Greetings, my online friends!
[awkward pause: what to talk about? I know! The good old standby, the weather!]
I have finally lost my patience with winter. It took a while, but now I’m getting cranky.
Back in November, as we headed into the season, I actually looked forward to the long months, with the woodstove fired up, raisin bread in the oven, and several historical research projects to occupy my time.
For one, I have just finished proofreading a book by Debra North. Sterling Women is about women in Cobalt in the early 1900s. This has been an incredible learning experience for me. I feel somewhat sheepish lounging by the fire, gorging on fresh-baked goodies, and struggling to fill my idle time when I consider the lives of these women. So what if I am housebound for a day or three? These gals had no choice but to haul wood and water, to bake bread, and tend to hearth and home. I am humbled.
Besides the revelations in the book, however, I learned a lot more about writing and editing. And research and genealogy. I’ve joined Ancestry and a couple of newspaper archive sites.
A second project started simply enough with an email from Terry Grace from the UK. The Cobalt Historical Society receives, on average, one query a week from people who want to know if we can help them with research. Nothing pleases me more than finding a nugget of information that helps a descendant fill in a branch on their family tree.
This request, however, has been meatier than most and has occupied both Terry and me for months. Together, we’ve uncovered the trail of Horatio Claude Barber, a Victorian-age stockbroker of “base guile and unrighteous shrewdness” as he travelled to new frontiers in Australia, British Columbia, and California, setting up swindles and running from the law. In 1904 he got himself into hot water with the United States Attorney General. We don’t know the precise outcome of that dust-up, but we do know that in 1906 he set up shop in Cobalt to sell shares in “wildcat” or fake mines.
There is much more to this guy’s story, and it needs to be told. And that’s exactly what I intend to do this coming June at our Speaker’s Symposium. So that’s exciting.
The main reason I’ve come back to the blogs, though, is that I want social media to be part of my next project.
Last November, we received a donation from Jim Detenbeck of the Cramahe Heritage Board: two large boxes of ephemera belonging to Albert Norton Morgan, a lawyer from New Liskeard in the early 1900s. The papers are mostly letters from his family—wife, siblings, father— as well as household and business documents spanning his school days, early lawyer days in Fergus, and his time in New Liskeard. He was always involved in some capacity with the military. He died in World War I when he was 38 and left behind his wife Beatrice and three children.
The papers are in marvellous shape, considering their age, and the fact they had been sitting in storage in a garage before they found their way to us. Some of the letters pertain to his dealings with Cobalt mines and businesses, but the bulk is related to New Liskeard and the work Morgan did there as a lawyer, Mason, board member, councilman, military leader, and of course, family man.
I want to curate the collection and to write about the experience. I’m not sure what the end result will be – perhaps a web page, perhaps a book – maybe both. Definitely a separate blog from TZAMB, though. Because, appearances matter, you know. Hence my new avatar. Must look presentable, right?
Time for another plunge into the blogging pool. I’m not sure what to expect. Do people still blog anymore? Has technology changed? Have bloggers changed? Have I changed?
I suppose I shall find out and I suppose that the answer is both yes and no.
Meanwhile, the forecast is for freezing rain overnight. I’ll be housebound on Friday. Answering your comments, I hope!
Categories: In Other News