Monday, July 31, 2006

Thomas Hutton's Will

Here's one article of historic evidence I've uncovered in the pursuit of Hutton genealogy--the will of Thomas S. Hutton of New York, residing in Kanawha county, WV, at the time of his death. Now I've just to discover his relationship to my great-great-great grandfather Joseph Hutton. Just think, my ancestors were bequeathed 17,000 acres in West Virginia (Putnam County)--wonder what happened to all of it.

Q W Quarrier, Clk
At a Surrogate Court held in and for the County of Columbia at the Surrogates Office in the City of Hudson on the 14th day of June AD 1954
Present Elijah Payne, Surrogate in the matter of proving the last Will and testament of Thomas A. Hutton, deceased
On reading and filing the petition of Abraham B. Hutton propounding the last will and testament of Thomas L Hutton late of the County of Kanawha in the State of Virginia deceased for probably of which it satisfactorily appears that said testator died on or about the 20th day of April AD 1854 in the said County of Kanawha and was a resident of said County of Kanawha at the time of his decease, the he left his last Will & Testament, that said Will relates to both Real & Personal Estate, that in the said Will the said petitioner was appointed sole executor thereof and that said testator left assets in the said County of Columbia and which petition show the names and places of residence of the heirs and next of kin of said testator, that said heirs and next of kin are of full age, that said testator left him no widow surviving and other things by reason where of it belongs to the said Surrogate of Columbia Court to take the proof of said Last Will & Testament, and that said petitioner is desirous that the said Will would be admitted to probate, and that … testament should be granted thereon be him, and prays a citation spring our of under the seal of Court requiring the …. Next of kin and heirs at Law personally to be and appear when and where this Court may direct to appear or support as they may see fit the probate of said last Will & Testament, all which satisfactorily appearing to this court, It is ordered that a citation upon to the proper persons, pursuant to the .. of said petition requiring them to appear in this Court on the fifth day of July 1854 at ten o'clock in the forenoon of that day and attend the probate of said Will
E Payne Surrogate
At a Surrogate Court held in and for the County of Columbia at the Surrogate Office in the City of Hudson on the fifth day of July AD 1854
Present Elijah Payne, Esquire Surrogate in the matter of proving the Last Will & Testament of Thomas S Hutton dec
The citation heretofore .. in this matter .. on this day Abraham B Hutton the Executor named in said Will appearing in person & by Fayette Butter, his counsel in favor of the probate of said Will and the other ……. appearing in favor .. in .. upon the application of said Executor this matter is adjourned to the twelfth day of July 1854 at same place, to enable the same .. Executor to finish perfect due proof of the Service of said citation upon the persons to whom the same was directed
D Payne Surrogate
At a Surrogate Court held in the County of Columbia at the at the Surrogates Office in the City of Hudson o the 12th day of July AD 1854
Present Elijah Payne Esquire, Surrogate - In the matter of the proof of the Last Will & Testament of Thomas S. Hutton Dec
This matter having been adjourned from the fifth day of July .. to this day. And the Executor, Abraham B Hutton appearing in person by his counsel Fayette M. Butter and satisfactory evidence by affidavit of the Service the citation heretofore agreed in the matter in more prescribed by Law, said litigation being in every respect in accordance with the provisions of the States of the State, and neither of the subscribing witnesses to said will being in attendance And one said Witness being unable to leave his Residence on account of ill health, and no other persons than as above appearing in favor of said Will, and no one in opposition thereto, upon the application of said Executor , this matter .. adjourned to the 13th day of July .. at the Office of H.. & .. in he Village of Stayvesant Landing in said County of Columbia for the purpose of taking the proof & deposition of said witnesses.
E. Payne Surrogate
At a Surrogates court held in and for the County of Columbia a the office Of H.. & Thayer.. the Village … in said County on the 13th day of July AD 1854
Present Elijah Payne, Esquire Surrogate in the matter of the proof of the Last Will & Testament of Thomas S Hutton dec.
This matter having been duly adjourned from the 12th .. and to this place and Abraham B. Hutton the Executor named in said instrument having appeared in person and by Fayette M. Butter his counsel and no other persons appearing in favor nor in opposition in support of the proof of the same, the court proceeded to take the deposition of H… . Dyer & Peter W Wenden the two subscribing Witness to said Will and upon such proof after due deliberation and the same satisfactorily appearing to this court it is adjourned and decided that the said Last Will and testament was duly executed, that the same is genuine and valid and that the said Thomas Hutton at the time of executing the same was in all aspects competent to devise that the said last Will & Testament and the proofs & examinations taken in respect to the same be recorded and that the said last Will and Testament be admitted to probate and that the same as and hereby is established as a Will of Real and Personal Estate.
And no affidavit having been made and filed with my be Lega.. or next of Kin of the said deceased, .. any other .. interested in his Estate, setting fourth that such person intends to file with me any .. to the granting of .. testamentary upon said Will to the individual named therein as the Executor there of it is further ordered that such .. be granted to Abraham B Hutton named as executor to said Will and who applied therefor upon his taking and subscribing the oath by law required
E Payne Surrogate
Record of Last Will and Testament of Thomas S Hutton late of the County of Kanawha in the State o Virginia deceased relating to both Real and Personal Estate, and of the proof and examinations relating thereto…Recorded July 13th 1854
State of New York : Columbia County
Be it remembered that heretofore to wit on the fourteenth day of June in the Year Eighteen Hundred and fifth four, Abraham B. Hutton the Sole Executor named in the Last Will and Testament of Thomas S Hutton late of the County of Kanawha in the State of Virginia deceased appeared in open Court before the Surrogate of the County of Columbia and made application to have the said last Will and Testament which relates to both Real & Personal property Estate …
Know All men by these presents that I Thomas S Hutton of the town fo Stugvcsant in the County of Columbia and State of New York, considering the uncertainty of this life and being of sound mind and memory do make declare and publish this my Last Will & Testament.
I give and bequeath to my brother's wife Charity Vance now a resident of the City of New York in such a manner as may be appeared of for her benefit by my good brother Abraham B Hutton, the undivided one half of the three thousand three hundred and eight five acres of land lying on Blue Creek in the County of Kanawha & State of Virginia. To have and to hold the same to her and her executors and administrators and … forever
I give and bequeath to my beloved brother George W Hutton the remaining undivided One half of three thousand three hundred and Eighty five acres of land lying on Blue Creek in the County of Kanawha and State of Virginia, to have and to hold to him and his executors and administrators and .. forever
I give and bequeath and de.. to my beloved brother Abraham B Hutton all that certain tract of land of which I am now .. lying in the Counties of Kanawha, Cabell & Boone and State of Virginia. Commonly called the Putney tract containing Seventeen thousand acres or .. of land. And also in consideration of his uniform kindness to me and my indebtedness to him for money advanced all the residue of my Estate Real personal or mixed, including money, notes, or accounts of which I shall die .. and … or which I shall be entitled at the time of decease. To have and hold the same to him and his Executors and Administrators and .. forever.
I do nominate and appoint my brother Abraham B Hutton to be the Executor of this my Last Will and testament. In testimony where of I hereunto let my hand and seal and publish and declare this to be my Last Will and testament in presence of Witness named below, this tenth day of July in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty two.
Signed Sealed declared & Publish by the said Thomas S Hutton as and for his Last Will and Testament in presence of us who at his request and in his presence, and in presence of each other, have subscribed our marks as witness here to Thomas S Hutton
H W Dryer Residing at Stuyvisant in Columbia County
P V Wendover Residing at Stuyvisant in Columbia County
Slagvesant July 10th 1852 State of New York
In the name of God, Amen

Why not bomb?

by Marshall Roth
The secret of why Al Qaeda called off a plot to gas the New York City subways.

The FBI agent appearing as a guest on the radio show Savage Nation was claiming that Al Qaeda boasts 15,000 operatives in sleeper cells throughout the United States. And, he added, they have in their arsenal dirty bombs and atomic suitcase bombs.
The calls came in fast and furious:
I don't believe this. If Al Qaeda has infiltrated America, then why aren't they blowing up movie theaters and shopping malls every week? If they have the weapons, why don't they use them?
The FBI agent's humble reply?
"I don't know."
There can be no question that Al Qaeda has sleeper agents in the U.S. Consider: Ninety percent of the suicide bombers in Iraq are imported from around the world (including a Belgium-born Catholic woman who converted to Islam and was sent to Iraq to blow herself up). Of those murdered in Iraq, 98 percent are fellow Muslims. The eight suicide bombers in England were British born Muslims. The Wahabis are known to be recruiting in the United States. There are 12 million illegal immigrants the United States. Recently, 800 men -- from the Middle East, Arab countries and Afghanistan -- were caught illegally entering the U.S. from Mexico.
Yet since 9/11, Al Qaeda has perpetrated no terrorist activity in the United States. Why not?
Terrorism's Holy Grail
Last month, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Suskind, in a book The One Percent Doctrine, reported that Al-Qaeda terrorists came within 45 days of attacking the New York subway system with lethal gas. They were stopped -- not by any intelligence breakthrough, but by an order from Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman Zawahiri.
According to Time Magazine:
[The plot] contained plans for a gas-dispersal system dubbed "the mubtakkar" (Arabic for inventive). Fearing that al-Qaeda's engineers had achieved the holy grail of terror R&D -- a device to effectively distribute hydrogen-cyanide gas, which is deadly when inhaled -- the CIA immediately set about building a prototype based on the captured design, which comprised two separate chambers for sodium cyanide and a stable source of hydrogen, such as hydrochloric acid. A seal between the two could be broken by a remote trigger, producing the gas for dispersal.
The prototype confirmed their worst fears: "In the world of terrorist weaponry," writes Suskind, "this was the equivalent of splitting the atom. Obtain a few widely available chemicals, and you could construct it with a trip to Home Depot -- and then kill everyone in the store."
The device was shown to President Bush and Vice President Cheney... prompting the President to order that alerts be sent through all levels of the U.S. government. Easily constructed and concealed, the device ensured that mass casualties would be inevitable if it could be triggered in any enclosed public space.
Suskind writes about plans to attack the subways:
The cell members had traveled to New York City through North Africa in the fall of 2002 and had thoroughly cased the locations for the attacks. The device would be the mubtakkar. There would be several placed in subway cars and other strategic locations and activated remotely. This was well past conception and early planning. The group was operational. They were 45 days from zero hour.
Then Ali (an Al Qaeda informant) told his handlers something that left intelligence officials speechless and vexed. Al-Zawahiri had called off the attacks. Ali did not know the precise explanation why. He just knew al-Zawahiri had called them off...
Over the next days, teams of CIA briefers, analysts and operatives were in the Oval Office. The President and the Vice President sat in the two wing chairs, each with his back to the fireplace... The Vice President was intense. "The question is why would Zawahiri have called them off? What does it indicate about al-Qaeda's strategy?"...
Did al-Zawahiri call off the attack because the United States was putting too much pressure on the al-Qaeda organization? "Or is it because he didn't feel this was sufficient for a 'second wave'?" Cheney asked. "Is that why he called it off? Because it wasn't enough?"
The destruction tape -- still running, unexpressed, in everyone's head -- turned toward calculation. Ten subway cars at rush hour -- two hundred people in a car -- another thousand trampled in the underground in rush-hour panic as the gas spreads through the station. As many dead as 9/11, with a WMD attack spreading a devastating, airborne fear?
Not enough of a second wave?
"I mean, this is bad enough. What does calling this off say about what else they're planning?" Bush blurted out. His eyes were wide, fist clenched. "What could be the bigger operation Zawahiri didn't want to mess up?"
Weaving Carpets
The CIA knew there were terrorists on American soil, plotting to commit an attack worse than 9-11.
Why would the terrorists call off their plan, just 45 days from zero hour?
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph (April 16, 2006), Amir Taheri, former Executive Editor of Kayhan, Iran's largest daily newspaper, explained that the current U.S. administration is the "problem." How so?
According to Hassan Abassi, the Iranian strategist known as the "Islamic Kissinger," it was a matter of being patient. Al-Qaeda called off the NYC subway attack because they don't want America to take off the gloves and really fight terror. The radicals are waiting to launch their next big strike at such time that America is more complacent and less confrontational.
Radical Islam has bigger plans in store that they don't want to mess up, and the timing was not right to face a harsh American response.
The radicals are confident, however, that the right time will come. Says Abassi: "The Americans are impatient. At the first sight of a setback, they run away. We, however, know how to be patient. We have been weaving carpets for thousands of years."
Voice of Appeasement
Around the world, Al-Qaeda has the manpower and resources to carry out unspeakable acts of terror. And there is no need to even import the terrorists. The London bombers were indigenous -- homegrown. And last month, 17 Al-Qaeda operatives were arrested in southern Ontario; they had ordered and received three tons of ammonium nitrate to attack Canadian targets. All the suspects were either born in Canada or were long-time residents.
It is clear that Al-Qaeda is planning to attack America again.
And this is where we err. We do not grasp the enormity of our enemy's objective. For every time there is a new attack -- New York, Washington, Istanbul, Bali, London and Madrid -- we pass it off as a mere spontaneous grievance.
And when there is a lull, we imagine that the terrorists have climbed back into their hole. We can't conceive that they're patiently holding back, out of strategy.
What is Al-Qaeda's strategy? They know that they cannot fight America face-to-face. So they figure that America -- as the war in Iraq drags -- is slowly losing its will to fight.
Radical Islam has made an outright declaration of war on Western civilization. Radical Islam has the goal of Islamic world domination, where the "infidel" (i.e. all non-Muslims) are neutered and submissive.
Al-Qaeda figures that in a few years time, they'll be in a better position to extract concessions from the West -- appeasement, if you will.
Soon, Iran will have possession of nuclear weapons. Imagine they threaten to nuke American cities. Will we back down? Or will we fight?
If World War II taught us anything, it's that evil means business and there is no possibility of appeasing genocidal maniacs bent on world domination.
For let the irony not go unnoticed: The hydrogen cyanide that the subway terrorists planned to use, is the same formula for Zyklon B that the Nazis used in the gas chambers.
The first step in stopping the terror is to wake up to the reality: World War III has begun. They're determinedly planning the final conflagration. And they're coming to kill us.
Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Friday, July 28, 2006

Simple Life

I’ve decided it is definitely time to simplify my life. At my age (undisclosed), if I haven’t used it in 10 years, I probably will never use it again. Therefore, I am downsizing my cabinet supplies to make things easier to find, clean, store, and use. It is simply not necessary to keep 3 cans of half-used bathroom spray when I haven’t used it in 10 years (or more). I do, however, have an extra cabinet in the garage where I may store things I rarely use just in case I decide later that I do need them. After all, we live 30 minutes from the nearest town, and sometimes needs arise.

All my life, I have hoarded things, not willing to give them up if they still have a useful life. Now, however, I find the desire to hoard abating. In its place is a desire to live simply, peacefully, on less, doing less, having less, saving less—a restful feeling. I hope it stays.


Free online juicing demonstration:
Here we are ready to juice.

Here we are finished juicing--mess and all.

Actually, this is just my juice--Virgil likes his with beet, spinach, chard, and kale. Mine just has carrot and celery.


Here's what I've been working on-organizing my cabinets. I haven't had this kind of time in 20 years.


Baby pictures are always welcome here. Great-niece and great-nephew Sarah and Brandon.

Log Cabin

Here's the log cabin Virgil's helping to build for his sister, Patty.


Here's the unpretentious home and garage of the mechanic who's working on our motor home. No worries about locking up at night.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


The picture with the story below reminds me of this picture of my great-grandfather Robert Emory Hutton and his bride-to-be Anna Laurie Carpenter Hutton in their courting days. They kept the horse, Old John, until he died. (Rev. 7-28-06)
Just think, what if someone tried to take their land like the Nazi's did the Jew's land--or the people who are still trying to wipe the nation of Israel off the planet. We've been blessed in America. We need to support God's chosen people.

Horse and Cart

Here's the picture that goes with the story.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Roots the Nazis tried to Destroy

by Rabbi Ephraim Shore
A pilgrimage to discover my family's roots that the Nazis tried to destroy.

I was 12 when I first noticed the photo. An elderly couple, she wore a kerchief, he a long beard. They sat in the front seat of an open wagon pulled by a large horse. Thatched cottages of an ancient looking shtetl (town) loomed in the background.
"Wow, Grandpa!" I asked earnestly. "How did you get this great photo from Fiddler on the Roof?"
To my astonishment he replied, "Those are my parents. In my hometown of Staszow (pronounced Stashov) in Poland."
I learned then that my mother's grandparents, together with her aunts and uncle and their 22 children who I had barely heard of before, were murdered in the Holocaust. Yet growing up in the comforts of Canada, details about the war, my relatives and Staszow remained as distant as the scene in the photo.
That all changed last month, when I was invited to participate in an Aish HaTorah Faculty visit to Poland. Meant to help us integrate more fully the reality of that tragedy -- and the potential tragedies if we fail to take the necessary action against our enemies of today -- 60 of us were to set out to visit the death camps and the ghettoes. I decided that if I would already be in Poland, perhaps I should include a visit to the old shtetl. But what remained of Jewish life there? Was there a way to learn where my family lived? Where to even start?
Searching for "Jewish Staszow" (after 10 attempts at other spellings), I discovered an article by a man named Jack Goldfarb, who had made a similar pilgrimage to Staszow and helped restore the old Jewish cemetery. Searching further, I clicked on a blog by a Danny Miller. Suddenly there appeared on my screen a picture of my great-great-uncle, Itcha Meyer Korolnek! Danny is his great-grandson, now a screenwriter in LA. He reminisced in his blog about the stories he'd heard from Itcha Meyer about life in Staszow. This led me to info from a 1932 Staszow Town Registry, which contained my great-grandparents' home address!
Another Google hunt led me to the marriage records of my great-grandparents. (Many of these records are thanks to the Mormon Church's efforts to document and posthumously baptize the Jews of Europe!) Leibish Unger and Esther Goldkind married in 1888. Esther gave birth to eight children, including my grandfather and his twin in 1903. Four children emigrated to Toronto in the 1920s, and the rest remained behind, in part because of their fear of a "less Jewish" environment abroad.
I learned about the remaining "Jewish sites" to be seen, tracked down a local English-speaking guide, and transportation. Everything was complete!
A few weeks ago, on a Thursday morning, my twin brother, Raphael, and I were picked up by a young Polish driver. I was feeling the drama and the excitement: the first return of our family since November 8, 1942, when the Jews of Staszow were driven from their homes and delivered to death at the Belzec concentration camp.
History of the Town
Jews had lived in Staszow since the 1400s. In 1610, the Christian ruler of the area, looking for a pretext to exile the Jews from his province, orchestrated a blood libel. They accused a local Jew of killing a Christian child to use his blood for Pesach matzah, the unlucky man was executed and the remaining Jews deported. Their possessions were confiscated and used to build the dominating church tower, which stands till today over Staszow. Invited to return by a subsequent ruler, Jews began to flourish there.
Like many other shtetls, by the time of World War II, Staszow was 60 percent Jewish, and on the whole enjoyed a rich Jewish life amongst their non-Jewish neighbors. (Except for the occasional small pogrom of course, like one in 1932.) They had a huge central synagogue, a Jewish inn, kosher butchers, mikvahs, a Jewish hospital and two yeshivot.
When the Germans conquered Poland in 1939, all that changed. Their quiet life was shattered. For two years my family lived a period of relative calm, but anxious worry. "Thank God we're well and we're coming along as best we can," my great-aunt wrote in May 1941. "If things will be quiet then it will be good. In the home everything is in the best order, you shouldn't worry about anything."
We are so worried. We are so nervous.
Perhaps more honestly, my grandfather received this note on the back of a photo from another aunt: "We are so worried, and we don't know what will be in the future. We are so nervous. Please answer soon."
That was the last the family was heard from.
With the help of archives I found at the New York Public Library website, I succeeded in piecing together the last months of my 32 relatives. On December 30, 1941,the uneasy quiet was broken. Staszow woke up to posters in the streets announcing that no Jew could leave the town. Transgressors would be shot. From that fateful day, their end was sealed and the disastrous campaign against them mounted quickly. On January 6, the "Fur Action" was announced: Jews were obliged to hand over all fur garments. Failure to comply punishable by death. Several Jews, not yet fully aware of the Nazi methods, were found in possession of furs and were shot.
On January 15, no Jewish business could operate except under the supervision of a German or Pole. The next few months saw regular incidents of mass robbery, beatings and occasional lynchings. By Passover, the last for the Jews of Staszow, they began hearing of the extermination actions in other shtetls around Poland. A 19-year-old girl tried to escape to the forests but was caught and shot. The holiday passed in great trepidation.
On June 15, the Ghetto Decree was announced. The 5,000 Jews of Staszow were forced to move into two small sections of the town, and their last meager means of making a living were cut off. A 6 p.m. curfew kept my family and the others crowded in strange homes in the worst sanitary conditions, 10-15 packed in a room. Another 2,000 people from neighboring villages were added to this pile of misery.
Mayor Suchan took every advantage to extort, terrorize and torment the Jews without relent. In August, a Jew was shot for baking bread, another for slaughtering a cow and four women for preparing a piece of leather.
The Jews desperately sold any last remaining belongings not already pilfered, for pennies. Homes, though, could not be sold. The Poles knew it was only a matter of time until they would be theirs: "A free new home for every family."
Polish peasants brought large sacks to gather the Jewish spoils.
By November 7, the Jews were well aware of their impending doom. A survivor wrote, "Maybe it is the last Shabbat, God forbid, of the fine and extensive Jewish community of Staszow. One does not wish to believe that the angel of death is already preparing to take our innocent souls. Everybody runs to see his near and dear ones, to console the dejected, to plan means of escape, and also to say goodbye to one another. We want to be together during our last moments."
That night, the community was ordered to prepare a feast for 150 members of the roving Nazi "resettlement" unit which was making its way from town to town. In anticipation, peasants from the vicinity had already gathered with large sacks to gather the spoils, impatiently asking "Hasn't it started yet?"
On the mournful dawn of November 8, 1942, the Jews were ordered to appear in the Market Square by 8 a.m. From there, 5,000 abandoned souls were marched off forever. Before they even left town, 189 had been murdered in the streets.
Running for the Bus
All this information generated intense feelings about my return to the shtetl of my ancestors. On one hand, it was the place drenched with the blood of my family. On the other, it was where they had lived, worked, laughed, celebrated births, marriages, bar mitzvahs, Shabbat and holidays, for so many generations.
When I told our driver the purpose of our visit, he hesitantly asked: "Had we heard whether Poles participated in the Holocaust in any way?" We were dumbstruck, not finding words to answer. Finally, we shared with him the common knowledge that Poles were considered by survivors to have been complicit with the Germans.
He said that growing up in Poland, where every student must visit Auschwitz and studying the Holocaust is mandatory, the Polish role in the fate of the Jews has been erased! As a hotel employee, he had once heard a lecture in sensitivity training (Jews are the number one tourist group to the country) where he was told that Poles were active participants, but was wondering if it was really true.
"In Staszow," I responded, "1,000 Jews found shelter in hidden bunkers and barns to avoid the final deportation. Of those, 900 were turned in by their neighbors."
Not 15 minutes passed, when he received a first hand illustration. As we drove toward Staszow, we decided to stop at the burnt-out synagogue in the town of Krasnik. The taxi pulled over to ask directions from an old lady standing by the road. When she heard the word "synagogue," she glanced quickly at us in the back seat, grabbed her bags, and raced away from us at granny-lightning speed.
Stunned, I turned to our driver and said, "Looks like she doesn't like Jews much."
Equally shocked, he replied, "No, I think she was just running for a bus." (There was no bus.)
A middle-aged woman yelled at us, "Go away!"
After finding and visiting the synagogue, we exited to the sight of a middle-aged woman in the back of a car, yelling something to our driver over and over. We asked what she was saying. Reluctantly, our driver confessed, "She's saying 'Go away!'" We had just encountered more hatred in the first hour off our tour bus, than in our entire lives in Canada! (Later, he cautioned us, that the word "Zyd," meaning Jew, "is not a nice word to use.")
With trepidation, we finally closed in on Staszow, now a picturesque village of 18,000. Zero Jews. We met our guide, Simon, in the Market Square, a large quaint open area surrounded by shops. As I stepped out of the car, my kippah proudly flashing on the top of my head (I decided not to wear a baseball hat -- I wanted to let the villagers know that we're still here), people all around stopped in their tracks and stared. For minutes.
From this spot 64 years ago, my great grandparents and their offspring had been led to their deaths in an act of hysterical evil that today's pastoral scene belied.
Raised in Staszow, Simon quickly pointed out that most of these stores were once owned by Jews. We decided to begin with the site of the synagogue. Once home to 5,000 congregants, it had been torn down ("because it was not being used") and replaced by an efficient-looking green office building. A small plaque noted the significance of the site.
Strolling back to Simon's car, under the watchful eyes of what felt like everyone in Staszow ("We don't get a lot of visitors here", Simon suggested helpfully), he pointed to a section of the sidewalk. "Once, after a snowfall, the whole sidewalk was covered with snow except for one spot. Someone noticed, and deduced there must be a Jewish family hiding in a secret basement below. The Nazis were called in and the family taken away."
As we circled the square in Simon's car, he shared with us what he had heard from his aunt, who lived through the war. "The day the Germans entered the town, the first thing they did was grab a rabbi. They tied him by his hands to one of their cars, and dragged him round and round this square until he died."
Next stop was the local history museum, located nondescriptly in the basement of a Communist-era block apartment building. We expected it to be devoted to the memory of the 60 percent of the community which had been obliterated. We were someone surprised to discover the first room full of Staszow's famous sabers, and photos of prize Arabian horses. The next large room wasn't more relevant either, but moving through it, we were guided to a closet-sized alcove: the memorial to 5,000 Jews. A few photos, a map of the ghetto, and a couple of cheap menorahs filled most of the "Jewish wing."
The prize possession, though, was a Torah scroll from the old synagogue. As we studied it, we were abruptly joined by an older ruddy-faced gentleman with a large smile who began to speak to us rapidly in Polish. He was Simon's uncle -- apparently tipped off to the presence of Jewish visitors -- who had personally handcrafted the glass and wood case that housed the Torah. He assured us that they were aware of the scroll's holiness, and had washed their hands before handling it. He recounted how the Torah had been rescued from the burning synagogue by a 9-year-old boy.
I, Survivor
We headed off to our next destination: the family home. What would we find? The same old home? (Many still existed throughout the town.) Something familiar from the photo which started this odyssey? At the corner of the street, an ancient-looking grey wood structure stood, with a couple of derelicts at the door. This was the old Jewish bathhouse -- mikveh, no doubt -- which was now occupied by "low income residents."
At last we found the address. We were disappointed to see that it was a newish home, but nevertheless we were overcome with feelings of nostalgia. In the back, an aged barn and garden gave us a taste of what it might have been like. Across the road we excitedly spotted a place that looked right out of the pictures of the shtetl, complete with old wooden wagon and live chickens! I pulled out my camera, when suddenly an old woman began to scream and headed toward us from the coop. (We had been warned that Poles often react this way to foreigners, suspecting that they're Jews coming to reclaim lost property.) Simon calmed her down, but by that time several other neighbors had emerged from their homes to witness the excitement. We entered into a pleasant conversation with the next door neighbors, who weren't quite old enough to be worried about their property.
After the requisite photo shoot, we continued through the picturesque, impossibly quiet streets, until we came upon a massive tower and impressive Medieval church. This, then, was the "Blood Libel" tower built from plunder of the first exile of Staszow's Jews in 1610.
Every tombstone had been smashed.
Before taking leave of Staszow we had one final stop, the cemetery where Jews had been buried for six centuries. Every tombstone had been smashed. One more recent tombstone brought the tears to our eyes. It read, "Here lie the remains of two people, one a teenager, one in his 40s, whose remains were found in the year 2000 in a basement bunker. Assumed to be Jews who had hidden during the war, they were re-interred here."
On the road out of Staszow, a road filled with blood and tears that will eternally cry out from the earth, Simon filled in the final details of our family's last day on earth. "All the non-Jews were instructed to bring every wagon and horse to the Market Square. At 10 a.m. the miserable procession began to move out of town. They were marched on this road for five miles until they reached the town of Niszen. Here, a mass grave was dug and 740 victims were slaughtered. The rest continued another 10 miles until they reached the train station. They were packed in, 100 to a cattle car, and shipped off to Belzec for extermination."
Life expectancy: four hours.
The Jewish community of Staszow was no more. I don't look at that picture of my great grandparents and their wagon the same way anymore. They are now a conscious part of me. I am their memory. I am their survivor.
Published: Sunday, July 23, 2006

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Kay w/grandbaby

Here's one of the youngsters who attends our church occasionally, with her grandmother Kay, who attends regularly. Isn't she just a doll-baby?

Church Ladies

Here are some pictures of the ladies in our church from Homecoming 2006. Maxine used to preach, I believe. She still gives a rousing testimony, standing on one wooden leg.

This is Ruth. She sings loud, and often leads congregational numbers. Pastor Troy is helping her on the guitar.

Senior Church Memebers

I thought I would post some pictures of some of the senior ladies in our church. They are such interesting people. I hope they don't mind.

This is Eleanor. She is the oldest, I believe.

Here's Faye and her mother. Faye sings good.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Here she is all dolled up.
Mommo gets her hair done.

Here's the beautiful hydrangea Amber got me. I love purple.

Here's the chair I'm trying to reupholster for a lady. I'm taking my time on this project.

Did I mention I got a new camera for my birthday? I also got some gadgets to go with it--cordless mouse, USB port, memory card, print shop, rechargeable batteries, photo paper, ink--I could go on. Anyway, I am determined to post more and better pictures.

Here's a start:

This is the table my uncle Bob made in shop in high school--my dad made one something like it, but it has been destroyed.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Casto-Hutton Cemetery

This is the Casto-Hutton cemetery, resting place of Oliver and Julia Ann Hutton.

Marcellus Carpenter homeplace

Here's a picture of the restored home of Marcellus "Cell" Carpenter, father of my grandmother and her eight brothers and sisters.

Granny's Cellar

I visited the old Hutton homeplace last weekend and reaped lots of pictures. This is my Granny Hutton's old cellar.