In the summer of 2017, I had the distinct pleasure of visiting the Cameo Cinema in Edinburgh, Scotland, where my grandfather Hugh Simmers worked as a projectionist from 1916 to 1917, before he emigrated to the United States. Originally called the King Cinema, it’s the oldest continuously operated movie theater in Scotland, dating back to […]
It was no easy find. First, there was the hassle of getting there — to St. Johnsbury, Vermont, in the northern part of the state, a mere 49 miles from Canada. Then there was the matter of trying to find the home where the family had lived in 1880. The Census provided an address, the […]
It’s good to catch up with a relative, even if they are long gone. I never met my great uncle J.E. (Joe) Thompson, Jr., but thankfully he left behind hand-written notes that chronicled some important, and some not so important, events in his life, including a few details about his legendary trip around the world. […]
Who builds a polo field in Phoenix? It’s so hot you can fry an egg on the sidewalk and bake cookies on a car dashboard. Sometimes airplanes can’t fly. Answer: My great grandfather J.E. Thompson. Though J.E.’s gesture seems foolhardy, it may may have actually paid financial dividends. That sly fox! Joseph Edward, who belonged […]
This just in: It unlikely that “my” John Clark built this beautiful grain mill along Yellow Breeches Creek, a tributary of the Susquehanna River. It sure would have been nice to say someone in my family was responsible — it was the first grist mill in Cumberland County, Pa. I thought for about a year […]
More than 400 soldiers died during the two-hour battle of Iuka, making it one of the fiercest of the Civil War. (Six people died per minute.) Yet today it’s difficult for visitors to this small Northern Mississippi town to find any trace of the battle. Yes, there’s a big, touristy mural on a crumbling downtown […]
My mother left behind a faded picture of her grandparents’ headstone with a note on the back, “North Merchistan Cemetery, Edinburgh, Scotland.” I could barely make out the names on the headstone, Hugh Simmers and Marion Murray. But it was impossible to read their dates of birth and death, which of course would be vital […]
Rhoda Anne Williams and Walter Hinds Doty hadn’t been married too long when a mysterious visitor showed up in their driveway.