Nov 22

Thanksgiving (and a game of Tag)


Julie over at Gen Blog has challenged us to:

1. Write a blog post telling us about 2 things you are thankful for.
2. You can post the Thanksgiving Day banner above in your post if you like.
3. Tag one person to spread the love. Post a comment on their blog so they know they’ve been tagged.

So, this year I’m especially thankful that my oldest grandson is home and will be at Thanksgiving dinner with M-in-L. Thanksgiving will also be his 20th birthday. I did write a little more about him here and here.

M-in-L is my second person to be thankful for. As Papa and I approach our fortieth anniversary, she had been a loving, steady presence throughout. When our first daughter was born, she was there to help. I remember all our daughters running across the field to Grandmas to visit. Now, they often say, I sure hope I can (insert the activity here) when I’m Grandmas age.

On Thursday, Grandma will host a Thanksgiving dinner for a crew that is grateful for her love and care, and I’ll be proud to be among them.

I’ve chosen to tag Apple, and I hope she can participate, even though she’s recuperating.

Nov 22

Belle’s Box – 65

Read about this series of posts, regarding items in a box originally owned by Belle (Lamunion) Fellows Tinker here. The cast of characters is located here. And, there is an accounting of people about whom I have little information here.



Manton, Mich
July ?? ???

Mr. Charley Tinker
% Belle Fellows R.F.D. No 1


July 10-1914
Say Charley can you
Come over tomorrow
and splice the rope
for the hay loader
As it broke where you
fixed it before, If you
can’t come tomorrow
come Sunday as we
cant use it to unload

Ed Whitney

The 1920 census of Liberty Township, Wexford County, Michigan Enumeration district 218, sheet 2B, line 76-77, family 46 shows the family of Edgar Whitney and his son Wesley E. Whitney. They were farmers, and farmers would be cutting hay in July in Michigan. Looking at the a township map of Wexford County, Liberty Township is T24N R9W; at the northeastern corner of the county. It is adjacent to Cedar Creek Township, which contains Manton, and near Colfax in which Belle and Charley lived.

Charlie Tinker was described to me as a kind of jack of all trades by F-in-L. Charlie built saw mills, among other things. I guess he spliced ropes, too.

If you are interested in detailed (current) maps of Michigan, this site is a good resource.

Nov 21


When I was a kid, company was special, “COMPANY is coming, clean your room”.  We cleaned everything twice, better than usual.  It made company seem like inspectors.  We have company right now, GS1 is home.  I’m not sure he’s company, some of his items reside here when he doesn’t.  He’ll be here until December 17th, and then he’s headed for Japan, his orders are for this destroyer.

I didn’t clean before he came, any more than usual.  But I was cleaning today and the funniest thing happened. I might worry whether he was prepared for responsibility, but not now.  He has a car to sell, so he posted it on a bunch of websites.  Today, he was on his phone, and he said, “You can run the vacuum if you want, I’m just listening to the guy for fun, he wants to see my car for a fee, like $500.”  I didn’t run the vac, but I dusted.  He spent 10 minutes listening to the guy and answering questions.  Then he said, “I just want to get your opinion, I was thinking of doing a few upgrades to my car.  I wonder if it will increase the price I could get for it?”  “Ya, I was thinking of taking out the trunk and putting in a back porch.”  I started laughing.  Loud.  “You know, a porch, with a screen door and stuff”.  Then GS1 breaks into a big smile, and says, “He hung up.”  I disolved in laughter.  I think he’ll be OK.

Nov 21

Belle’s Box – 64

Read about this series of posts, regarding items in a box originally owned by Belle (Lamunion) Fellows Tinker here. The cast of characters is located here. And, there is an accounting of people about whom I have little information here.



Post mark illegible, possibly 1921, Mich.
Mrs Bell
RFD Mich


Grant April 6 1921
Dear Bell, we are at
Emmas got here about
12 o’clock last night
drove about 60
miles left Edds
a 7 am have had
no trouble so far
expect to get home
Wed night unless
??? and ???


Well. Hattie and company took a car trip in April, 1921. They went to Edd’s. On April 5 they left Edd’s at seven in the morning, and drove 60 miles to Emma’s in Grant, Michigan. That means it took them seventeen (17!!!) hours to go 60 miles, and they had no trouble. NO TROUBLE. My handy calculator tells me that they went 3.5294 miles an hour, assuming they never stopped. I’m pretty sure they stopped to eat, use an outhouse and other necessities as they traveled, so they were probably speeding around a little faster than 5 mph.

I don’t know where home is, but in 1921 the sixth was a Wednesday. So, I guess if they were expecting to be home on Wednesday, it would the Wednesday, April 13, 1921.

This one card alone shows why studying and compiling genealogy needs to be combined with information regarding the times in which your ancestors lived. I know Michigan roads aren’t much to brag about now, but imagine rural roads between Wexford and Newaygo Counties in 1921. I’m going to need some (old) maps, some more information to understand road conditions of the time. April is early, and I remember Papa’s father saying that in rural Wexford County the roads weren’t cleared in the winter. I wonder how much mud there was on the “State Road” (US-31) which followed the railroad line north through Newaygo County?

I found one resource here, It looks like in 1921 driving from Grant to White Cloud gave two options to continue, east  to Big Rapids and continuing, or north to Baldwin, then continuing here and there.  This 1921 map gives new meaning to a common saying around our house, “you can’t get there from here”. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

Nov 20

Not Grass

We went to the Ark last night to see a bluegrass, newgrass, acoustic, oh heck I don’t know what they were. They had a fiddle, a 10 string thing that looked like a baritone uke, an electric upright bass, a banjo and a guitar. Everything was plugged in. Papa said, “The only thing missing was the drum.”

So the band played some music on a stage that is in an acoustically good room, where you hardly need mics. They played it a high volume through mics with plugged in instruments. Each song seemed to go on and on, with no end or beginning. Each time I’d get ready to get up, they would play something that gave me hope. Well, twice they played something that gave me hope, but even the songs that were comfortable didn’t sound right. There was no rhythm, no drive, no reliable beat, it simply didn’t fit my definition of bluegrass. I like and listen to music other than bluegrass, but it is mostly acoustic, or old time, or old country. What we heard was none of those, either.

There is an audience for this music, they were there. The hooted, hollered and yelled. They sang along. And in that audience were Papa and I and a friend of ours who does sound for a number of bluegrass festivals. We are fans of bluegrass, we like the drive, the unplugged instruments, the beat, the harmonies. We didn’t hear any of that. We didn’t even hear the couple of songs from the group that are featured on satellite radio. What we did hear made the newest of the new Cherryholmes music seem “grassy”. Our friend was uncomfortable, and left before we did, saying, “I’ve got a long drive.”

It’s been a long time since we’ve walked out on a show, but we did this one. I finally went to the restroom, put on my coat and met Papa in the hall. There were a few others leaving as we did. I hope those that were there watching Cadillac Sky at the Ark enjoyed it, and heard what they expected. I just wish that this type of music wouldn’t be called bluegrass, since most of the people who like it wouldn’t care for the music, styles and performers normally heard at bluegrass festivals and shows.

Nov 20

Belle’s Box – 63

Read about this series of posts, regarding items in a box originally owned by Belle (Lamunion) Fellows Tinker here. The cast of characters is located here. And, there is an accounting of people about whom I have little information here.

Christmas Greeting
All that’s bright and beautiful,
Happy, wholesome, too,
I’m hoping very earnestly
This Christmas offers you.


Dec 21 7 p.m. city and state illegible
Mr & Mrs Char. Tinker,
Wexford Co., Mich


Dear Aunt,
We are all quite
well Etta is working at Newaygo
William is here with Ina and
myself. We are living in
just four rooms this
winter. Hope you are all
well and enjoy your
Christmas Remember
us to all We wish
you all a Merry Xmas
and Bright Happy New Year

(Written on the left side)
Loving by Eliza and Ina Murray

Eliza, Ina and William Murray were children of Mary Ann Lamunion and her husband, John H. Murray. They were Belle’s nieces and nephew. This collection has many cards from the Murray sisters.

Nov 19

Wilmington Part Two

Continuing my thoughts on the Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival, Wilmington, Ohio from yesterday. I was glad to see that younger players were in evidence at the festival. I think it is interesting that Joe Mullins (promoter/producer) has chosen to admit young people 16 and under free with a parent. I think this is genius. Folks, if children aren’t exposed to bluegrass they won’t know what it is. There is plenty of other music blaring from the MTV, radio, the internet, and other sources; but we may be the only advocate of bluegrass music a child knows. It’s our job to educate our children about their heritage. It takes only a minute to mention a little on the history of the music we enjoy, and some of it might stick.

In that same vein, I had almost forgotten what I like most about old time and folk music until Friday when I saw Leroy Troy. He took pains to explain the history of some songs, telling a little about the time it was written in, and relating it to the times. Although bluegrass artists often mention the writer of a song, there is precious little history passed along. That’s probably partly because most bluegrass fans also play the music, and may know and/or investigate the history themselves. It may also be because there is not much about the history and content of many bluegrass songs that the audience doesn’t already know. Anyway, I miss hearing about music as it is being played.

The first thing Saturday morning there was a set billed as, “Banjo Jam with Joe Mullins and Friends”. It was interesting to see that the banjo jam turned out to be a Joe and kids session. Children respond well to Joe, and he knows a little about them. I have noticed that about musical families, the generations relate to each other through a common interest, and it’s not always about getting the garbage out, or mowing the lawn. Fuel for thought.

Anyway, here are a few pictures from that part of the show:








It did my heart good to see Danny Paisley and Southern Grass hit the stage at Wilmington. I’m a big fan of Danny, and I sure wish I could see the band more often. As I told him, “I written your name on the survey six time, and I’m glad to see you here.” A lot of times, the audience needs to be won over to this group, but that wasn’t the case Saturday. Everyone seemed to love them from the first note played. They got a standing ovation and encore in the evening. A great moment for the band.




If you haven’t see Danny in a while, you’ll be amazed at the progress being made by Donnie Eldreth. That boy is really belting them out these days.


Other performers on Saturday were Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, The Grascals, Nothin Fancy and Leroy Troy. You’ve already see enough of Leroy, so here are the Radio Ramblers.




The Grascals did their usual high energy show. Jamie Johnson’s parents were in the audience, and wondered why Papa was taking their photo!



Nothin’ Fancy is an audience pleaser. They manage to change their show enough to keep it interesting, and it’s entertainment. A lot of folks commented about how much they appreciated a little fun. Chris Sexton (fiddle) was doing a little singing. In my opinion, he’s a good singer. Mitchell Davis (banjo) is a card, sometimes I wonder how he keeps a straight face through his antics.


And then there was Doyle, who arrived on the scene for one show on Saturday evening. There was no fiddle player in sight, he said that Alan Johnson will be rejoning the band soon. Since Josh Swift was on Dobro, there was no dead air. Doyle’s show was up to snuff, even great. The amazing thing about the man is how he can take a collection of musicians and singers and come up with exactly what he wants time after time. His sound and quality are mostly unaffected by band member changes. And he know how to select and arrange music.



So, that’s my short take on Southern Ohio this year. We had a blast. The music was wonderful, the crowd was good, the event was well organized and a good time was had by all. If you live within range, check out next spring’s show on Joe’s website, and be there! You can also see more of Papa’s pictures here.

Nov 19

Belle’s Box – 62

Read about this series of posts, regarding items in a box originally owned by Belle (Lamunion) Fellows Tinker here. The cast of characters is located here. And, there is an accounting of people about whom I have little information here.

This Christmas Card is the shape and size of a postcard, but does not have the customary postcard graphics (stamp here, address here) on the back. It must have been hand delivered, or in an envelope. Without the city it came from, was sent to, and the year, it isn’t as interesting as some of the other cards.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year.



Mr & Mrs A.C. Bailey

I did a few quick searches for “A. C. Bailey” at The best match was a stone mason who lived in Sanilac County in 1880. There were a lot of Bailey families in Newaygo and Wexford Counties after the turn of the century, but none with calling anyone A.C. or AC. I’m going to think of the Baileys as acquaintances who sent a Christmas card.

Nov 18

Belle’s Box – 61

Read about this series of posts, regarding items in a box originally owned by Belle (Lamunion) Fellows Tinker here. The cast of characters is located here. And, there is an accounting of people about whom I have little information here.

Don’t worry about the future,
The present is all thou hast;
The future will soon be present,
And the present will soon be past.


Postmark, illegible city, Mich, March 29, 1909, addressed to:
Mrs. Belle Fellows
Wexford Co


Hesperia March 20, 1909
Dear Sister and Family,
We are well and hope this
Will find you the same
Ground? ? McCruse was
buried last Tuesday he
Was a bed only 2 days he
He died of old age Mrs H??? ?
is ?? a bed the same
She is entirely helpless
Frank has ??? to
Grant yesterday he said
Em had been sick but was
better he said she had the
??? I havent been been over
there this winter but if
it is warm enough I will
go this week Write and
let me know how you
are getting along
your sister


This card made me sit up and take notice. It clearly says, “Dear Sister” and “your sister”, but the signature is “Laila”. Belle had two sisters who were living in 1909: Elizabeth L. Lamunion Bisard and Emily A. Lamunion Carter. In the Lamunion family “Laila” to me has always meant Laila Carter, a daughter of Em and Andrew Carter. Elizabeth probably wrote this card, since she mentioned “Frank”, her husband was Frank. Clues indicate that Elizabeth was sometimes known as Laila. Perhaps Laila Carter was named for her aunt.

Nov 18

Wilmington, Ohio Bluegrass

Blue might be the word in Wilmington, after last week’s news about DHL closing its operations there. I hope that event is averted, some way or another. We visited the Roberts Centre near Wilmington, Ohio last Friday and Saturday for another kind of blue, a fine bluegrass show presented by Joe Mullins.

A lot of bluegrass fans know Joe from his excellent singing and banjo work in the original Longview. Yes, that Joe. This is about the show, not Joe, but they are hard to separate. Joe produces the show, promotes it on his radio stations, sings on it with his band, acts as the MC and generally does whatever it takes to make the things work. Joe’s Band, The Radio Ramblers, performed jingles for many of his sponsors on the stage during his set. During one of the Radio Rambler’s sets Chuck Wait, of Chuck Wait Tire , asked Joe to throw some (Chuck Wait Tire) T-shirts and caps to the crowd. Joe had Chuck throw out the items, and the band played a jingle about Chuck’s business while he did so. Joe’s band also played jingles from other sponsors from the stage, and people actually applauded. I think the presence of the sponsors and the jingles drew the attention of the attendees into the bluegrass community in the area. It was reminiscent of the radio shows of old, with a commercial presence mingled with live performances. The presence of a music sales booth connected with Joe’s radio enterprise is more evidence of a coordinated effort in producing the show.

The exhibit and concession area featured several instrument dealers, an RV dealer, a jewelry dealer and a booth from Humana, a Medicare and health insurance provider, along with the hotel food concession. The food concession has expanded over time, and offered a pretty good variety of snack items, and a chicken dinner for those who wished to pay in advance. Among the other sponsors were a scrap metal dealer, a restaurant, and a recording studio. I know I missing some, but I’ve mentioned enough for you to see the synergy here that some other promoters may have missed. There was jamming in the hall, and several rooms set aside for that purpose.

So at more than one level, last weekend’s show was another reminder that it doesn’t hurt promoters to be involved, and interested in proceedings. Presenting the show is a big job, and it was well done. Joe often credits his staff and family for their assistance, and we know from personal experience how involved his family is. Tammy, Joe’s wife, helped us when there were problems with tickets and seat assignments at a previous show. She was calm, efficient, and always seems to be smiling. It can’t be that easy, folks, but she does it.

We we arrived Friday there was a fiddle workshop on stage with Joe as MC; BJ and Molly Cherryholmes presenting. In the audience were the members of Alternative Strings, a group from the Centerville (Ohio) School Orchestra. It was great to see teens explaining bluegrass playing to teens. I’m sure it was ten times more effective that having an adult do so. Alternative Strings was the first performing group of the day, and also joined Cherryholmes on stage later, presenting a song Molly has scored for some orchestral performances Cherryholmes will be making this year. Many of the kids from Alternative Strings were in the vendor area, trying out mandolins and guitars, jamming and having a big time for the balance of the day. Kudos to the instructors who are teaching a wider view of instrumental music in their orchestra programs!



Leroy Troy made four appearances during the festival. He took requests, and did everything people wanted to hear. He even did Grandfather’s Clock with borrowed picks. Let me say that again, BORROWED PICKS. Someone asked for the song during the kids show at the start of the day Saturday, and Leroy explained he didn’t have his picks, since he had planned to play GC during a later performance. Someone on the front row got up and supplied some, Leroy bent them a little and carried on without a pause. Picks are pretty personal, but it didn’t seem to slow him down.


Kent “Superman” Blanton played with Leroy, and did a great job.


In addition to Cherryholmes, Alternative Strings and Leroy Troy, the Primitive Quartet, Dailey & Vincent and the Lonesome River Band were part of the Friday show.

The Primitives:


The stage area was packed when Dailey & Vincent hit the stage for their first show.


I noticed the line at their CD table was more than an hour long. Pro is the word; Jamie and Darrin stood till everyone was gone, posing for pictures, signing, smiling and acknowledging every fan. All the artists were available, and the fans enjoyed time with them.

I enjoyed seeing the LRB; we somehow missed their show at Fanfest last month. The current group has jelled and the performance was great!


Of course, we don’t think it hurts that Detroiter Andy Ball is in the lineup.


To summarize, Joe Mullins, his family, his radio stations and his band, The Radio Ramblers, and his retail sales outlet have helped create a bluegrass community in the Wilmington, Ohio area. In addition to being a great show, the Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival is a vibrant part of that community. I’ll write about the Saturday show tomorrow; in the meantime, you can see more of Papa Pictures if you wish.

(And a disclaimer, we haven’t received any compensation from Joe Mullins, or any of his advertisers or enterprises.)

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