Saturday, February 8, 2014

Vampire of Chicago

I know you were thinking this will be a story about Vampires lurking about the shadows of the dark and back streets of Chicago.  So, sorry but this story  about a man labeled a Vamp in 1914-19 Chicago newsprint.

What is a Vamp or Vampire in circa 1914 Chicago.  A vamp is an attractive, dangerously flirtatious woman. A vamp in an old movie might wear tight clothes and bright red lipstick. The noun vamp is somewhat old fashioned, implying a woman who uses her charisma and beauty to charm men into doing what she wants them to do. You can also use it as a verb, meaning to tease or flirt, especially in a showy and manipulative way. The word came into use in the early 1900's, from vampire. Some experts connect the first use of vamp with the role of "The Vampire" in the 1915 movie "A Fool There Was."

Our main character is Gilbert Leroy Tutt, son of John and Luella Murphy Tutt.  Gilbert (Bert) grew up in Chicago Illinois and this is where most of this short story takes place.  According to found documents, Bert was born in either Illinois, Kansas or Missouri about 1886.  However, his brother Leslie claims Kansas City MO as his place of birth, so it is reasonable that Bert too was born in the same city.  By the 1900 census, Bert, his mother and brother are living in 24th Ward of Chicago, which bumps up against Lake Michigan west shore line.  Luella is recorded as married, but John was not enumerated with the family. Round about 1907, Bert marries a Nellie Murphy.  This is the first marriage that I have been able to find and it would fit with Bert's age of being 21.  From this marriage Virginia Tutt was born.  Virginia was married to my father in the late 1940's and thus is the initial interest in this family.  To read more about Virginia click here.

Now, to the few articles that have been found, which will explain events much better than I can.  The images can be enlarged for better reading.

In Chicago Daily Tribune July 10 1914 a filing for divorce.



In the Cincinnati Post July 1914 was found a small little announcement of Divorce.  One has to wonder why Cincinnati?


In Chicago Daily Tribune July 1919 was found a lengthy description of Bert's marriages and now trouble with the law.

Click image to enlargen


The enmesh as it was described in the article was Nellie Murphy in 1907 and she divorce Bert in 1914.  However, the article claims the divorce happened in 1912.  Then, in 1913 Bert is marrying again to Grace Allen, which lasted until 1917, which abandonment was claim for reason.  Who abandoned who?  Then July 4th, 1919, the time of this publication, a Ms Julie Peterson is now claiming to be Bert's wife of six days.   I have been informed that at least five marriages Bert would pass through, but I know of only four.

In the Pittsburgh Press July 1919 another article surfaces "Male Vampire of Chicago"

Click image to enlargen

The above article includes more children born to Bert.  The 4528 Sheridan road address can be confirmed on the WW I Registration card for Bert.  This card was dated 1918.


Of the woman that came and left Bert's life they are;  Nellie Murphy (1907-1914), Grace Allen (1913-1917, Julia Peterson (1919-unk), Wada Bowers (1929-1937-38).

I will end the post for now, but will provide updates as new information becomes available.

Please feel free to comment any new information or corrections.  You can also reach me through Facebook, Google and my email address; billrey at hotmail dot com.

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Monday, February 3, 2014

GoldenrRod CrabSpider

Click for larger image
Goldenrod Crab misumena vatia spider an practitioner of camouflage and stealth.  The m. vatia is a species of crab spider with holarctic distribution. 

In North America, where it is the largest and best-known flower spider, it is called the goldenrod crab spider or flower (crab) spider, because it is commonly found hunting in goldenrod in the autumn just prior to the fall hatch.  It is the young spider that will over winter.

Over the years wandering nature with camera in hand, I have come across a few of these spiders having dinner, each time a bee was being consumed.  Other insects are on the menu too; flies, butterflies, grasshoppers and such.


the end of a bee
Click for larger image
This is plant is part of my Facebook series Learn Something Country . #learnsomethingcounty


Other sites you might be interested in;








Reference:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misumena_vatia

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Yellow Goats Beard

Yellow Goat's Beard! Also called Western Salsify. This flower resembles a very large Dandelion when it goes to seed.

Native to western Asia and to Europe. Introduced and naturalized in North America.  Found often along roadside, disturbed sites and most often in full sun.

I've seen this flower throughout Minnesota and right here in my backyard.  According to the USDA site the Yellow Goat's Beard can be found in most to states, minus a few, and the Canadian Providences.

The blooming season is generally April to July and occasionally continues until September.

This is plant is part of my Facebook series Learn Something Country .  #learnsomethingcounty

If interested, one purchase an 8 x 10 at my photo store.
Click here!













Reference:
http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Plants/yellow_goats_beard.html
http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=TRDU
What's doin' the Blooming

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Royal Palm Turkey

RPT
Royal Palm Turkey
Last spring we (I) decided to add some turkeys to the flock here at Prairie Home Farm.  Looking around the poultry order hatcheries, they all wanted a person to order a minimum of 15-25 turkey chicks.  I didn't want that many chicks all at once without knowing how they were going to fit in.  So, I started searching the poultry social sites like BackYard Chickens and found a kind person in Pennsylvania that was OK with shipping only 6 turkey chicks.  We finalized the deal and boom we had turkey chicks on the farm.  In the bringing the chicks were slow growing, but by the end of summer they were near full size thanks to the abundance of grasshoppers and crickets. Thus far, the turkeys have caused one additional chores or issues.  Even on the coldest of days and nights, yes these birds having access to the inside of the coop, insist of roosting outside.  We just went through the 2014 Polar Vortex where our temperatures were pushed to -30° with windchill down in the -50° range and the turkeys had no trouble managing the cold.  One of the females does frequent the coop more that the others.  The young males (Jake) are now puffing up and strutting!  The young females (Jenny) are paying no noticeable attention to the activity.  They are more focused on eating and sleeping.  The Jakes are so funny, not only do they strut for the Jennys, they strut for anything and anyone watching.   The goats get a lot of attention as they don't shy away.

Over at the Turkey Jake a Facebook page, one can follow the adventures of TurkeyJake, and browse the images of the other turkeys and flock mates.
TurkeyJake

So, what is a Royal Palm turkey?

American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.  The Royal Palm is a strikingly attractive and small-sized turkey variety. The first birds in America to have the Palm color pattern appeared in a mixed flock of Black, Bronze, Narragansett, and Wild turkeys on the farm of Enoch Carson of Lake Worth, Florida in the 1920s. Further selection has been made since then to stabilize the consistency of color and other characteristics. As an anonymous breeder wrote to Feathered World magazine in 1931, “Turkeys of this type of coloration do crop up by chance where different color varieties are crossed . . . but it takes years to perfect their markings.” The Royal Palm was recognized by the American Poultry Association in 1971. It is similar to a European variety called the Pied, Crollwitz, or Black-laced White, which has been known since the 1700s.

Royal Palm turkeys are white with a sharply contrasting, metallic black edging on the feathers. The saddle is black which provides a sharp contrast against the white base color of body plumage. The tail is pure white, with each feather having a band of black and an edge of white. The coverts are white with a band of black, and the wings are white with a narrow edge of black across each feather. The breast is white with the exposed portion of each feather ending in a band of black to form a contrast of black and white similar to the scales of a fish. The turkeys have red to bluish white heads, a light horn beak, light brown eyes, red to bluish white throat and wattles, and deep pink shanks and toes. The beard is black.

Royal Palms are active, thrifty turkeys, excellent foragers, and good flyers. Standard weights are 16 pounds for young toms and 10 pounds for young hens. The Royal Palm has not been purposefully selected for either growth rate or muscling, being used primarily as an exhibition variety.

The Royal Palm lacks the commercial potential of the other varieties, but it has a role to play on small farms, for home production of meat or where its ability to control insect pests would be of value.

Wikipedia offers this definition; The Royal Palm is a breed of domestic turkey. One of the few turkeys not primarily selected for meat production, the Royal Palm is best known as an ornamental bird with a unique appearance, largely white with bands of metallic black. Primarily kept as an exhibition bird, or on small farms, it lacks the size for large scale commercial use. Toms usually weigh 16 to 22 lbs and the hens 10 to 12 lbs.

A relative newcomer among turkey breeds, the bird first appeared in the 1920s on a farm in Lake Worth, Florida, apparently as a cross between Black, Bronze, Narragansett, and native turkeys.[1] Years of selective breeding followed to stabilize the coloring, and the Royal Palm was finally accepted by the American Poultry Association's Standard of Perfection in 1971. In Europe, a turkey with similar coloration is sometimes called the Cröllwitzer, Pied, or Black-laced White.[2]

Along with the decline of most heritage turkey breeds after the adoption of the Broad Breasted White by the turkey industry, Royal Palms are a very endangered breed today. The breed is classified as being on "watch" status with the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. It is also included in Slow Food USA's Ark of Taste, a catalog of heritage foods in danger of extinction.

The toms are noted for being non-aggressive, and the hens are particularly good mothers.



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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Looking for Virginia Tutt

Virginia Tutt, who is she and where did she come from and go?  Virginia, I learned quite some time ago, was my fathers first wife from 1943 to 1952.  As mentioned, Virginia was once part of the family and oral family history mentions there might be children.  So, I've been interested in finding out if I have siblings out there unknown to me or not.  In researching Virginia, I've found many facets of her life a mystery because of  incomplete records, no records or misinformation on the record.  These issues aren't unique to Virginia's research at all.  Its actually quite common to have incomplete data recorded on the many records that shadow our lives.

Tracing Virginia through genealogy records has been a bit of a challenge as I didn't have enough information about her in the first place and very little to make any concrete connections with records found, so nothing much beyond the information I had at hand.  I started the search with what I had; a marriage and divorce documents, of neither had a lot of information, but it was a start.

Virginia married William Reynolds in 1943 Lincoln Nebraska.  The record offered some hints such as; Virginia's date of birth, which is about 1914. This proves later not to be the case.  Also, this was Virginia second married.  Again not the case.  The record indicates that Virginia's parent were Berl Tutt and Nellie Murphy of Illinois.  The record also gave up the name of Virginia's previous marriage surname of Rhodes.

You would think the above was enough information to continue researching Virginia, but it proved a bit difficult as the data was not accurate and left many questions during the search.  For example Virginia's fathers name was Bert not Berl.  Actually, his name was Gilbert.  So, searching for a Berl Tutt and variation was not profitable.  Lots of records, but nothing making a solid connection for me.  If you have read any of my other genealogy post, I have a rule of three.  I need to have at least three solid connections to a record before I will accept it.  Some will say that's a bit picky and others will say not picky enough.  For me, it has worked out as I have made no connections that later proved wrong and caused me to back up.

The next record to investigate was the divorce document between Virginia and my father in 1952.  Nothing there to help this research.  Interestingly however, it was my mother that filled the petition of divorce for my father in Washington state of which she lived.  No indication of Virginia's where abouts was noted on this document.  The research at this point peters out, though I have revisited it a few times over the years, nothing more have I found to progress the search for Virginia.

Yesterday, I have received a hint that moved the research along.   The hint was Virginia's middle name and believe it or not that clue was enough open a few doors and solidify some records.

First, I discovered Virginia's first marriage, then a 1910 census for Chicago Illinois, then another marriage and a 1940 census for California.  The 1910 census records Virginia with her parents in Chicago Illinois at the age of one. The census also provides a name correction for Berl Tutt to Gilbert Tutt.  Gilbert is a clerk in the Dry Goods industry.  Virginia is recorded as being born in Wyoming.  Thus far, the family was in Illinois prior to Virginia's birth and after.  So, for me Wyoming as a birth place is a question mark!  I wonder if Nellie gave birth during a vacation trip to Wyoming or some other place west.

The first marriage for Virginia was to a Herbert Rhode in Jun 1931 Washington D.C.  Then, in November 1937 she remarries to a James Howard in LA California.  I must say, Virginia sure did a lot of traveling in her time.  In the 1940 census, Virginia is still listing herself born in Wyoming, she is living with her husband James, mother Nellie Tutt and a daughter; Gloria.  Gloria is eight years old and was born in Washington D.C.  Doing the math, Gloria is a product of Virginia's first marriage to Herbert.

These discoveries opened the door to yet more hints and more possibilities, but nothing more on Virginia after the 1952 divorce.  So, I still don't know if any children were produced during the years marriage to my father or to where Virginia got off too!

Where did the hint of Virginia's middle name come from in the first place.  Well, yesterday, my older sister who is also doing genealogy research told me about a very recent contact by one of Virginia's half-sisters; Janet. I should mention that my sister had already made some progress in her research of Virginia that made possible the this contact from Janet.  Thanks Phyllis!

Fingers crossed more hints to come......

UPDATE:  More information has been found and some shared by an anonymous commentator.  So, a follow up blog will post soon about the Vampire of Chicago!





Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New Photo Website







Hello to all my friends and family!

I am happy to announce my first attempt at selling a few of my photos I've taking around the farm and state. Please visit and please share the link with others. Visit often as I will be posting more photos.

I would appreciate your visit and the sharing of the site with your friends.
You can find my site at, My Prairie Home Photography

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Fermented Green Tomato Pickles

Ingredients
Canning project today!  I'm pickling green tomatoes the old fashion pickling way; Fermentation.  It's a salt brine method of pickling!  No pressure cooking or hot water baths.
  Fermented foods and drinks are quite literally alive with flavor and nutrition.  Their flavors tend to be strong and pronounced. Think of stinky aged cheeses, tangy sauerkraut, rich earth and smooth sublimes wine..  Human have always appreciated the distinctive flavor resulting from the the transformative power of the microscopic bacteria and fungi.  One major benefit for fermentation is that it preserves food.  The fermentation organisms produce alcohol, lactic acid and acetic acid, all "bio preservation" that retain nutrients and prevents spoilage. -Wild Fermentation

Here is my ingredients;

1 cup Salt (sea salt or canning) *
Fermented Green tomato pickles
1 gallon of water.
Garlic
Onion
Dill
Peppercorns *
Green tomatoes
Cucamelons
Spinach
Purslane


Thoroughly mix the salt and water together dissolving the salt completely.  Do no use city water, it has chlorine, which will kill the good bacteria.

I'm using quart jars instead a crock and stone. Wash jars and vegetables.

Chop up the onion and garlic into bit size pieces.
Cut the stem end off the tomatoes to remove the stem and to provide access for the brine.

Place Dill, Garlic, Onion and Peppercorns in the bottom of the jar.  Pack the remain items in as tight as you can.  Leave enough space for brine and a headspace.   If items are floating, pack in spinach to create a cap over the floating vegetables. This will be a good enough to be a barrier to keep the item submerged.

Pour in the brine leaving a bit of a headspace and then screw on the lid.  Don't screw on the lid so tight that developing pressure can't escape.  Let the jars stand for a few days to a week in a warm room.  Taste tests after a few days will give you an idea on their progress.  Once to your liking what you are tasting, into the refrigerator or cold roots cellar to stop the fermenting action and storage.  They should last a year, if not eaten first, for about a year.

* Not grown at Prairie Home Farm

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Be the Bee

Male flower
This past spring my pine trees and many others around the area were covered in hard working honeybees that belong to commercial keepers.  However, since about mid July or so I've notice very little honeybee activity on any flower around my property, well other than the Sweet Clover.  In the garden only a few bumble bees working the tomato plants, but no bees in my pumpkin patch.  And as we all know, no pollinators, no pumpkin or other fruits and vegetables for the that matter!
Female flower

By August 1st, I should have pumpkin of many sizes growing on the vine, but not a one.  So, I started pollinating the pumpkins myself and with the promise of a warm September I should get a few pumpkins. Here is how to be the Bee!

Make sure you have both a female and male flowers freshly opened.  Best time to check is early morning, as they close by mid morning! The pumpkin will always produce more male than female flowers.  Sounds familiar! Now, cut or pinch off one of the male flowers at the stem from a different vine if possible.  Peel off the yellow pedals and stuff them into your mouth for breakfast.  You are now left with the stem and stamen.
Ready to go!
Stamen

Relocate the female flower and gentle rub the stamen around the stigma of the female flower.  Again, sounding familiar!  That's all there is too it! Checking back in a day or two, one should see the developing pumpkin.

Spent
I leave the Stamen next to the female flower to mark the deed has been done!


Unopened female flower












You can always tell days prior to the flower opening up which is a female flower and which is not.  A female flower will have a bulge between the flower blossom and the stem. The female flower will also be closer to the vine.  Where as the male flowers will stand tall above the vine.   Once pollination has taken place, the bulge is the new pumpkin.  If pollination doesn't take place, the bulge will yellow and fall off the vine.  Honeybees and Bumble bees are great pollinators for your pumpkins and squashes.



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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cucamelon in a Minnesota Garden

This years new plant to try was the Cucamelon. This melon was found in Mexico and Central America and was an annual crop long before Europe found this part of the world. The Cucamelon has many names it is known by; Mouse Melon, Mexican sour gherkin to name a few.

My garden is in zone 3a NW Minnesota, so I need to make sure that all changes of a freeze was gone, which in Minnesota does exist really. So, I waited for the first of June to start this melon from the south. It was very slow to germinate, so slow I almost gave up on it. We have a warm summer but melon was slow to climb up and start producing. Up to this point I have picked a few here and there to try fresh, a few more to add to a spinach, purslane and red lettuce salad, but never enough to more than that. They taste, to me, like a mild cucumber, but no noticeable hit of seed or bitter rind.


Today, 1 Aug 13, I was able to gather enough to try pickling them. I am using a bottle half filled with Dill
pickling juice and spices. I know that's not traditional, but why waste the Dill vinegar water? So, after
washing the melons and picking off the spent blossom into the picking juice then went. I will try one or two of the melons in a week or so and report back. I must say, if the pickled melons aren't fantastic, I will not grow this plant again, its to slow and cucumbers taste better fresh.


In the meantime while you are waiting for my above mentioned report, check this article from Mother Earth News.

Update: Aug 24, 2013, An update on the Cucamelons! A central America plant that looks like a miniature Watermelon, that taste like a cucumber with a hint of lime.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, this plant is slow to start and a slow grower up here in the NW of Minnesota. However, come the end of August, they are now growing and producing well. A few weeks back I pack a fair amount it to a pickle jar that was full of dill pickle juice. A taste yesterday was just OK! I have since, yesterday, packed them in a salt water brine to try the fermented method; www.myprairiehome.net/2013/08/fermented-green-tomato-pickles.html.

To this point I have enjoyed this plant more for its novelty than its production or flavor. I might not grow this plant again next year. I will wait for the final taste test for the fermented pickling. Stay turned and I report back in a few weeks on the final outcome.

Please consider following the blog.... more garden stuff to come!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

McLeese in the Heaney House

Recently, I found a Neil McLeese with a 1953 connection to Agnes McComb of 557 Chelmsford Massachusetts.  The connection was a U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938 form, which listed Agnes McComb as the point of contact.  The house on Chelmsford street was the home to William Heaney prior to his move to 60 Cosgrove street Massachusetts in the 1920.  Many of William's family, children and siblings, lived at this house one time or another. So, who is this Neil McLeese and how is he connected to the family, if at all? Well, I know he is some how connected for he shares a given surname of another before him and the previously mentioned connection to Agnes.  But, how is the question?  These questions opened up some more research and discovery into my family tree.
U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers
Click me

First, let's discover a little of  what is known about the Heaney and McLeese lines. The McLeese name comes from Ireland as many of my ancestors did and this is where I find that a McLeese has married into the Heaney family.  My great great grandfather John Heaney and Ellen McLeese started their marriage in 1845 Antrim County, Ireland prior to coming to the states in the 1870's. After finding out Ellen Heaney was a McLeese, which added a new name to the tree, I naturally became interested in finding out more.  Well, believe it or not, Ellen's father is a Neil McLeese, my 3x great grandfather, but I am sure the Neil I am seeking is not my great grandfather, for he didn't come to the states, as far as I know,  and if he did, he would be well over a 100 years of age in 1953. Not impossible, but I doubt it!

Obituary
Click Me
So, the question remains!  How does this Neil McLeese connect to the my tree.  The story starts to unravel with the discovery of two pieces of information; an obit for Neil in the Lowell Sun newspaper 1953, in which reveals a little about Neil's military time and his final resting place.  And a copy of Veteran's Compensation Application stating that Neil was name after his mother's father; Neil McLeese my 3x great grandfather.  Neil's mother is Sarah McLeese and father James Jinkins.

Veteran' Compensation
Application
Click Me
In June of this year I requested some information from the Edson Management Cemetery management office in Lowell Massachusetts about Neil.  Yesterday, Aug 13 2013, I  received information back from the Edson staff that relieved the connection to the family.

Update:  Neil's relationship trace to Agnes;  Neil's mother is Sarah McLeese who is sister to Ellen McLeese Heaney,  who is the mother to Annie Heaney McComb, who is the mother of Agnes.  So, they are cousins and both 1x cousins 2x removed to me.



Neil McLeese resting in McComb's family plot in Edson Cemetery, Lowell MA.

Neil McLeese served in the U. S Army K 5 Infantry from 1900 -1903.  This unit seen active duty in the Philippine, though Neil's records indicate no time served in any fire fight.


Rest in Peace

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