Genealogical research often turns up more than you really want to know. I got a rude reminder of this truism before the Christmas holidays, when a genealogist working in Cobourg, Ontario discovered that my earliest North American ancestor, William Thompson (1806-1849), assaulted a tailor, didn’t pay the fine, and spent time in the lock-up. The […]
The Work of Joseph Ough: Not Entirely Gone, But Largely Forgotten
Dear Long-Lost Uncle Ough, I know that you are dead – in fact you died more than 130 years ago – but that’s no excuse for not writing to you about my recent trip to your old hometown of Sacramento. Things have certainly changed since you lived there, and not all for the better. But […]
Rancho Joaquina Needed a Facelift Before It Could be Shown to the Public
The year was 1970. The occasion was the annual Phoenix Home and Garden Show. The opportunity was to open my great grandfather J.E. Thompson’s 46-year-old Rancho Joaquina estate for public viewing. The problem: It was a mess, inside and out. In stepped the local chapter of the American Institute of Interior Designers, along with The […]
Deathbed Letters: My Life’s Story
I note in the book of yarns that you may want to hold them until you write a book and then use them. It may be that you will want to bring me into your book. I have no objections. If that is the case you may want a short outline of my life. Here goes.
Deathbed Letters: The Meekest Man
At the end of 1906 I went to N.Y. to be a big shot on Wall Street and found that to be a big shot I had to have a butler. So I got one.
Deathbed Letters: Coming to Blows
I was free to run around City hall where I met an “expug” who was City Jailer. He taught me to punch bag and the manly art of self-defense.