Women’s Rights and Child Labor Laws

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Julia Frances ‘Fanny’ Baker Ames (1840-1931)

This is why studying my ancestors can be so interesting. Often I find connections between events in the distant past that enrich my understanding of events today. This time the women’s rights and child labor law connections are between my great-great-grandmother Fanny Baker Ames and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Yesterday I wrote up a bio of Fanny because she is being featured in an exhibit for the Massachusetts State Police Museum. Fanny lived in Boston in the 1880s, when she was in her 40s. While her husband Charles Gordon Ames busied himself as the minister of the Church of Disciples Unitarian Church, Fanny served as the president of the Boston Equal Suffrage Association, held offices in the Massachusetts and New England Woman Suffrage Association for Good Government, served two terms on the Boston School Committee, and was one of the first women on the original Board of Trustees for Simmons College.

Most relevant to this blog post, on May 9, 1891, Fanny was one of the first two women hired as officers for the Massachusetts State Police. The other woman, Mary Ellen Healy, lived in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Fanny and Mary Ellen worked as factory inspectors to help enforce the new child labor laws. Men officers were each paid $1,500 per year. The women were each paid $1,000 per year, though the men and the women did the same job. Fanny worked for the police until 1897. But Mary Ellen stayed on for 37 years.

Then this morning (February 20, 2018), on BBCNews Online, I read about Elizabeth Warren officially launching in Lawrence, Massachusetts her campaign for the 2020 Democratic race. “Ahh, Lawrence,” I thought, curiosity piqued because, of course, I remembered learning yesterday about Mary Ellen of Lawrence. I related to this news article with a completely different perspective than if I had not written Fanny’s bio yesterday.

“The Massachusetts senator told the crowd of several thousand in Saturday’s blustery cold about Everett Mill. …. Back in 1912 [when Mary Ellen was still an inspector there], the textile factory was the scene of a labor strike for better pay and working conditions that expanded to include 20,000 workers, mostly women, in the then-bustling industrial town.

The west side of Everett Mills as viewed from Essex Street.

Everett Mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts. (Photo placed on Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, by EMC)

“The movement that started in Lawrence, [Warren] explained, led to government-mandated minimum wage, union rights, weekends off, overtime pay and new safety laws across the US. The story of Lawrence is a story about how real change happens in America,” Ms. Warren said. “It’s a story about power  –  our power  –  when we fight together.”

I suspect Elizabeth Warren caused as many eyes to roll as I do when I talk about my ancestors, but wouldn’t Fanny have been happy to know that six of the ten Democratic candidates running so far for President in 2020 (400 years after Fanny’s ancestors Francis Cooke and Richard Warren stepped off the Mayflower) are women? Richard Warren may well be Elizabeth Warren’s ancestor, too. Six degrees!

Massachusetts militia entering Everett Mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1912. Photo copyrighted by the Lawrence History Center.

Photo from the Lawrence History Center Exhibit: “Bread and Roses Strike of 1912: Two Months in Lawrence, Massachusetts, that Changed Labor History”

Holiday Closet Sorting

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Hi there. A few months ago, I reorganized my blogs so that this blog, Rambling in Ramsey, is just about my travels in my campervan and other RV-related thoughts, while my other blog, Peach Plum Press (the name of my publishing company), is about my writing projects. Since nearly all of my writing projects have to do with genealogy, I am now posting genealogy-related subjects on Peach Plum Press. For those of you would like to follow along, here is the link to Peach Plum Press.

https://peachplumpress.wordpress.com/

Happy Holidays

Last Leg of the Henry Knox Trail

Hi. I hope everyone had a fun Thanksgiving. Lucky me, I got to be with all three of my grandsons and their families. Meanwhile, I was able to finish this video compilation of my trip in September 2018 through southern Massachusetts following the Henry Knox Trail (West Springfield to Cambridge). I also visited some amazing libraries. I sorta screwed up on my video labeling. This is Part 2 of following the trail but actually, Part 4 of my series on being in New England doing Henry Knox related things.

As I noted in the comments section on YouTube:

For a copy of my sing-along children’s history book about the trail, Henry’s Big Kaboom, go to the Fort Ticonderoga Museum Store at http://www.fortticonderoga.org and click the ‘shop’ tab. You can also order it on Amazon. You can view the animated video (same title – Henry’s Big Kaboom) on YouTube.

To view my video about following the first part of the Henry Knox Trail go to https://youtu.be/aD9fu4BeTzI.

For a written guide (pdf) to following the Henry Knox Trail, check out the Hudson River Valley Foundation website at http://www.hudsonrivervalley.org/themes/knoxtrail.html. They updated the guide a year ago.

That’s it for now. Keep on Rambling.

USA Swing Videos – Pasadena to Vermont to Maryland to Pasadena

Brochures for the National Parks I saw on my westward leg of my USA Swing

Traveling westward, I visited 5 National Parks, 3 National Historic Sites, 5 National Monuments, 1 National Recreation Site and 1 National Historical Park as well as county and state parks.

I’ve just posted on to YouTube my video’s of my August to September USA Swing. In the second video, I included a clip about how I found free or inexpensive campsites using an app called AllStays.

Here are the links. The video for the trip eastward takes about 12 minutes and the video for the trip home is 33 minutes. I love it when people leave comments on YouTube and subscribe to my channel.

I feel so lucky to have been able to see our spectacular county this way. Next time I take this trip, I will make it in October and November when it is cooler.

Back to California

 

A map of my 2018 swing around the USA.

Green dots indicate destinations that are part of the National Parks system. Red dots indicate cities I visited for family reasons.

It’s great to be back to the land of In-n-Out Burger, though I haven’t had one yet. From Pasadena to Pasadena, my Swing Around the USA took 38 days and 37 nights. If you count San Rafael to San Rafael, I will have been away from home 48 days and 47 nights. For the purposes of this blog, here are some statistics from the Pasadena to Pasadena loop:

The number of miles driven: 8733
The number of gallons of gas burned: 475
The cost of 475 gallons of gas: $1421
The cheapest gas was in Texas at 2.39/gallon.
The most expensive gas was in Blythe, California at 3.89/gallon
The average amount spent on campgrounds: $16/night
The number of animals I saw as roadkill: 3 beaver, 1 snake, 1 deer, and 6 armadillos —I got the impression that armadillos move slowly — plus countless opossums, raccoons, and squirrels.
I saw only 1 bear. He/she was alive.
The amount spent on propane: $6.95
The number of cans of iced Arizona Green Tea I drank: 15
The average amount spent on food per day: $16

My last set of tours included the ancient American native sites in Arizona. There are a lot of them. I only saw the National Monuments of Wupatki, Walnut Canyon, and Montezuma’s Castle.

American Indians in the Four Corners region

American Indians in the Four Corners region

The Wupatki lived north of today’s Flagstaff, elevation 7000 feet, surrounded by volcanos.

Here is a rendering of what archaeologists think the place looked like 900 years ago.

Their civilization was nearly wiped out when the Sunset Crater volcano erupted. The volcano is its own national monument (i.e. another stamp on my National Parks Passport).

The photo above is of some of the hills still covered in cinders.

Within the city limits of Flagstaff, I arrived at a narrow, deep gorge called Walnut Canyon, where from as far back as a thousand years ago people lived in caves.

My final stop was Montezuma’s Castle.

I remember seeing it when my parents took my two brothers and me on a road trip to Santa Fe in 1964. My family was allowed to walk around the ancient ruins, which have since been closed off to the public because they were being worn away. The park built a model of a cross section showing what the castle might have looked like.

Annie was allowed on the quarter-mile path to see the castle. Fortunately, the path was shaded with sequoia trees. It was 100 degrees out and I had more desert to drive through to get back to Pasadena. When my family drove to Santa Fe back in 1964, we followed Route 66. There are many remains of the old route along today’s Interstate 40. I wanted to spend my last night in Quartzsite, Arizona, which I had heard about. But I couldn’t reach it before dark. Instead, I watched my last desert sunrise from a Rest Stop.

My final drive through the desert the next morning was lovely.

The entomologists at the Smithsonian would envy Ramsey’s bug collection. There are bug splats from 28 states. Now I get the challenge of washing them off.

 

 

 

 

Indian Territory

Back to having fun. Near Santa Fe, New Mexico, I came to Pecos National Historic Site, where stands the foundations of a pueblo and a Spanish church built in 1690. Underneath those structures, and in surrounding excavations, archaeologists have unearthed evidence of people living in this key geographic area for over 9000 years — hence the site’s preservation by the National Parks and why Santa Fe grew up near by.

With my brain packed with the area’s history, I drove on to the charming Santa Fe itself. I’ve been there before, but it’s amazing how different the experience is driving to a place knowing its historical and geographical significance versus arriving by train or plane.

I walked around the plaza looking for a coffee shop (my jewelry box is already stuffed with silver jewelry, so shopping was of no interest) and settled for a cookies and cream ice cream cone. Annie was allowed in the shop. She’s great at meeting people for me. While slurping, I chatted with the couple sitting next to me. They were also from the San Francisco Bay Area.

There was still enough time to head south again to Albuquerque to see the Petroglyph National Monument. The Visitor Center is in the center of the park, but not within walking distance of the petroglyphs. Since it was still too hot to leave Annie in the car, I decided to check into the nearby High Desert RV Park and tour the old Route 66. I would return to the trails when it cooled. Then some dark clouds arrived and suddenly it was pouring rain out.

I realized I loved my dog more than I loved petroglyphs. I will return to see the petroglyphs when I’m dogless.

Next was a second badlands National Park known by the Spanish word El Malpais. The park is basically a huge sea of lava (3.5 million years old) surrounded by sandstone cliffs (150 million years old). I drove down one side then the other, which took about two hours.

Gorgeous.

Then I backtracked ten miles to see the Indian Pueblo called Sky City. As its name implies, it sits on top of a bluff. The drive up to the pueblo was worth the trip, but the museum was worthless. To see the actual pueblo, I needed to pay a large fee and leave Annie in a strange kennel for a couple hours. I contented myself with viewing the pueblo via a YouTube video.

Thank goodness the site is being preserved for history sake. The Sky City Casino helps pay the renovation bills. What counts is what was.

Heading back west again, and only 30 minutes down the road from the east side of El Malpais, and across the Continental Divide,

I reached El Morro National Monument. I loved this place. The rock “headland” creates a gate on the south side of the centuries-old east-west trail.

It also serves as a landmark for a water pool that collects at the base of the cliff.

The pool has been the drinking fountain for travelers since forever. It is 150 miles from any other water source. Indians left petroglyphs on the wall of the cliff by the pool. The Spanish explorers signed their names with the message, “passed by here.” So did the pioneers. Dates range from 1607 through the 1800s.

The National Park ranger gave me a guide that explained the history behind each inscription. For example, two pioneer sisters who signed their names continued on through the Mohave, survived a bloody Indian raid, and ended up settling in Fresno, California. One of the Spanish explorers, General Don Diego de Vargas “was here” in 1692.

You’ve got to see this place for yourself.

Moving on, I ate lunch in the Zuni Village. Roasted corn. Yum.

Crossing into Arizona, I spent the afternoon driving the 28 miles north to south through Petrified National Forest.

First the Painted Desert.

Then the petrified logs. My photos don’t do justice to any of this. The colors and the expansive vistas must be experienced in person.

I’m going to visit more ancient pueblos tomorrow. I’ve been on the road for 40 days. I’m ready to head home.

Baby Cows, a Baby Bear, and a Beautiful Bride

This vacation has been so packed with fun that my head is swimming. Or is that the heat and humidity that is making my brain fuzzy?

While in Vermont, and while the tent was going up and my-sister-in-law baked 19 wedding cakes (or was it 13?), I got some more stamps on my National Parks Passport. 35 minutes south of my brother Tom’s house, I toured the Saint-Gauden National Historic Site. S-G was a talented sculptor who specialized in bronze-casted, life-sized statues of important people like Abe Lincoln. The NHS was his home and gardens.

More fun was driving through the covered bridge each way. Ramsey is 9’3″ tall, the limit, so I stayed in the middle of the bridge. A local I met later at an ice cream stand told me this bridge is the longest covered bridge in North America.

By the following day, my other brother, Charlie, and his wife Paula had joined the menagerie. They accompanied me in visiting the much more lively Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park. The site includes a working dairy farm — all gold-colored Jersey cows. The best part is the nursery for the little calves. I took a ton of videos, which I’ll insert in my YouTube summary of this trip. For now, here is another still shot.

They had a terrific museum about local farming and a well-done movie about George Perkins Marsh (1801-1882), who first established the estate, Frederick Billings (1823-1890), who bought the estate from Marsh in 1869, and Laurence Rockefeller (1910-2004), who married Billings’ granddaughter Mary French.

The men never met each other. The most important thing they had in common is that they were conservationists. The grounds and house are lovely, but not as fun to see as the cows.

The wedding of my niece Megan to Tom of NYC (yes, another Tom in the family) went off without a hitch. No rain, a huge blessing since it interfered with the wedding of Megan’s parents, Tom and Marguerite, on the same knoll 32 years ago. A haze blocking the sun kept it from being too hot.

After bagels at my brother’s house and goodbyes to Megan and Tom, due to return to Thailand the next day, I headed south. It was Labor Day. I stayed in a charming RV Resort by a stream, where I was able to catch up on my laundry. (Not in the stream.) The highlight of the night was a small bear who lives nearby, raiding their dumpster at night. Apparently, there is no mommy bear anywhere.

He spent a lot of time relaxing on a large boulder across the stream from Ramsey, but not that far. He watched me with lonely eyes and I wished I could feed him but knew better.

My task for today, Tuesday, through Friday, is to visit the final 20 monuments on the Henry Knox Trail. I’ll visit five each day, ending in Cambridge. In general, the trail follows Route 20 as it crosses Massachusetts from West Springfield.

Today I first found West Springfield’s monument.

Then Springfield’s. The monument is in front of the National Armory NHS (also started by Henry Knox), so I toured that, too, and got another stamp on my passport.

Then Wilbraham.

Then Palmer.

Finally Warren.

After finding each monument, I took a photo of it, then drove to the local library and donated a copy of Henry’s Big Kaboom to the children’s department.

The Most Charming Library of the Day Award goes to the Warren Library.

I had written ahead to the libraries, so they expected me. Palmer (today) and Northborough (Thursday) asked me to perform with my ukulele. I like doing that. My goal is to educate the towns along the route so that in 2026 when the Train of Artillery is reenacted to celebrate our nation’s 250th birthday, the residents will actually know what’s happening.

Tonight I am at Wells State Park not far from Brookfield, Mass, where I start up again tomorrow. Too bad I don’t have time to see nearby Sturbridge Village.