Halloween 2018

Caith “My Halloween Kitty”

Halloween or Samhain is said to be the day where the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. As such, it is an important time to remember those who have passed. Although I try to remember all my ancestors who have passed, this Samhain I want to remember three people who were not ancestors but had a profound effect on my life. Their passing touched me deeply.

First, is my first close friend to die. Steve Plowman was a close friend while I lived in North Minneapolis. He lived about a block away – down the hill to the corner then left a half a block to his house on 24th that adjoined the alleyway between Aldrich and Bryant avenues. On Tuesday, November 24th, 1964, Steve and a mutual friend, Gary Dorf, were crossing Lyndale Avenue in North Minneapolis while a bus was stopped. Gary stopped walking while in front of the bus,  but Steve ran out trying to beat a car that was coming. Steve was hit by the car and died before getting to the hospital. He was the first close friend I had to die, and one of only a few I’ve known that have died due to a car accident. Steve was only 15 when he died. To this day, I am ultra-careful when walking past a bus into traffic and cringe when I see someone step past a bus without using super-great caution.

Sadly, I was in Minnesota a few weeks ago and at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery, where Steve is buried, and didn’t realize he was there. So, visiting his grave will be on my list of things to do during my next visit to Minnesota.

Marker – Alvina B Kirks – photo by Don Taylor

Next, is my best friend’s mother, Alvina Kirks. She was a really nice woman. Hers was the first, and only, funeral where I was a pallbearer. It was difficult for me to say anything that would help my friend or the rest of his family. I recall making a conscious decision to do my absolute best to fulfill the honor my friend and his father bestowed upon me asking that I be a pallbearer, at only 16-years of age. Alvina was only 47 when she passed. From her, I learned that even when cancer is taking your life, you can be strong and dignified during the process. She was. I was able to visit her burial site at Fort Snelling National Cemetery when I was last in Minnesota. She is buried next to her husband, Charles N. Kirks.

Gravesite: Mary E. (Raidt) Taylor – Photo by Don Taylor

Finally, is my first wife, Mary. She was an exceptionally good woman and mother to my first child. She was very tolerant and in so many ways amazing. I was married to her for over ten years and don’t rue a day of it. We were so young when we were married and tried very hard to make it work. But the separations of Navy life took their toll on our relationship. She passed away last spring (June). I was able to visit where her cremains are buried at Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Minneapolis. I was saddened that there wasn’t a stone monument there. Cemetery records indicated where she was buried. She is resting with her grandparents, John & Marie (Hawley) Langford. Although she doesn’t have a stone marker at the cemetery, I did create a virtual monument for her on Find-a-Grave. May her life in heaven be more joyous than she ever imagined.

Bryan – Surname Saturday

Name Origin

Bryan is a surname based upon habitation, that is to say, based upon where a person lived or came from. The Dictionary of American Family Names[i] indicates it derives from either of two places called Brionne in northern France (in Eure and Creuse). It also has derivations from the Celtic personal name Brian as in “O’Brian.”

It has been my experience that Bryan and Bryant seem to be interchangeable in my wife’s family line and that occasionally, a Bryan might be known as a Bryant.

Continue reading “Bryan – Surname Saturday”

Schools I’ve Attended – Anoka-Ramsey Community College

1981-1982

My Life
Those Places Thursday

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.

I applied to and was accepted at Anoka-Ramsey Community College (ARCC). ARCC was close to home, only 3 miles away so it was easy to work days, come home and eat, then go off to school for evening classes and the occasional Saturday class. I also received a nice stipend from the government based upon my ½ time class load. All my classwork with Chapman College and Chaminade College transferred, so I was nearly a year ahead of the game.

I was able to take some fun classes at Anoka-Ramsey.  I needed another science course for my degree requirements and was able to take Meteorology at Anoka-Ramsey.  What could be better than taking Marine Biology and Oceanography in Hawaii, and Meteorology in Minnesota? It was cool. Freshman English Comp was a drain on my time and resources, but I got through it. I understand it was much more personalized at a Community College than it might be at many larger universities, something I am grateful for or I may never have gotten through.

Apple II – Photo by Rama & Musée Bolo [CeCILL or CC BY-SA 2.0 fr ], via Wikimedia Commons

Computers were relatively new in 1981-2; I had a Psychology professor that utilized the new technology to its greatest.  He gave his students all the questions and all the answers for his mid-term and the final. When we took the actual tests, the questions were a subset of what he gave us and the answers were jumbled up. The professor thought Psych 101 was all about learning and knowing the terms and his method helped assure that students knew them. It seemed strange at the time but makes a lot of sense now.

I wasn’t involved in any sports or extra-curricular activities at ARCC; I was too busy working and providing for my wife and my step-daughter. I was also involved with my community and a commissioner on the city’s Economic Development Commission. I had aspirations to run for City Council and took three courses in real estate at ARCC so I’d know more about the processes of Zoning, Planning, and Real Estate transactions.

Anoka-Ramsey Community College - 2017 Aspen Prize Top 10 Finalist
2017 Aspen Prize Top 10 Finalist

Since I attended, Anoka Ramsey has added another campus in Cambridge, Minnesota. It is a well-known and well-respected community college in the area. It was a top 10 finalist for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s preeminent recognition of high achievement and performance in America’s community colleges.

I went Anoka-Ramsey (half-time) for nearly two years and received an Associate of Arts from them in December 1982.

Surname Study – Vinson – Halifax County, NC – Part 3

Surname Saturday
Howell/Vinson
By Don Taylor

During Part 2 of this study, I examined the Vinson family of Halifax County, North Carolina during the 1860 Census. I determined 3 Vinson lines were of interest.

  1. Unknown and Elizabeth Vinson (b. 1784-1785)
  2. Robert (b. 1824-1830) and Martha Vinson
  3. Littleberry (b. 1815-1816) and Fanny Vinson

1850 Census

A search for Vinson surname during the 1850 Census located two families with the surname.

Littleberry Vinson

Littleberry Vinson and family consisted of Littleberry, Fanny, and two children.

  • Littleberry Vinson, age 32
  • Fanny Vinson, age 29
    • Laura Vinson, age 5
    • Robert Vinson, age 2

This family coincides with my known Littleberry Vinson (b. 1815-1816) and his two children Laura and Robert.  However, Fanny Vinson, age 29 (b. 1820-1821) does not coincide with Elizabeth [Vinson] (b. 1815-1816]. I attribute this to Littleberry Marrying twice. Once to Fanny with whom he had two children, Laura and Robert, and again to Elizabeth. Because the gap between Robert and Littleberry (Jr.) is ten years, I suspect that Fanny is the mother of the first two children and Elizabeth is the mother of the second two children.

Robert Vinson

The other Vinson family in Halifax County during the 1850 Census is Robert and Martha Vinson. Robert is 20 and Martha is 21. This is the same Robert and Martha as identified previously before they had any children.  Robert’s being 20 suggests a birth in 1829-1930. As such, I’ll adjust his birth entry as between 1824 and 1830.

John Vincent

The John Vincent family is consistent with my findings for the John Vinson family. It describes that:

  • John is 33       (b. 1816-1817) – Consistent
  • Leonora is 32 (b. 1817-1818) – 8 years younger.
    • Virginia 5       (b. 1844-1845) – 1 year younger.
    • Elizabeth 3     (b. 1846-1847) – Consistent
    • Susan 1           (b. 1848-1849) – 1 year older.

The 7-year gap between John’s wife between the 1850 Census where Lenora is 32 and the 1860 Census where Ellenor is 35 suggests they are two different individuals. If that is the case, the four-year gap between Susan and James would sensibly be the place where one wife died, and he remarried. Also, during the 1850 Census, living with John and Leonora is 30-year-old Eliza Beasley. I have previously accepted that Eliza is Leonora’s sister.

Elizabeth Vinson

Elizabeth shows in the 1850 Census as Elizabeth Vincent, age 64. Living with her is Nancy Vincent, age 25. They are living next door to John.  I believe Nancy to be John’s sister.

Other Vincents

The 1850 Census also enumerated six other Vincents. One is family consisting of Michael, Rebecca, and Walter. They were born in Northampton County, North Carolina and appear to be transitory to Halifax County.  Likewise, James and John Vincent were born in Northampton County and seem to be briefly in Halifax County. Finally, a Phil Vincent is living in a home with several people surnamed Snow. The entry for Phil does not give a birth location. I guess that he is also transitory in Halifax County.

Conclusion

The 1850 Census provided information regarding a first wife for John Vinson and a first wife for Littleberry Vinson. It also suggests Elizabeth had another child, Nancy. The 1850 Census is the earliest census which provides the names of all household members. The 1840 Census only provides the name of the head of the household and numbers of household members in various age groups.

Vinson Families in Halifax County 1850 thru 1880.

  • Elizabeth Vinson       (b. 1784-1785)
  • John Vinson                (b. 1816-1817)
  • + Lenora [Vinson]   (b. 1817-1818)
    • Virginia Vinson          (b. 1844-1846)
    • Elizabeth Vinson       (b. 1846-1847)
    • Susan Vinson             (b. 1847-1849)
  • + Ellenor [Vinson]    (b. 1824-1825)
    • James W. Vinson        (b. 1851-1852)
    • Benjamin I. Vinson    (b. 1854-1855)
    • Joseph Burkhead Vinson       (b. 1857-1858)
    • Ellen B. Vinson           (B. 1860-1861)
  • Nancy Vinson                       (b. 1824-1825)

 

  •  Robert Vinson (b. 1824-1830)
  • + Martha, [Vinson] (b. 1828-1829)
    • John H. Vinson           (b. 1850-1851)
    • Thomas L Vinson       (b. 1853-1854)
    • Albert L. Vinson         (b. 1855-1856)
    • Turner Vinson           (b. 1858-1859)
    • Laura E “Lizzie” Vinson (b. 1865-1866)

 

  • Littleberry Vinson      (b. 1815-1816)
  • + Fannie [Vinson]     (b. 1820-1821)
    • Laura Vinson (b. 1845-1846)
    • J. Robert Vinson (b. 1847-1848)
    • + L. N. Vinson (b. 1853-1854)
      • C.R. Vinson, (b. 1871-1872)
      • Fannie Vinson, (b. 1872-1873)
      • B. H. Vinson, (b. 1873-1874)
      • Emmett Vinson, (b. 1876-1877)
  • + Elizabeth [Vinson]   (b. 1815-1816)
    • Littleberry Vinson (b. 1857-1858)
    • William Vinson (b. 1859)