Category: Welsh American History
By gaabi, 2021-08-26
I’m slowly working on family genealogy and I got some wonderful family photos recently. Ceri had done his article on a Welshman who was at Little Big Horn and I have an ancestor with a very tangential connection to this.
My first (so far) Welsh ancestor in North America was James B. Morgan, Sr. I haven’t got to see much in the way of primary source documents so far, only research other people have done, so I’ve got a ways to go to reach confident certainty on his history.
James Morgan was born in Llandaff, which is now part of modern-day Cardiff, in 1607. In about 1635, James sailed from Bristol to Boston with his two younger brothers, John and Miles, an ancestor of J. P. Morgan. James became a freeman in the Plymouth colony and a farmer.
Some generations later, his many-greats granddaughter, my mother’s great grandmother, Francis Henrietta Steele was born.
Francis Henrietta (Steele) Bubb
Francis married John Wilson Bubb, who had fought in the union army in the US Civil War and had recently returned to his home in Washington, DC, after spending the end of the war as a captive on a Confederate prison ship.
John Wilson Bubb
John Bubb went on to become a lieutenant under General George Crook at the Battle of Slim Buttes, to lead an attack on a Lakota village and experience Crook’s Starvation March, also called ”The Horsemeat March" as the punishing 35-mile-a-day pace killed so many mules and horses and soldiers slaughtered them to survive when the few remaining supplies ran out. Bubb was sent to Deadwood to try to secure food and successfully cleaned out the town's stores for his men.
Soldier's camp in Cook's Starvation March, from "A Campaign From Hell", by Mike Coppock in True West, https://truewestmagazine.com/a-campaign-from-hell/
He went on to serve in the Phillipines and become Brig. Gen. John Wilson Bubb. He commanded at least one fort, I’m not sure which one(s) but in the photos I’ve received are some wonderful old shots of life at Fort Sherman, Idaho, and Fort Spokane, Washington, and I’m sharing those below.
Below is a photograph of a June 1893 game of tennis on the lawn at Fort Sherman, which was on the banks of the Spokane River in what is now Coeur d'Alene, in northern Idaho.
A group of soldiers on a porch at Fort Sherman, Gen. Bubb is seated in the center row, on the right. This photo is undated but other photos in the group had handwritten notes indicating they were from 1893 and 1894.
Frances Bubb (standing in the back) and a group of ladies at Fort Sherman 1894
Unless otherwise noted, all these photos are from a family collection of John and Henrietta Bubb's effects.
By gaabi, 2017-11-15
By gaabi, 2016-08-02
This is a hilarious portrait series by Washington state photographer, Kevin Horan, for a show in Dallas, Texas called "Critters." I would love to go see this whole show!
By gaabi, 2016-07-04
(I sent this out as a broadcast email but putting up a blog, too)
By gaabi, 2016-06-03
Ceri and I are in Talgarth, Powys, in Wales attending the annual Hay Book Festival. Today we went to the festival first and then to the town of Hay-on-Wye, to wait for Niall Griffiths to arrive and meet us at the Blue Boar pub.
The town is full of people milling around window shopping, eating ice cream, a dad brought a giant bubble loop to play with his and other children in the parking lot just below the castle - a lovely pack of wild, happy, bouncing kids running and dancing after giant bubbles which floated out and over the wall of the castle grounds.
Ceri met three poets for hire, sitting at a table on the very narrow sidewalk. Selling poems they pounded out for passersby on typewriters set on rickety tables in front of them, they were surrounded and fortified by glasses of beer and cider. We decided to commission a poem for the landlady and all the other wonderful people at the Castle Hotel and this is what we got:
Ode to Talgarth
The G & T certainly helped.
Steadied me in that
Sea of writers.
I swam with ideas.
Landlady, hold the lantern on the mooring
as I approach.
I won't drip too much on the rug,
but you'll have to sit up with me a while.
( poetforhire.net - Tim Siddall, Lewis Parker, Edmund Davie)
By gaabi, 2016-03-15
In January this year, a well-known publishing company in Wales decided to challenge the UK Government’s decision to include the Union Jack on new driving licenses by producing Red Dragon stickers to be placed in their place.
Now, Y Lolfa publishers and printers have confirmed that over 3,000 stickers have been sold and have since been reprinted.
‘We recieved a very positive response to our campaign since its launch’ said Fflur Arwel, Y Lolfa’s head of marketing. ‘There has been a very great demand for the stickers. Its clear people very strongly about this and do not feel represented by the Union Flag – nor that their Welsh nationality is being respected.’
‘The people of Wales have chosen their own flag over the Union Flag.’ she added.
Those who wish to have the red dragon of Wales on their driver’s license can purchase the stickers produced by Y Lolfa.
The pack of six red dragon stickers is priced £2 and are available from all good bookshops and Y Lolfa website www.ylolfa.com
By gaabi, 2015-12-24
This last week, Ceri took me down to the Oregon Coast, to the most fantastic hotel I’ve ever stayed in. As a disclaimer, I’ll say that I’ve stayed in a lot of hotels, a lot of bad hotels and a lot of expensive hotels, and my idea of fantastic is not any kind of chain, regardless of cost, so it doesn’t include Motel 6 and it doesn’t include the 4 Seasons.
Like, apparently, every other state in the United States, Oregon has a town called Newport. Our Newport is a small town, both a rest or fun destination and a working commercial fishing port. A classic, old-Oregon coast, beach-town tourist strip lines the street across from the harbor -- in just a few blocks you can get taffy or fudge, anything anyone could think of made of shells, hand blown glass, a trip through a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum, a visit to the “Undersea Gardens” or pounds of fish or shellfish, including Dungeness crab. The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a few miles down the road and across the bay, a world-class conservation and education facility, in addition to being a well-curated collection of marine species. As a kid, Newport was one of my favorite family trips; as a teen, I was lucky enough to get to travel there for a job as a deckhand on a boat going down to California to join the tuna fleet. I was wildly excited, crouching in the bow to hang over the rail and look down into the green water as we left the harbor and headed out to sea.
I’d seen the building that was to become the Sylvia Beach Hotel all my life and often wondered what it was, above the sand on a short cliff. As a kid, I daydreamed my family would buy it and we’d all live there, conveniently next to my favorite place in the world, and live on fish and crabs. I found the hotel online and shared the link with Ceri, who decided this would be a great place to read and review a book each and booked a room for two nights.
Sylvia Beach was a person, not a beach. Born in Maryland in 1887, she travelled to Spain and then to Paris, where she was to run a bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, until the 1950s. With her partner, Adrienne Monnier, she hosted, encouraged and even published some of the greatest authors in the western world. Shakespeare and Company became a Paris destination for writers; young and newly arrived authors were allowed to work and stay at the store until they got themselves established. Beach befriended Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and many other writers arriving in Paris. Beach was Joyce’s first publisher of Ulysses and arranged for it to be smuggled into the US and Canada, where it was banned. She also published Hemingway’s first book, Three Stories and Ten Poems . She had no personal connection to the city of Newport, to the hotel or to Oregon, the owners just found her inspiring. When you’ve seen the hotel, you know why they were inspired to name it after her.
The Sylvia Beach Hotel is a literary hotel. There are no televisions, no computers except one laptop at the desk, no wifi, no phones in the rooms, nothing to distract you from relaxation and reading. Each room in the hotel is named after an author and furnished in a style either inspired by their work or by their own style, including plenty of books by the author for occupants to enjoy.
According to the history in the lobby, the hotel was originally built in 1913 as The New Cliff House. Chicken farmer Peter Gilmore bought it in 1920 and ran it with his wife, Cecile, and their family as the Gilmore Hotel until 1957. The Gilmores kept chickens in the backyard and served chicken and eggs three times a day, with chicken pot pie and eggnog on Sundays. From 1957 into the 1980s, the building was variously a hotel, a Greyhound bus station and then a $10.00-a-week boarding house until 1984, when it was sold to the present owners, Goody Cable and Sally Ford.
The new owners found the building in worn and neglected condition. They and their friends and family members would put the next three years into gutting and rehabilitating it with the help of an historic architect, using period fixtures and materials, adding private baths to the rooms and designing one-of-a-kind spaces. When the Sylvia Beach formally opened in 1987, a hundred people were expected to attend. Several hundred showed up. The front desk clerk told the story of an elderly man who stood crying quietly in front of the Alice Walker room, he was a nephew of the Gilmores who had stayed there as a boy and this had been his room.
The first floor of the hotel includes a small outdoor garden area leading to its lobby and gift shop, and a hall of guest rooms. The second and third floors contain halls of guest rooms and a portion of the third floor and the garret attic contain the hotel library, full of comfortable couches and chairs for reading and views of the ocean. We didn’t go up for this but I was told that the staff serve mulled wine in the library at 10PM.
The most spectacular rooms on the first floor include Agatha Christie, John Steinbeck and Jules Verne.
Two walls in Agatha Christie have large windows facing the beach and the ocean. This comfortable, opulent room includes a fireplace and very comfortable reading nook.
John Steinbeck features two twin beds, separated by a mural and sculpture of the front end of the Joads’ dust bowl era truck, ala The Grapes of Wrath , its headlights the reading lamps for each bed. Hotel cat, Shelly, demonstrates their comfort, below. The room also contains a collection of jars of things found on a beach and other allusions to Steinbeck works and, of course, a collection of his novels to enjoy, and ocean views out the windows.
Jules Verne faces the garden at the entry way but it’s so imaginative that I didn’t care if there was an ocean view, because there was a giant cephalopod tentacle coming out of the wall. The room is furnished a though it were Captain Nemo's suite from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the door in the hallway to this room looks like a pressurized entry to the Nautilus. Just opening that promised fun things inside.
Upstairs, a fantastic wooden medieval/gothic style chair and four poster bed sit in Shakespeare. Above the bed sits a paper Globe Theater with paper players and the bathroom contains a cheeky question, “to pee or not to pee?”
J. K. Rowling is all fun, sumptuous red Harry Potter, including a framed set of wands on the wall, a Nimbus 2000 hanging from the ceiling, a stuffed three-headed puppy curled up on the four-poster bed with its velvety curtains, owls at the windows, “stone” walls and a mural of the hapless Moaning Mabe, frowning sadly behind the toilet.
Dr. Suess is on the second floor, in bright colors, murals, stuffed toys and other Suess memorabilia. The full bed includes Ned’s furry feet sticking out of the footboard and the toilet tank is a fish tank for a red fish and a blue fish.
More rooms than we’ve mentioned here include Mark Twain, Colette, Herman Melville, Alice Walker, Jane Austen, J. R. R. Tolkien, Ken Kesey, Virginia Wolf, Amy Tan, Emily Dickinson, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.
The restaurant in the hotel, Table of Contents, served an included really excellent breakfast and also offers dinner service (not included) by reservation, with three entree choices - meat, seafood and vegetarian, and beer and wine. The dining room has fantastic ocean views with two walls of windows and a patio area for better weather. Residents of the surrounding area came for special occasion dinners, which was a good sign of dependable quality from their two chefs. The two nights we were there, the meat entrees were an absolutely excellent flank steak and Earl Grey crusted pork tenderloin, with a choice of local oyster dishes for seafood.
By foot, there are other restaurants, shops and several bookstores in the blocks nearby, an area known as Nye Beach. The Newport Visual Arts Center is across the street. The Newport Symphony Orchestra is at the performing arts center, only two blocks away. We found a promising looking Irish pub and a great wine shop with a very helpful owner just a block away from the hotel.
The beach itself is right around the corner of the hotel and down a short hill. High tide comes all the way up the sand and it’s not particularly safe at night, the ocean throws up trees and stumps onto the sand, but during the day you can walk forever down the beach, from lighthouse to lighthouse, and possibly not see another person, except in the summer.
If you want to visit or find out more about the Sylvia Beach Hotel, find them here:
The Sylvia Beach Hotel
267 N.W. Cliff, Newport, Oregon 97365
Reservations and Cancellations 888-795-8422
I hope we get to go back soon and I’ll close with this shot of Shelly, the hotel cat, who boldly visited us in our room for a long nap, on Ceri, and to receive appreciative kitty massage.