Tag: dustin

Historical Imaging 2



This follow-up post presents the historical imaging I’ve done focused on maps and location. Actually, I’d say that it’s most correct to say that this is imagery driven not by simply the “location”, but by the agenda of attempting to locate a thing; to impart a sense of how and where the thing in question is located–oriented–to the viewer.

To locate a thing so that it fits with the audience’s world.

Obviously this can’t always work.

It turns out (of course) that usually at least some sort of context is necessary. For images of a place (whether from a map, an aerial photograph or other rendering, crude diagram in the sand…whatever!), for it to mean a ding dang thing, your intended audience much of the time needs to have at least some basic geographical knowledge.

But that said, it’s a very interesting and multi-faceted challenge to try and make an image conveying a sense of place if you consider your audience consisting of people who don’t know…don’t really care. lol

When & Where… & when, again?

  1.  Basic “when & where” map for an individual or familyMD2MA-1
  2. Tighter focus on the “where” (central Massachusetts in this case; a father and son located)
  3. Placing the very specific in the macro
    1. Farmstead of 4x-great-grandad that served as homebase for 3 generationswashcozoom1
    2. City unfamiliar to coast-dwelling typesLOUISVILLE 1 copy2
    3. When the exact part of a foreign place is important (for some reason)Jura copy
    4. Using cool maps cooly. For this one, the only context necessary is that this is the east coast of Ireland, just south of Dublin and that north is to the right.
      Wicklow 3D2 copy
    5. Tighter focus–after you’ve given some context
      1. Tober Townland was directly referenced on the map above, so now  you can zoom in there to see detail. The inset maintains the tether to the broad knowledge base you’re attempting to access.TUBBER1 copy 2
      2. southwestern Wisconsin, a couple miles off the Mississippi River & 5 or 7 miles from Illinois, showcasing an original land grantee whose descendants carried on in the location; 4x-great-grandkids remain in 2017.T DUSTIN LAND copy
      3. Various specific spots within a larger, but still relatively small (and not commonly  nown) location, the Dordogne in southwestern France. In the upper right of this one is Jumilhac, the castle seen in the last post.
      4. one place, Haverhill, Massachusetts and vicinity…

        image2212 copy

        … variations on perspective

        HAVERHILL SALEM copy

      5.  One place in detail: Foley, Minnesota

        FOLEY copy

Foley sits nearly smack dab in the middle of the state, among the flat, flat fields 15 miles east-northeast of the mini urban hub of St. Cloud and the bend over which it presides of the still quite wide Mississippi River. The tiny hamlet FLC LHC FOLEY copyof Foley has given the world doctors, lawyers, Indy 500 participants, lumber, all-night jazz dances in barns once upon a time, and been home to retired farmers, aspiring capitalist fashionistas, former religious zealots & their kids, descendants of royalty and lots and lots of regular people who very well might’ve been born in other countries or been the kids of those who were.

Rockefeller had a gas station here (like 10s of thousands of of other places in these United States); women turned out nearly to a 100% here in 1924 the first occasion they GnG OGG FOLEY copywere permitted to help choose the President. Foley is a stand-in for whatever your little town is, or was. Our Town is the most performed play (or close to it) in America because 100s of millions of us came from our towns like this. “I didn’t, but my mom did”,–we’re all from it together.

These small towns, whose children and grandchildren have flocked and flown out to the gothams and metropolitanias  were in their way, factories of the ever-new, ever-renewing people, of us all–factories of Americans.

The sprawling and ever interconnected suburbs and ex-urbs where so many millions of us now reside and have for some time–they are built by the developers and they are inhabited by the dwellers on the model of the myriad iterations of “Small Town America” like Foley, Minnesota. It was in these places that generations of people learned and were taught how to be Americans. Despite the regional differences that might inculcate one attitude or another toward or about other people, the style of day-to-day interaction and pacing and level of attentiveness to the people around you, it’s all very similar in this small town substrate of our collective sense of ourselves and how and who we are.

It is from this America that in many critical ways we came. And it seems to me worth knowing in order to figure out into what America we are, might, or can decide to be going.


Conn-axe-tions Pt. 2


Despite his loyalty and earlier leadership acumen, ole Joseph-Antoine didn’t turn out to be that good a governor for New France. There was trouble that he walked into, and his choices and the circumstances didn’t mesh well. In short, English and French colonies both brushed up toward and around the Great Lakes, 1024px-Nouvelle-France_map-en.svgand in the great American forests they’d found great numbers of American animals with fur they were just dying to sell to Europeans. Well, the animals died, that’s for sure. Both European powers worked at getting as much fur as they could to make lots of money, and had with the Iroquois attacking another nation, the Illinois, who were French allies, attacking French settlers, and doing business with the English with their newly created Henry Hudson Company trading furs, which of course hurt the business the French were trying to cultivate. LaBarre’s Jesuit missionary advisors recommended to stay out of local politics (i.e., the war with the Illinois) and to not make pretense to war with the Iroquois unless he really could defeat them. (This echoed the King’s direct orders, actually.)

A little context:

number of colonists in New France, 1685:

number of colonists in *just* New York & New England, same time:

He set off down river and toward Lake Ontario on July 30, 1684 with a few hundred soldiers, knowing there were at least 2600 braves of the Iroquois Federation of nations on the other side. Did he actually mean to make Iroquois_5_Nation_Map_c1650[1]war, or just to intimidate? No one, of course, really knows the answer to that, but we do know what he said 34 days later, on Sep 5, at a conference in what’s now upstate New York to a contingent of Indians, that a goodly portion of his troops were incredibly ill. History has also preserved the Iroquois response, spoken by an Onondega leader on behalf of the Natives.

And we know that the treaty they signed allowed the Iroquois to continue everything they were doing. In the spring of 1685 a letter arrived from King Louis relieving Joseph-Antoine of his duty. Almost three years to the day after he arrived, he departed from America, Indian attacks and doing business with the English continuing. A year later the colonies of Massachusetts, Plymouth, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut united to become “New England”. Two years after that, in 1688, the disagreements between England and France erupted Map-NE+Coloniesinto a full-blown war. The Iroquois Confederation were allied with the English, so attacked French colonists and Indian allies. The Wabanaki Confederation were the French allies, duly attacking English colonists in what’s now Maine and New Hampshire…and occasionally Massachusetts.

Like one morning in March 1697. In the intervening years Hannah had birthed 8 more babies, 7 of whom had lived, giving them 10 kids. (My ancestor, their son Nathaniel, had been born six days after Louis XIV had written his dismissal letter to LaBarre in 1685.) On March 9 she gave birth to a 12th child. By this time their oldest had gotten married and lived nearby with her own husband and baby. The oldest kid at home was a teenage daughter, followed by another girl and a couple of sons in their teens, too, then the little ones.

As dawn broke on the morning of March 15, 1697 a group of Abanaki literally hired by the government of New Thomas_Dustin_EscapeFrance attacked the Dustin home. Thomas was able to round up most of the family and get to them to safety. Except for his wife, newborn baby girl and a neighbor lady who was helping take care of Hannah and the newborn. They were captured. As they were led out into the snow walking in to the woods, one of the Abanaki grabbed the 6-day-old and slammed it into a tree, killing it.

Having studied this event from a variety of sources over the years, and having my own thoughts on what did, didn’t, may have or could have actually happened regarding the attack and the subsequent forced march north into the New Hampshire wilderness and the escape some weeks later involving the acquisition of several human scalps by Hannah, her friend and another captive, it’s the detail about the baby that stands out, that grips, that wrenches the soul.

Now that could mean that it was a planted detail because who doesn’t think that’s a wretched act. It vilifies the perpetrator and in so doing vilifies all Indians, conveniently. But at the same time, if it is to be believed that Dustin_EscapeHannah, her friend and neighbor, also a woman, and a 14-year-old boy who’d been captive for a while, if we are to believe that they used their captor’s axes to kill all 12 of them, half of whom were themselves women and kids (one of whom actually got away showing massive wounds, thus lending credibility to this version of events) and then actually *went back* after getting away in order to scalp the dead bodies so as to prove what happened, again we’re talking about wretched acts, perhaps most deservedly in this case because the kid and these two ladies were not soldiers, had not killed people before. 16511detSuch intense action usually has a precipitant, and only after being a parent do I now believe that the baby-killing did actually occur, and that it perhaps singly led Hannah to the acts she committed to get up on outa there.

Former Governor LaBarre was long gone by then. He’d died in 1688. And the war he’d unintentionally helped start actually ended during the period Hannah was in captivity. They never met, but if LaBarre hadn’t tried to trick the Iroquois it could be that the disagreements between the English and the French and their associated allies among the Native Americans would have come to a different head at a slightly different time and place. As it was, though, 170 years after the attack, Hannah Dustin became the first woman honored in the Americas with a statue.  On her return she’d reported her story to the top legal mind in the colonies, Cotton Mather (who 5 years earlier had had to step in on the judges of Salem, Mass to set to rights the hysteria there over witchcraft). That and other legal depositions from the time are extant. The story was taken up by literary minds 100 and some years later. John Greenleaf Whittier and Nathaniel Hawthorne, that chronicler of late-early New England both created popular works on the topic and led to the memory being preserved such that in 1864 the statue went up.

286 years after Joseph-Antoine le Febvre de LaBarre left America my friend’s dad came back to America, with a pregnant wife who’d been born on the Mississippi River, near its confluence with the Ohio. It was a spot that until 1805 had been deep within what once were the bounds of New France. Their son was born in Colorado, also until Jefferson bought from Napoleon the territory known as “Louisiana” in 1805 a place that was once known as the western reaches of New France. And it was five years after that, and 280 years after Hannah Dustin was captured and escaped, that Hannah’s descendants — my mom and I —were living in Colorado, and on the day after xmas the two lines reconnected when our neighbor’s grandson knocked on our door, pre-arranged by my nanny, and said to me “I’m the boy who came to play.”

This post is dedicated to Guy-Bernard and his kids.


I got a sort of nifty birthday present, today.

It’s yet another cool thing I’ve learned thanks to the relatives I’ve been able to meet through 23andme, the gene-analysis service and website that examines one’s actual DNA and compares it to all the other members’ DNA.

Turns out I’m related to Mark Twain!

A little context: I mean, yeah, I’m descended from King Edward III, but so are 10s of millions of other people, too. And while that’s still its own kind of cool, Mark Twain… he’s one of the good guys! An American Good Guy, no less! So you can see the chart showing our relation, when you click on this thumbnail:

But first, this:

Since I was a little kid I’ve known that I share my birthday with that lanky red-haired hero of the American Revolution, that smartie-pants whose land deal trumps Trump’s and all others’, that independence declaring, happiness pursuing, Hemings-hiding, quotable quillsmith and third President, that sage of Monticello, Thomas Jefferson.

And I’ve always been cool with that. He’s an admirable — if monumentally hypocritical — sort. Sharing a birthday…I mean we all are aware of the famous people born the same day as we were. But I was not related to him…not until now. Well, related as in-laws, anyway. My kids, however, are related to him because my wife is.

Awwwww yeah!

That’s on a’count of my wife’s dad being from Kentucky, and his people being among the first wave of white folks to settle there, and which means they all had been in Virginia before that for generations. And one of them, last name of Nethery, came from a line going back to a lady named Mary Tinsley. Mary’s great-great-great grandfather was a fella by the name of William Randolph, whose sons planted the English vine, as they used to style it, here in America in a rather big way down there in Virginia, becoming one of the FIRST first families of Virginia. See, Mary’s father, Edward Tinsley, was 3rd cousins to a certain Jane Randolph. And Jane, well she marred a wealthy guy named Peter Jefferson. And on April 13, 1743 they had a little baby boy named Tom. So Tom (Jefferson), author of the Declaration of Independence, 3rd President of the USA, father of the Hemmings children, was 4th cousins with Mary Tinsley, wife of a certain Ambrose Rucker, mother of Mary Rucker and ancestor of my wife and of my kids. Ahh, Tom. We’re finally family! (I “lol” here since that connection is so remote and well, not related to ME, that it’s funny.)

Here are some other suchlike amusements in the form of some people I AM related to:

President Barak Obama and I are 11th cousins (this means we share a pair of 9th great-grandparents)
Former President George W. Bush and I are 10th cousins

Bill Clinton and I are 8th cousins, twice removed

Ronald Reagan and I were 15th cousins (phew!)

I’m also 10th cousins, once removed, with David Rockefeller
11th cousins twice removed with Princes William and Henry (through their mom Diana)
only 6th cousins, but four times removed, with J.P. Morgan.

And, to bring it — in its way — full circle back to my birthday and good ole Thomas Jefferson (by a circuitous modus of recirculation), I’m also descended from a guy whose nephew got the phatt Oxford education, becoming something of a legal genius and political philosopher and in fact codified a certain format, or vision, for a certain type of republic rooted in the social contract (consent of the governed), the intent of which was nothing short of enabling the consentingly governed the free “pursuit of life, liberty and property.”

Sound just a leeeetle bit familiar? Indeed, when Jefferson was drafting the Declaration of Independence he borrowed the sentiment, changing “property” to “happiness”, from the writer John Locke. John Locke, nephew of my ancestor, Thomas Locke.