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”

Happy New Year 2019

I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season. I spent Christmas with my son and his family in the Bay Area, then headed south to Pasadena for a few days to open more presents with my daughter, her husband, and their two energetic sons. From there I drove to the California desert to explore a part of my state that was too hot to be in when I drove through last September. Here is the link to my YouTube video.

By the way, for those of you didn’t get the memo, I set up a new YouTube channel so that I could have one for my personal/writing vlogs and another for my RV travel vlogs. This video is on the “Rambling in Ramsey” channel. The other channel is simply called “Mary Ames Mitchell.”

If you don’t feel like watching a video, here are the pretty pictures. The first two are of North Shore on the Salton Sea. I wish you could hear the seagulls.

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I think this next one is of Slab City. I didn’t realize I missed that eccentric town until it was too late to backtrack.

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I spent the night boondocking at a BLM (Bureau of Land Management, i.e. free) camping area called American Mine Road.

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Then drove around Yuma, Arizona the next morning. I also bought gas there. Gas in Arizona is a dollar cheaper per gallon than in California.

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From Yuma, I cruised through sand dunes swarming with zooming dune buggies. It looked like fun.

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Then through the Anza-Borrego Desert.

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And through Julian, elevation 4000 feet (so check out the snow). There was no place to park, so I couldn’t pull in and walk around as I had planned.

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I spent the night at the Vail Lake RV Resort in Temecula. Very nice.

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Here is the view from my van the next morning.

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A lovely, peaceful place to enjoy a cup of coffee. Annie liked it too.

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.

Scorpions, Spikes, Black Flies, and a Dead Phone

Scorpions from National Parks Exhibit. The one in Annie’s bowl was a medium sized one.

The Texas Panhandle gets my Least Favorite Part of the Trip Award. I woke up overlooking Greenbelt Lake. That bit was lovely. Then I realized my phone was dead. No amount of plugging it in to various sockets and using different cords helped. Not a glint of life. There went my GPS, my phone, my Google, my camp-site-finding app (AllStays), and the photos for the previous three days (now posted, so you know this story had a happy ending).

I packed up and drove the 300 feet to the little Marina. The man running the general store/marina/license office/bait shop welcomed me with his friendly Texas drawl. After a brief conversation about the raccoon I scared from under my van when Annie and I opened the door to get out first thing that morning, I asked if he had Internet access. (Since my phone wasn’t working then, I can’t show you what he or the low-tech shop looked like.) The closest thing he had was a Yellow Pages book for Amarillo (closest city) from 2006. I was not surprised there were no listings for Apple or T-Mobile.

Good news, as I reached the outskirts of Amarillo, I found a visitor center that had enough Internet access to let me send emails to my kids not to worry that I was out of touch. But not enough access to allow me to use a search engine to find an Apple Store. The lady at the Tourist Desk found the T-Mobile office in Amarillo. Thankfully, the young woman at T-Mobile was able to jump-start my phone because the nearest Apple Store, my son informed me, was in Albuquerque.

Re-armed with my iPhone’s most valuable tools, I drove to the next National Monument on my map, Alibates Flint Quarry NM , which is right by a National Recreation Area, Lake Meredith (where, theoretically, I could have camped).

All my photos of these parks are on my Fuji camera because my iPhone was still charging. I’m glad the National Parks are preserving this quarry where the American natives have been mining a unique and high quality flint for arrows, scrapers, knives, and drills for 9,000-plus years. And they offer a short trail. But go there without a dog or children and when it isn’t 98 degrees out.

Sprinkled along the path are these horrible Sputnik-like stickers. Annie yelped in pain when a giant one (four times the size of this one from another park) punctured her paw and caused a lot of bleeding. I got one in my hand trying to get the dozens off her. The spikes are hard to pull out. Soon we were both bleeding and I hobbled back to the van and high-tailed it out of there.

We skipped looking at the lake.

I made it as far west as Santa Rosa, New Mexico, where I found a nice State Park overlooking Santa Rosa Lake, which is actually a reservoir.

It was a beautiful place, but the black flies and ants prevented us from sitting outside. There were rattle snake warnings everywhere. We ran into none of those, but somehow a scorpion found its way into my van. It drowned itself in Annie’s water bowl, which is where I found it. I didn’t think to take a photo before throwing the water and scorpion out the door of the van. Needless to say, I kept a sharp lookout when I walked anywhere from then on.

Good news is that the campground provided electricity needed for the air conditioner since it was still horribly hot. Bad news is that the shower was cold.

We are heading toward Pecos National Park near Sante Fe hoping the higher elevation will provide cooler air and fewer creepy animals.

Rambling Westward

When I last wrote, I was camped by the J. Percy Priest Lake in Tennessee. Not long after posting, the sky turned orange and I was able to capture this magnificent sunset on the lake. Some of you have already saw it on Facebook.

The following day I drove to Memphis to stay with my good friends Shelly and Kevin.

Besides letting me do my laundry and enjoy their very nice shower, they gave me a tour of Memphis and took me to their favorite barbecue place. Who woulda thunk that barbecue spaghetti is absolutely delicious. (I forgot to take my camera with me, but I grabbed these shots on my way out of town the next day.) I was able to see the tail end of one of the famous ducks at the Peabody Hotel as he was getting onto the elevator.

We walked around the Bass Pro Shop so I could see the four live alligators.

We also saw the studio where Elvis made his first million-copies record.

Heading to Little Rock, Arkansas, to visit Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, I took the M bridge over the mighty Mississippi.

(“Mississippi” is as much fun to type out with my thumbs as it is to spell out loud.)

Little Rock is as much about celebrating the 42nd President (streets, parks and government centers are all named after Clinton) as it is about honoring the civil rights movement and desegregation. The exhibit transported me to my senior year at Pasadena High School.

Continuing through central Arkansas, I reached Hot Springs National Park early enough to obtain a campsite in their campground.

Once I had the ticket attached to the post, I was free to drive away and into the town of Hot Springs ten minutes away. The whole tourist street is one block long. I could walk up the “Row” with Annie in tow.

Neither of us were able to enjoy the baths, but strolling up the Magnolia tree-lined street was delightful.

The old bath houses that have been preserved as the National Park line the east side of the street. Commercial store fronts and restaurants line the west side.

This is the fountain where people can still fill up their water jugs with mineral water.

There is also a drive to the top of a hill.

Crossing into Oklahoma, I made it to Chickasaw National Recreation Area. Plenty of camping spots were available near its Lake of the Arbuckles for the night.

It was actually better to be slightly away from the children screaming in the lake, but close enough for Annie and me to take a nice walk the next morning.

It took only a couple hours to drive through the park. The main point of interest is the Bromide Pavilion. (Forgot to take a photo using my iPhone.) Once upon a time, in the early 1900s, trains brought health seekers to enjoy these mineral-rich waters. According to the ranger, the park had more visitors during those days than Yellowstone.

There was also a great nature center.

While in the town of Sulphur, where the park is, I was able to find a mechanic to check Ramsey’s fluids before facing the deserty stretch ahead of me through New Mexico and Arizona. SHE found everything in order and told me where to fill up on propane, which I also needed to do.

Thank goodness, because the tiny towns I have been driving through today would not have had what I needed. I’ve crossed onto Texas, where I plan to visit the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument near Amarillo.

Needing a place to stay on the way, I used my trusty app, AllStays, to find the only camping place around, Lake GreenBelt. It is another reservoir. It took me several dead end roads to find the Marina, where for $5, I purchased a license to park Ramsey “anywhere I liked.” So here I am perched atop a little mound overlooking the lake. I’ve had my cheese and tomato quesadilla and an ice cream that I also purchased at the marina store. I can’t post this blog entry until tomorrow because I only have one bar of cell service, which won’t download my photos.

Back to rambling.