abbeville pg 85  or87 i168/201 (w/Reuben Kay, John Kay, Robertsons, Hintons, John Gantt, John L White.)  00001 (20-30) 10001 – my old conclusion was that this was not the guy I was looking for.  I think I’m looking for Samuel S Lattimer’s father. But at this moment, APR 2013)

James Latimore Abbeville 62/201 pg 32/33  w/George Brownlee, Elgins


  • James  00220001  0100001 – possible
  • Larkin 10001  10001
  • Stephen 00001 10001 w Larkin, Wm. Kay, Tribble , Jesse Chandler 100001(30-40) 00001

Jesse Chandler is 21 of SC 1850 in AL so in 1840, he have been 11 (dang), in 1830 1 year old.

1840 Al Perry Co. Chandler  – W.N Chandler 010001 210001

1830 Scott Chandler Al 0 to old. And some others.  Mg records 1290851 book C –E 1290853  Gandrud Probate directory 1822777 i3  Deeds index 1822185 i2,3.



HT Arrington 1888 – file number 555

George C Arrington gdn of Linda Arrington (child) who becomes Lida A Dixon.  Mary J Arrington gdn 1873 of Lida Arrington (this is what is written on the folder that is marked 2 of 2)


  • Bond for HT to be admin for Charity – HT, GC, PC Clements and PC Shumate bound.
  • Lists of buyers. If I come back to Greene, these will be the circle to pump for Arrington context. I51
  • Some Williams papers are out of place here around i40.

I don’t know if these docs are the same ones shot for the probate – but I find Alfred Arrington here again.

  • i54 is inventory: Peter Shumate is the JP.
  • i62 Mr. Thos Arrington gdn of Bettie Arrington (HT – Thomas is identified as admin) 1868
  • i69 – looks like MAE boarded with Betsy Jane Travis (Elizabeth J Cherry Arrington Davis Travis).
  • I72 – Alabama Central F. College Oc 20, 1868 Recv of Mrs. C Arrington 60$ on account of daughter’s expenses for academic year.   These were folks with money – especially M A Elizabeth was –
  •  Estate paper for Henry Arrington 1873 – there’s another estate in the file, before his. We start about i53 – 59. also 61 and 62

Estate papers for John D. Arrington. https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-23280-73480-57?cc=1978117&wc=MX52-HM3:314241801,314487501  Elizabeth Davis, estate of John D. Arrington, her husband. 1846

  •  i32 – Jan 38 – a note John D Arrington and Reuben ? note to pay Samuel Briggs, gdn of Sarah and Rebecca Cherry  for boy Henry and Rachel and two Children. 1838.
  • Calvin J Gulley is the admin for John D Arrington.  (Stopped at 47)
  • Read from 180-end. All just notes.
  • 180. March 1838 James Dorroh surviving partner of Dorroh and Shack?


  • This is John “T” Arrington. Which is actually John D.  I15 Robert is alive in 1849
  • i72 H Kennen  Miss  Arrington to HJ Kennon – recd of EJDavis in full.  Mary Arrington?
  • i77 Elizabeth J Davis  – James C Bizzell  Wm Bizzell securities
  • i108 Mr. Geo C Arrington gdn for MAE Arrington.  Mentions Shumate, Sims i111 Recept  Miss Bettie Arrington – bought of G.C. Arrington dealer in Dry Goods, Groceries, Hardware, Boots and Shoes. I115 mentions George, MAE and PC Shumate – with Simms.  I118 Forkland Feb 24 1876.  THIS DOC makes the statement that MAE Arrington is now MAE Latimer., and Charles E Latimer signs it.  So this is solid proof.
  • i125 Sam G Briggs i141 mentions Miss E T Davis for clothes etc.
  •  Wait  – how old was George C Arrington, that his name would be on a letterhead?  I142 Nov 1857 it mentions tuition for George.
  • i146 = there’s the letterhead again, but now it’s Arrington and Perry for Bettie (MAE) Arrington 1873
  • i156 Mr. J T Arrington for one course of singing lessons. Payment of EJ Davis to B Round feb 53
  • Other small notes follow 1851-53, interesting. On one receipt, it is noted that the Irish linen is for John’s mother.
  • i166 – a receipt for Lovet Hines for Miss Arrington 1850
  • All through but found on 169 – the name J.H. Caldwell and S.W. Caldwell. I think they are merchants, and now I am wondering if they are relatives of Edmund who married Turner’s sister Nancy.
  • i183 – Ej Davis, William H Bizzell, and James C? Bizzell bond making Elizabeth gdn of the minor children including Martha Ann Arrington, James P  – minor heirs of father John D Arrington
  • i185  George C Arrington is gdn in 1875  – so this is for MAE
  • i222 list of John D Arrington’s heirs.


ESTATE of Patsy Briggs

i2 March 1858. Certify letters of Admin granted to Sheriff. This looks like the only item for Patsy. The rest is John Brown and a Boyd.


Henry Briggs file: heirs of Henry Briggs dec.  Martha Briggs is widow: Mary Briggs, Susan Baker, John Briggs, Both??? Briggs, Martha A, Frances W. William W., (all of age)Thomas N? , Elizabeth A? J> Briggs, Richard Briggs  (Minors, although it’s hard to tell if Thomas is part of the first group) 1852


John D. Arrington, Elizabeth gdn 244 images: also seems to include George’s gdnshop for MAE Arrington.

  • 2. This account made 13 Oct 1852 rents of lands ’49-51 Signature Elizabeth J Davis. Imag 3 is the same, for Robert
  • 3. Martha A Arrington’s accounting 1852
  • 7. James H Caldwell, acting justice of peace.  Martha Ann Arrington a minor of 14 years April 22nd 1847, requesting Mom as gdn. James Portis Arrington Appear selected his mother, Mrs. Davis, for gdn 24th April 1847
  • 11. Martha’s request for her mother as gdn. 27 Sept 1847 Martha is stated as ABOVE the age of 14. If I got that wrong before – was the last statement that year?? I was flying on auto pilot.
  • 13. John T settlement 1850-51
  • 14. John T. I have here a paragraph: 1848. To amt of distributive share of Jno F?T?D? Arrington’s estate interest. Must be D.  Following statements for Robert and Martha


Warren County marriages, but too late for me.


Miscellaneous bits of census, etc.

Elizabeth, dtr. Of James Sr.

1810 Warren, NC:    1m 26-44  1m 45+  1f 45+   b. 1765 or earlier

also 1820

And in 1830 i Fishing Creek, Warren, NC:   1m 10-14  1m 90-99  1f 60-69  WOW. b. 1760-1670


Mary, dtr of James Sr

1810 census: Warren 5m -10 1 m 45+  2f -10 1f 26-44

1830 Fishing Creek, Warren, NC  1m 10-14 1 15-19 1 60-69

1f 5-9  1f 40-49  She was born 1760-1770.

1850:  Warren Henry Southall age 87 b. about 1763 fam 727

Mary Southall 74.  b. 1776.

Henry Southall m Mary Arrington 28 July 1798 North Carolina marriage bonds

Warren County.  Bondsman Henry Arrington. Wit S. Green



Henry Southall Warren Co, NC Age 82 in 1840 pg 141 NC 1840 Pensioners list


  •  i565 Rev war Pension and bounty
  • 567: Warren county NC Cap Powell. Reg: col Long militia 9 mo  application 1832
  • 570 Aged 69 years in 1832 (b.1763?)
  • Born in Halifax, NC 1764. Has nno record of birth. Drafted in 1780


  • The story.
  • Widow Johnson of Halifzxand Matthew Mabry residing in the county of Warren hereby certify that we are well acquainted with Henry Southall. Joseph Johnson.
  • Wit: Alice Conn and Rebecca King
  • Application Executed Sept 6, 1855 in Warren COunty. He is the only one by his name found on the Rev. War records. I stopped on i580. Many more pages.

Henry, son of James Sr.


8 Mar 1970 – this is from the internet, not verified, but very interesting

“The following is a copy of family data on Henry Arrington that came to me from my Aunt Velora Arrington Stallins, now 81 years old, and whose present health and state of mind would not be conducive to dependable confirmation as to where she obtained it. The data is:”

  •  Henry Arrington (James3, Arthur Sr. 2, and William1)
  • Henry Arrington, born 29 Sep 1776, living in 1854, (date of death unknown)
  • m. (1) Elizabeth on 26 Sep 1799, died 17 Mar 1808
  • (2) Nancy Boone on 15 Nov 1808 in Franklin County, North Carolina
  • (3) Nancy Stokes, dau. of Thomas Stokes, on 7 Dec 1812 in Franklin County, NC. She was age 59 on 1850 census of Smith County, TN and died before 1854
  • Issue by second wife unknown
  • Issue by Nancy Stokes
  • 1. Dau. married Archibald Allen
  • 2. Mahenry (Maheney) Arrington married Henry Bradley
  • 3. Joel Arrington, born 11 Dec 1817 in Franklin County, died 6 Jul 1904 in Mt. Vernon, Franklin, TX. He married Sarah Louise Milligan on 31 Dec 1841 in Red River County, Republic of Texas
  • 4. Albert Arrington, born 15 Oct 1819 in Franklin County, died 18 Apr 1899 in Hickman County, KY. He married 1) — Wilson, 2) Martha Owens on 20 Dec 1849, and 3) Sarah —
  • 5. Priscilla Arrington, born in TN (age 27 in 1850). She married Thomas A. Biles and lived in Collin County, TX
  • 6. Thomas Arrington, born in TN (age 24 in 1850), died in 1913. He married Martha — and Carolyn Wilson (order of marriages unknown)
  • 7. Calvin Arrington, born 12 Oct 1828 in Smith County, TN, died 9 Aug 1904 in Fulton County, KY. He married 1) Nancy Owens on 21 Nov 1849 (She died 9 Jan 1877), and 2) Anne Hudson
  • 8. William Arrington, born 20 May 1831 in Smith County, TN, died 23 Sep 1892 in Lebanon, TN. He married Sarah A. Butler on 8 Dec 1851″

Willis, son of James Sr.


Willis A. Arrington   15 May 1837:  150 acres Greene, Alabama  twn 19-N Range 2E Section 1  Well, well, well –

Nancy, dtr. Of James Sr.

Marriage: Erasmus Culpepper md. Ana Arrington 15 Sep 1804 Warren, NC


Erasmus md Ann Arrington 15 Sep 1804  Warren, NC. Bndsman Willis Arrington, wit J Malone

1820: 1m-10 1m 26-44  1f -10 1f 10-15 f 16-25  1f 26-44 She’s born 1776-1794

1850: Wilcox Alabama

  • Erasmus Culpepper 68 NC
  • Ann 65  NC  b.1875
  • Mary 13  AL

Lewis Arrington: son of James Jr.

Littleton Arrington. m Eliza Harvey 8 Dec 1830 Halifax bondsman Lewis Arrington, wit J.H. Harwell

1850 census for Halifax, NC i104/183 fam 1011

  • Lewis Arrington 53 Warren
  • Martha 44 Halifax all the way down
  • John 19
  • Relinda 17
  • Lewis 13
  • Lear 11  F Leah, I’m certain.
  • Louisa 8
  • George 6
  • Sarah 4
  • Ben 1/12


1860: Western Distric, Halifax, NC Heathsville

  • Lewis Arrington 62
  • Relinda F  28  Seamstress  Md. Jesse W. Green in Nov- 1 child Parents missing by 1870.War
  • James L 23
  • Leah A 22 Seamstress
  • Martha L 19  Seamstress
  • George G 16
  • Sarah E 13

1870: Cucharia Halifax, NC fam 60

  • Lewis 73
  • Leah 30
  • Martha L or S 29
  • George A 2525
  • Ida T Geen 8

Fam 61

Charley Alston 16

fam 62

  • James Arrington 33
  • Sarah I?J?L? 39
  • Allice E 13
  • JOhn O 11
  • Mary C 2


Lewis Arrington md Martha Nevill 6 Jan 1827 Halifax NC

Ann, dtr of James Jr.

1840: census Warren, NC:  1m 20-29 1f 15-19 2f 30-39 1f 50-59

next full page:   Catherine Riggan, Jezabel Riggin

1850 Census Warren, Warren, NC fam 732

  • Ann Aycock 51 b1799
  • Mary A Aycock 21
  • Martha Aycock 20
  • Francis A 19
  • Ann M Aycock 16

fam 733 :

  • James Arrington 75
  • Leah 75 

Henry, son of James Jr.


Henry Arrington md. Caroline Powell 27 Nov 1837     Bondsman Edwin D Drake

1840: Halifax, NC  Henry Arrington:  1m -5  1m 30-39   1f -5  1f 15-19  1f 30-39  b. 1801-1810   on the same page is Gideon Arrington:  1m 10-15  1m 30-40  1f 20-30  1f 30-40  b. 1800-1810

1850: Halifax fam 1198 i124/183

  • Littleton 44  Halifax all the way down  1806
  • Eliza 40 1810
  • Robert 19
  • Sam 18

fam 1200

  • Henry Arrington 50
  • Caroline 42
  • Mary 12
  • Nick 11
  • Tom 10
  • Joe 8
  • Pat 4 F
  • Baley 3 M
  • Feletia 1 F

The Fam Tree thinks he died 1870 in Coffeeville Yalobusha, Miss

Gideon son of James Jr.

Gid Arrington md Rhody Carter 20 Dec 1826 in Warren  Lewis Morris MM Drake

  • 1840: Halifax, NC  Henry Arrington:  1m -5  1m 30-39   1f -5  1f 15-19  1f 30-39  b. 1801-1810
  •  on the same page is Gideon Arrington:  1m 10-15  1m 30-40  1f 20-30  1f 30-40  b. 1800-1810

1850: Halifax NC i123/183

fam 1185

Gideon Arrington 49 Halifax

fm 1186

Has no surname, but seems to be riding on Gid’s Arrington

  • James 23
  • Melissa 25
  • John 25
  • Albert Lunch 18
  • Jackson 13

1870: Formosa, Halifax, NC Brinkleyville i31/75

  • Gid Arrington 68
  • William Arrington 15
  • Lucy Sherrin 40
  • Billie Sherrin 19
  • Amanda 13
  • Billie 11
  • Cornelia 10

Littleton, son of James Jr.

Littleton Arrington 1840 Fed Census:  2m  5-9  1 20-29  1m 30-39  1f 20-29  Halifax, NC

On a page next to  Benjamin Arrington, Joseph Arrington

1850: Halifax fam 1198 i124/183

  • Littleton 44  Halifax all the way down  1806
  • Eliza 40 1810
  • Robert 19
  • Sam 18

fam 1200

  • Henry Arrington 50
  • Caroline 42
  • Mary 12
  • Nick 11
  • Tom 10
  • Joe 8
  • Pat 4 F
  • Baley 3 M
  • Feletia 1 F

1860 West dist Halifax NC

  • Littleton 51  1809
  • Eliza W 47 1813
  • Robert H 28
  • Martha R 26
  • Lucy D 4
  • John H 3/12
  • Samuel L 26 school teacher.  1824

1870: Formosa, Halifax, NC Brinkleyville

  • Littleton 62  1808
  • Eliza 57 1813
  • Ann 39
  • Lucy 14
  • Sammy 10
  • Bobbie 8

1880: Brinkleyville, Halifax, NC

  • Littleton Arrington 71  1809
  • Eliza 65 1815
  • Pattie 44
  • Lucy 23
  • Samuel 19
  • Mary F 17


Littleton Arrington. m Eliza Harvey 8 Dec 1830 Halifax bondsman Lewis Arrington, wit J.H. Harwell

Samuel, son of James Jr – only guesses. Can’t find any connection

1850: Samuel Arrington  Warrenton, Warren, NC fam 406

  • John T Watson 26
  • Latta 23
  • Alice 2
  • Sidney 0
  • John Arrington 50 Physician  NC
  • Mary Arrington 38
  • Samuel Arrington 12
  • William Haynes 30


The story of “Elgin” in which a Samuel P Arrington figures.  After the war, he is evidently a solicitor or real estate person. So is grown up, anyway.  “During the trying days after the Confederate defeat, however, the Mitchels and other members of the family were rearranging their affairs in order to move to their property in Tennessee. In 1868 Peter Mitchel assigned to Samuel Arrington full pm’ler of attorney to sell and handle all his North Carolina property…Samuel P. Arrington and others sold Elgin for $20,000Samuel P. Arrington and others sold Elgin for $20,000”


Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

~:: A Story ::~

The problem with me and blogging these last couple of years is simple and systemic: you have to be able to sit still long enough to write something down. Sitting still works while you are in thinking mode.  Doesn’t work at all in doing mode. The systemic part may come from my unfortunate mix of English/Teutonic blood with Irish/French/Celtic blood. I am at once a romantic and a realist; I hope for miracles but respect the point of mortality to be a matter of handling our own fate. The second I sit down, I feel guilty for not standing up. If I stand up, I think of all the things I should be doing while I am sitting down.  I think it’s important to live in the moment as long as you are preserving the past and preparing for the future. See? I’m very simple.

I cannot read and write at the same time, which should not be understood as a problem of the moment, but of phases. If I am reading, I don’t write. I went through a near decade of reading hardly anything at all, and in that time, I wrote reams. Now I am reading, and – as I said – I can’t seem to sit down and write.  Not stories.  Not philosophy.  And Facebook doesn’t help; pithy statements made in the moment seem to satiate the compulsion to work words into constructs. If you are lost reading this, you are no more lost than I.

But today I have lived a little story, and if I hurry, I can get it down before I quit in the middle – and this is it:

There is nothing quite so satisfying and glorious as a working Sabbath.  We had one decades ago when the snow was dumped on us by vat-load in an unexpected and early spring storm. This was on a Sunday. The word went out: church, all three hours plus various meetings – cancelled. Instead, we were sent out on the streets to dig folks out.  And here, where a several-hundred-person congregation covers a matter of four city blocks, that meant one incredible frozen street festival.

Those who had garden tractors or plows on their four wheelers – whatever – gleefully hauled them out.  And out came the snow-blowers and the shovels and whatever else we could get our hands on.  The children were out there with the grown-ups, everybody descending first on the drives and walks of those least likely to be able to dig themselves out – then on the clogged streets themselves. Glorious was the word for it – like a holiday with dear family. A party lubricated by benevolence. Dickens himself wouldn’t have stinted, if he’d been there, but would have joined in with many a hearty jest and good-natured snow ball.

It is fun, in other words, when you leave the theory behind and indulge in an orgy of glad application.

(“Is that the story?” they asked one another in sotto tones, exchanging grimaces.)


This is the story:

Early this morning a beloved friend of mine, adopted sister, horse maven/mentor, was headed back from a rather grueling day and night, hauling a soul-and-gear-stuffed three horse slant behind her rowdy truck. She was on her way home in south valley, but needed to stop by her winter pasture to pick up a few needed meds and things, and so began to pull off the freeway at our exit. But the truck, hauling all that weight, chose that moment to fall apart – clutch refused to function, and there she was, holding the steering wheel in a rigid grip while nearly sitting on the gear-stick, trying to force the truck to take the curve in a reasonable gear.  Grinding. Hashing. Screaming – she got it down to a controllable state, then headed down Center toward her place, driving grimly and with terrible care – until the truck gave out entirely.

Which happened directly across the street from – are you ready? – MY pasture.  That was the first miracle.  The second was that she had my keys with her, so she could unload the ponies, walk them down my drive, and stick them in my (third miracle) empty but cloze-upable trailer parking enclosure.


The fourth was that the dogs, sleeping beside my bed, heard her text come in on my phone and dragged me half off the bed to wake me.  I was deep under.  And the odd thing was, I woke up with my friend’s special iPhone ring in my head, even though I’m pretty sure every text comes in with the same alert sound.  Anyway, I blurrily ordered the dogs to cease and desist, and then noticed the phone was lit up and groped for it. Couldn’t read the text, of course – no glasses. No brain. Still blinking off shreds of dreams.

When I could focus, it still took me three times to understand the text: she was parked across the street from me. Hope I didn’t mind her using the parking “pad.” So I called her.  I probably should have waited two minutes  – at least until my English had fully loaded for the day. And we worked through the whole story, a chunk at a time.

She hadn’t even had a chance to pull the rig entirely out of the road before she was dead. So she was sitting in a rig tricked out with big orange emergency cones, hoping people on the way down to the lake would be able to see her bumpers clearly. And she had come to a stop right in front of a house in which a man who knows everything about trucks and diesels and clutches happens to live (and he’s a sweetheart, too), and while she was waiting for the tow truck, he even offered her – a stranger – the use of his truck so she could get home.

But she waited for ME. Why?  Because I HAVE HORSE STUFF. This is SO COOL.  I have horse stuff, and I even know some things, and I have a pasture that just happened to drop out of heaven RIGHT AT THE SPOT OF HER DISTRESS.  And my Suburban is up and running – was even already hitched to our trailer, which wasn’t actually an advantage since we had to pull hers, but still  –  my Suburban has a trailer hitch – and I COULD HELP!!!  Is that a feeling, or what?  To find that you are not only adequate to help, but actually in a very good position to do so? That I could KNOW WHAT TO DO?????  And that I had plenty of people to cover my church jobs this morning.


One after another, things clicked into place, and I was able to pay someone I owe beyond hope of return, at least something of that debt.  I missed church, which is a big deal for us LDS folks – church is a pretty solid and regular institution for us – but it was like missing the LAB in order to do the real JOB.  I am thinking in capitals – that’s why you’re seeing them.

Anyway, there you are.  That’s the story. We got the things she needed, and hitched up and drove however many tens of miles it is down south to her home place and got her lovely animals and self home safely.

I loved it.  I think the key here was not that I was actually needed (which is not something I aspire to actually), but that I was equipped to step up. How often do you get to feel like you are being asked by heaven to do something you are absolutely ready to do?

So there you have it, a working Sabbath and a neat little train of miracles to boot.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

There. A blog entry. Oh, and a few free bonus cuts:


How We Travel or Majesty Awaiting the Return of his Wife (from the ladies’ room). If you look closely, you can see the self portrait of said wife.


And this is a shot I took too late.  We have these incredible Daisies – I think they are Michaelmas Daisies, but since I don’t know what those really are, I could be wrong. Anyway, they grow at the very end of May, beginning of June, and in the gloaming, they glow.  Too late, I realized that I had waited past the height of their loveliness.  Still, they continued to glow in the evening as the light dissolved into shadow.  So I tried to shoot them.  And this actually looks quite right. So I share them with you.  Bedraggled as they now are. Which reminds me of someone I know . . .

Posted in Doing Things, Epiphanies and Meditations, friends, Fun Stuff, Geneva, HappyHappyHappy, Horses, Just life | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

~:: A Sad Little Story ::~

Some of you aren’t going to understand this.

The last year has been just kinda hard. I shake my head at myself for writing that, knowing the kinds of things many of you have been dealing with. Mine has just been a niggling, if chronic, back and neck thing – just enough to pull the stuffing out of me and leave me sort of droopy and spiritless. But, you know, life is what it is. And plenty of dear things have happened, and I’ve read a lot of books instead of doing things.

It’s better now. Except sometimes. But again – it’s little. I’m little. It’s little.

I think I’m just tired.

A couple of weeks ago, we acquired a chicken. A dirty, scruffy buff Orphington (I think. What do I know?) who looked like the bottom of somebody’s pecking order. She had apparently escaped from the pompous black and white rooster (famous now, in that neighborhood around the barn, for obnoxiousness) down the way.

One morning, the barn was just us and the horses.

Next morning, there was this chicken.

She followed us around, discussing things at our backs. Scratched in the dust and old hay. Really commented on just about everything. Like I do.

I told G about her, and when he met her, he was charmed.  He took a number ten can full of oats and wheat and – of all things – beans from an old bean soup mix we’d never been brave enough to use. And she was very pleased. She’d eat out of his hand, never touching his skin, but getting every grain out of there—commenting, sometimes under her breath, but always cheerfully.  She had no use for the beans.

We talked about keeping her, but I thought someone might be missing her.  And I didn’t want chicken poop all over the barn (wouldn’t have been a big difference, and, in fact, wasn’t), so I went to a couple of neighbors, trying to find her real home. Never did find it. Which didn’t bother me, truth to tell.

Yesterday, she was charmingly broody, finding places in the scrap hay and settling down into them happily, vibrating and  commenting and squinching around till she had almost a nest. And she climbed the hay stack, looking back at me over her shoulder and explaining something.

I threw her three handfuls of G’s famous homemade feed. There are beans all over everything now.

This morning, she did not meet me the second I opened the barn door. Plenty of disgusted horses; I was late. I woke at an appallingly late hour, heavy and hurting more than I would have expected to at this point in things. They were hungry. I was late.

The barn felt very empty. Nobody commenting. Nobody pointedly scratching in the dirt.

Good, I was thinking. She went back home. But there was part of me that didn’t really mean the “good” part.

I set about my work, shaking out the horse bins, setting them in order. “You need water,” I told the horses, and started it running, went into Sophie’s place to shake out her horse-food-bowl. Looked down at the trough.

The chicken had drowned in it.

Her feathers were bright orange. Much more beautiful now. The dust had been hiding her color.

I had wondered about that trough, worrying about her drinking there. But for once in my life – no, it’s not the only time, and so, I suppose is representative of something – had not insisted on helments and seat belts and handwashing and not giving out personal information over the net.  On being home at a reasonable hour and eating right and wearing safety glasses when you solder.

Some of you are thinking, it was only a chicken.

You are the ones who I said wouldn’t understand; and that’s okay. Lucky you. One less in your list of hostages to fate.

After all my years of living, and I do not yet count as old among many (shrinking) circles, I have come to the peaceful and certain belief that animals have souls. They were not sent here to fight themselves like we are.  But they are who they are, and do what they do, and often have opinions of their own.  And are loved of God. And live forever somewhere else.

Just because we don’t understand somebody else’s comments doesn’t mean they weren’t meaningful.

Posted in Epiphanies and Meditations, Family, Just talk | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

~:: That Which Makes Us Tired ::~

In response to a blog recommended to me by my dear M: my comment.

It would appear that I can still write opinion. I may not be sitting down with images just now, or telling stories of family life, but I can still howl when trod upon. And why am I posting a comment on my blog and then on Facebook? Because I have always written to communicate, have always written for friends and family and kindred spirits. Because writing and reading sharing ideas is part of what has raised our species out of the muck.

And right now, I feel like the muck is pretty dang thick.  So I’m not actually recommending that you read EVERYTHING on the link that I’ve had shared on me, and now am sharing again, because there were lyrics here that repelled my eyes the way the wrong polar end of a magnet reacts. I got the point without reading them, thank you very much.  But the blog point is sharp and true.

You’ll force yourself to eat Kale – but we’ll take just about anything through our eyes and ears – like that kind of digestion doesn’t have just as much impact on our health and well-being. And the first comment? Very telling.

So, the link.  And so my comment:

That first comment was interesting. I’ve heard that kind of before, people trying to reason their way through their attraction to – I’m trying to come up with a term here – frippery could work, but it sounds so innocent. The destructive and seductive. Instead of the productive and beautiful (can’t come up with a light-filled rhyme there). I once accepted a literary award, and in my little speech to that audience of 500 plus folks, I talked about shoving darkness down the throats of students because, for some reason, we have decided that darkness is deeply meaningful, while light is just silly. This big guy, all dressed in black – another “children’s” author, came up to me and said, rather aggressively, “You said that darkness is a bad thing and we oughta not expose children to it. But what if a kid is *attracted* to darkness? They have a right to it, don’t they?”

I stared at him for a second – it was the end of the day, and I was finally packing up what books I had left over after the signing ordeal – and felt my face sort of squinch up – and I said, very frankly and honestly, “Well I don’t think THAT sounds real healthy.”

His face lost all its – umm, purpose, – and he said, in this amazingly little voice, “You don’t?”

Answer, nearly twenty years later: “I don’t.”

Stupid is probably the germinal word here. Like the people who signed the “Elect Karl Marx for 2016″ petition (YouTube). Like anybody who buys a bridge in Brooklyn, for whatever reason. Stupid was here on the earth, just waiting for us to show up – like a virus. Stupidity – good natured, angry, depressed, lecherous, well-meaning, euphoric – it comes in all flavors. It seems to be what we human beings are best at.

And yet, I don’t really believe that. I believe that we were meant for unimaginably great things. We just settle for so very little, so very often. Then again, I know people who don’t settle at all. I know people who have built great beauty out of just what they find around the house and heart and mind. And of them, I sing, Baby.  And on them, I pin my hope.

Posted in IMENHO (Evidently not humble), Just talk, mad | Tagged , | 14 Comments

~:: Frozen – a Case for Thawing Out a Little ::~

I haven’t blogged for months, and what finally goads me into writing? A movie. Or rather, some public reaction to a movie.       

When I saw the trailer for Frozen, months and months ago, I wasn’t interested; obnoxious snowman/comic relief/foil/”endearing” character, large animal anthropomorphized (or at least with the heart of a dog), perky heroine with great hair and eyes half the size of her face. The trailer just made me feel tired. I felt the same way about the trailers for Tangled.

But I started hearing that the movie was surprisingly good, and armed with my  eventual enjoyment of Tangled, I decided to see it.

Frozen was surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly) good. As is with every quality movie that will be seen by children, there are plenty of important talking points here. Added bonus: the movie is entertaining, offers lovely, engaging characters and is unquestionably beautiful to look at.

So why are some people so disturbed? I mean, beyond the usual Disney-princess yadda yadda or objection to animation. I think there are two answers to this:

1. I’m going to call Frozen a musical. That alone could be a count against it with many people. Especially male people. But that is what the movie is, so I’m going to refer to the script as “the book,” which is what you call the script of a musical. A “book” is not going to feel like a movie script. The lines are pitched differently.  I’d have to sit down with this and think about it carefully in order to articulate the mechanics here. But the point is, you go, expecting to watch a movie, and what you’re really watching is the pilot run of material that is meant to end up on the stage.  This is now the Disney process. And this film will make an impressive stage production.

Still, the “stage” feel of the writing and the blocking might put some people off, or at least, make them feel a bit uncomfortable. None of this bothered me at all, past the moment when I realized that the language was awfully stage-y.  I simply changed hearing modes, and it worked wonderfully for me.

2. My main point here: the way the story is built, it pivots on the moment when Elsa leaves her home and, once safely isolated, builds the ice castle. This  moment seems to be the focus of all the brouhaha. And the trigger is the now nearly-beaten-to-death song: “Let it Go.”

In terms of storytelling, this song is a mid-plot sort of fulcrum. It is sung by a young woman who, feeling rejected by the people she has cared about all her life and fearing her own nature, runs away and closes herself off. It is a song that absolutely nails adolescent suffering. It is a bitter denunciation of hope – hope for – more than acceptance- for love, for the great joy of being part of the community you love. I’ve felt all those feelings, and I’m willing to bet that most of you have also.

It’s a human “rights of passage” moment. When you slink off to pity yourself.

It is a perfect pivotal moment, when the emotional maturity hits it’s nadir – loud, passionate, immature – and a lie. The song is a young girl lying to herself. I believe the usual phrase for this in life is, “And I don’t even care.”

The problem here? Not that the song was sung in that moment of the plot, sung with that stinging passion. The problem was that the song was used again – this time, under the credits.

The credits are  the place usually reserved for summing-up songs: finally we fell in love, or see??? In the end the right is going to prevail, whether they like it or not – that kind of song.  The credit slot is  for the triumph pantheon of popular songs.

And during the credits of Frozen – that’s the moment when the song begins to warp – why? Because here it seems to be framed as a triumph song, not a mid-growth suffering song.  It becomes the summing up of the movie, rather than the moment when the character hits bottom.  Someone had a terrible lapse in aesthetic and philosophical judgment when they made that call.  The point of the movie is not triumph in running away and wallowing in defiant self-pity.  The point of the movie is that a pure and true heart can, and sometimes does, act as a catalyst for a miracle.  And that pain should not end in you turning your back on what’s really important – on the work of loving people.

If you understand the history of the song, you may understand better what I’m trying to say. The song was written to be a song of evil triumph – a moment not unlike Maleficent’s morph into the dragon. In that earlier version of the book, which is much closer to the source material, “The Snow Queen,” a Hans Christian Andersen tale, Elsa becomes a villain – heart frozen, cruel and vengeful. Thus the  song was first written not as a navel-gazing bit of self-medication, but as a weapon – sung at those she has come to destroy: “give it up,” meaning your hope.  I am here to destroy you.

The fact that the character, as she was coming to life in the story the Disney team was discovering, was not a villain. Quite the opposite.  Elsa, obeying both her parents and the magical advisors, sacrifices the love her heart treasures in order to protect the people around her.  She does NOT defy her parents. Neither girl does. The fault in this story lies in the understanding of the parents, which – you must admit – gives the film a certain heartbreaking verity. Rather than working with the strange gift their daughter has, helping her to discover what good it can do, giving her the balance and strength that growing up with love would offer, they want to hide her away, ultimately running from what they don’t understand.

It is this, more than any other thing, I think, that has given rise to the rather ugly and sad howls about the nature of Elsa’s situation. If the parents don’t understand her in this story, it must be because the writers built is so that what makes her different will be understood as whatever controversial and wildly popular difference of our own day and culture. And the assumption has been made by some that the writers are telling this story to make some specific politically correct point.  But the fact of the matter  is that the power to freeze things is morally neutral. There is no religious or cultural onus on it. And this is an old story – it doesn’t have to be bent in weird shapes to provide whatever metaphor the audience comes looking for – the metaphor was there from the beginning, and it is  broad. The story can be used as an allegory of thousands of things.  If one person is looking for ugly, she will find it.  If another is looking for beauty and light, she will find it. Using the self-same metaphor. And this is true even if there is an agenda lurking somewhere. You see what you look for.

I say this as a deeply religious person, by the way, a practicing (which means “living it”) LDS person who believes very much in the value of spiritual, moral, intellectual health anchored in belief – searching always for truth.

To throw the baby out with the bathwater – and that is a very apt phrase for what I’m saying – smacks of a certain hysteria, not of a heart that loves.

We all have children we don’t understand. Some of them turn out to be artists and that is our problem in understanding them.  Some of them don’t turn out to be artists, and that is our problem understanding them. Some have no sense of social interaction.  Some have only too much. Their dreams aren’t ours.  Their choice in clothing alarms us. Whatever. Choose any one of a million things that sends a child stamping up the stairs to slam the bedroom door. Why set this particular movie into some kind of absolute-evil-agenda stone? To do so is just silly.

I do realize that in any creative team, I am certain to find people whose personal attitudes and mores do not harmonize with my own, and I do not give this studio a pass just because it bears the Disney name. And I am not saying that your child can’t take away from – any experience – a “lesson” or message that you might not want them to have assimilated.  But I am saying that to accuse a creative team of evil intent, when the product was patently not evil in any way, is not productive.

Anyone who lets a child participate in ANY kind of entertainment – may it be books, TV, movies, commercial music – without experiencing it themselves is naïve and irresponsible. We need to participate WITH our children, seeing what they see, hearing what they hear. Learning their perspective. And using our own at the same time – not so much because we need to censure things, but because we need to learn from the children – what they think, how they think – what appeals to them in this book, this music – and why.  We can’t teach them without hearing them.  And hearing them react to outside things is a great opportunity to begin understanding on deep levels.  Shared context is of tremendous value.

For me, this movie was about love.

That is a simple statement, but it is the most important one. The relationship between Anna and Elsa is the beating heart here. Anna disregards her sister’s advice about love and suffers for it.  The child learns to trust the older heart.  And in the end, in all of the relationships, love and worth are proved by sacrifice – willing, spontaneous, dogged sacrifice. As it is in life.

Or should be.

And that is why I enjoyed the movie. And that is why I will buy it.

Posted in Epiphanies and Meditations, IMENHO (Evidently not humble), Movie reviews | 19 Comments

~:: Reset ::~

I don’t know if this starting again will work. Mostly because I don’t know why it stopped working in the first place. It has occurred to me that the problem might have been in having too much to say, and not enough lift to sort it all out. That doesn’t seem unreasonable, does it? And there was the genealogy, which is still on-going – and which I will try to explain at some point, but not now, because unravelling the complexity of my motivation is pretty much worth my life. And there was the fact of a physical crash.

Last January I started the year’s first big project: the book of my mom’s life. Full time, I was scanning, re-touching and color correcting, reading and re-reading her personal history, trying to establish a time-line and identify which pictures came where. Somewhere in the middle of the second month, my little body began to crash. Okay, my desk was so far from being ergonomically set up as to be just stupid, but that’s because I never really plan anything out; I just get an idea and plunge into things. When idea and plunge happen simultaneously, I can’t stop to line up my tools or worry about where my monitors are.

I got yelled at for that, for working in deeply unergonomic circumstances. Murphy, the computer mavin, lectured me and made me take everything off the desk and set it up intelligently. More intelligently, I mean – which still may not actually be qualifiable as fully intelligent. To be fair to me, I’d already bought an ergonomic chair, one of those kind you’re supposed to sort of kneel in. Of course, sometimes I just sort of put my feet where your knees are supposed to go – But all this was sort of shutting the barn door after the horses are all gone.

After some eight or so years of spending hours and hours in front of that bad set-up, twisting my spine wrong and using the dang mouse with my right hand – I was in trouble. My back was killing me and my right arm was alternately numb and aching, like it had bursitis. I went to the doctor and asked for a course of heavy anti-inflammatories, because that had helped before a couple of years ago. Took the meds and felt much better – for about four days. Then it was all back again. Couldn’t sleep because of back and arm.

And every time I got up from the couch (where I curl up and write or read or eat-on-the-fly, or knit, or whatever) I walked like a little old person, all bent over – couldn’t straighten up for a couple of minutes. Constant pain of many different kinds in many different places, and mainly in the small of my back. Which scared me. Cancer can show up as a back ache. Blood clots in the lungs can show up as middle back pains. All of a sudden, I was feeling very mortal.

So, okay – I’m sixty one. But that’s just information.

The more essential truth is I went into age denial at about 48, around the time I stopped recognizing my face in the mirror. Aging is a little like childbirth – only your bestest, wisest friends will remember to warn you not to take your pre-preg jeans to the hospital when you finally deliver, assuming that baby-going-out means jeans-finally-going-back-on. And maybe nobody CAN warn you about how the machine your spirit is running is finally going to wear down. How it begins to lag in efficiency. The cameras start to fail, and the microphones, and the gears. And I’m supposed to think that living another thirty years can still be a picnic?

So anyway, it came to me to go to this chiropractor that Chaz and Lorri both used after car accidents, suggested by their very-not-ambulance-chasing lawyer (discussion of what car insurance does NOT do for you and why you actually much engage a lawyer at another time) because this particular chiro-practice is very quantified and effective and is accepted in the courts as responsible information. I thought, if I go there, they can tell me if this IS a back problem or not – and if it is, they might help. And if it isn’t, we’ll go from there.

So I went. And found out some astounding things about my muscular/skeletal state. And went into rehab – and have been in rehab since September. And things are getting better, much better. By rehab, I don’t mean lying on a work-out ball and gently rolling back and forth.  I mean getting strapped into weight machines and hauling huge amounts of weight using only my neck.  Or my core.  This stuff is WORK.

But the fact remains that, sometime in February, it was like somebody pulled a plug on my energy, and I am still dragging. Is it just age? I don’t know. I have done a million things in spite of all this.  I do at least two miles on the treadmill every single day, and sling hay, and argue with horses and make stuff.

But even back in May, when the fam took me to Disneyland, I didn’t feel like I had half the energy even to want to go. I don’t know. Maybe I am old. That would – ummm – suck eggs. To find that I actually am as old as I look. Which is bad.

——- January 7th

Oh PHOOEY.  The problem is that I can’t WANT TO DO ANYTHING. Like I’m exhausted all the dang time. WHY IS THIS?  I can think of reasons for every dang month in the last year, but it’s not like last year was any different than any other year. Well, I’m finished with the whining. I’ve put images up on Flickr since last year, meaning to blog them. And now I’m going to do it and back date the blogs.  But they’ll all be under the old, wilted header image.

And I’ll try to remember to put links to the backdated stuff here – I mean if anybody wants to read what a big fat whiner has to say. Or see what a whiner  – wait, you can’t actually see whining, can you?  Maybe you can. Well.

Oh, poop, anyway.

Birthday at Disney,  2013

including Cars Land

June, going South, 2013

The Desert

June and October, 2013

Blue Hair

November 11, 2013

I think these are just Autumn shots

Gifts for Gin, 2013

What I made

November 27, 2013

The feast

First real snow, first of Dec, 2013

And whining about some people I know

The Crazy Christmas Party, 2013


Christmas Making, 2013

More stuff I made

Christmas Day, 2013

Posted in whining | 24 Comments