White Brick School Finniwig Studios KebIrish Gazette Ariadne Threads Guild

Volume 2, Issue 2

April 1, 1999


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Passage to America

John P. Irish 1843-1923

Another Schoolhouse

Preserving Memories

Appreciation for a Good Year

Family Favorites - Mini Apple Strudels

Photo Questions

John P. Irish

1843 - 1923

John Powell Irish was born to Frederick Macy Irish and Elizabeth Ann Robinson on January 1, 1843 in Iowa City, Iowa.

By the age of twenty he was the editor and proprietor of the “Iowa City Press” and continued this for twenty years. He impressed it with his own individuality

On November 8, 1875 he married Anna McClellan and had two sons. Frances on November 11, 1876 and John Peck on October 28, 1881.

John Powell Irish was a natural born and aggressive leader. As such he was recognized in the vanguard of his party through the course of many years. In short, he may be properly said to have been a genius, composed of both solid and brilliant parts, who doubtless would have achieved greater renown had he been on the successful side of politics and less steadfast in his convictions.

He was repeatedly sent to the state legislature and did conspicuous service there for the State. He served six consecutive years from 1868 - 1873. In 1877 he was nominated as the candidate of the Democratic party for Governor of the State of Iowa.

In 1882, John moved his family to California, and bought the “Oakland Times.” In 1885 he became the editor and manager of the “Alta California,” the oldest newspaper on the Pacific coast. He later wrote for the “Argonaut”, “Call”, and “Post”.

In California he did much in accelerating the progress of this Commonwealth. In 1890 he was nominated for Congress as the Democratic candidate. He was recognized as a man of great ability, a pungent writer and an eloquent and forceful orator. He was one of the founders of the “California State Home of the Adult Blind” and for many years the President of its Board of Directors.

In 1894 he was appointed Naval Officer of Customs at San Francisco and discharged its duties with efficiency for sixteen years.

John also had a farm on an island in the San Joaquin river where he farmed onions and three hundred acres of barley.

John later resumed the study and took up the practice of International Law.

He was distinguished in appearance and of pleasing address, with a well-rounded figure of more than medium height, light hair, blue eyes and fair complexion.

John died in Oakland, California on October 6, 1923.

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Passage to America

Breman, Germany was a main port of departure for many Germans on their way to America. Most of the ships sailed between April and October. Some years there were as many as 35 ships sailing two or three times a year to America.

What was it like to sail to America? The trip depended on the ship, the captain, and how much you could afford. People had to sell most of their belongings to afford the trip. Abound 1840 a passenger fare was about $234. If you brought a trunk with you it would be stored on the floor between the bunks leaving you with less walking space. Many people left their homeland with only a rucksack filled with their belongings.

The ship would sail out of the Port of Bremerhaven and into the North Sea. When you got to the English Channel you could see the towers and the chalk cliffs of England. After passing through the German Channel between England and France, you would finally be in the Atlantic Ocean.

The trip would take 4 to 8 weeks, depending on the weather. Most people got very seasick at the beginning of the trip and during a storm because of the rocking of the ship.

If you were lucky, you got a cabin with a window, though the bed would still be hard.

Some passengers got  compartments built of rough lumber and nailed together. They were built one on top of another like a barracks and the upper ones were hardly large enough to sit up in. Other passengers were just in the hold with no privacy at all.

Most people only saw sunlight when they went up on deck. This you only wanted to do in good weather. During a storm the joints of the ship creaks and everything is tossed back and forth as if they were being thrown by someone. There is no sleep, because the pots and pans being tossed around creates such a racket. If you were on deck you had to hold on to something so as not to be thrown overboard.

Calm weather is just as bad. You feel as if you are in a water desert. The absence of wind is a very uncomfortable feeling and the ship doesn’t move.

Life is mostly dull and boring. There is not much you can do in a dark, rolling ship. Some tried to play chess, but the chessmen didn’t say on the board because of the ship’s movement. One doesn’t feel like reading, either. You can’t walk much as the ship’s movement causes you to fall.

There was salted and preserved meat to eat, potatoes boiled in their skins, and ship’s hardtack bread which was softened in coffee.

Syrup and plums were considered a delicacy. Not all of the food was tasty, but it was very filling. If you had an underhanded captain and a rough crew you may almost die of hunger.

For some, the journey would end early. A prayer would be said for them and they would be thrown into the ocean.

When still a few days out from land, a pilot would come and take over the ship. After a couple more day and a seemingly endless trip, land would be seen. Oh! what a beautiful site. Those who were sick would start to feel much better and everybody's energy would improve.

Anchor would be put down outside of Baltimore for quarantine. The passengers would get cleaned up and put on their best clothes. Straw and old clothes are thrown into the ocean. A doctor would come aboard and check the health situation. If everything checked out, the ship was on its way to port.

After debarking from the ship you would find an Inn and make arrangements to continue your journey across land, by boat or train, to your destination. After customs officers checked your luggage for items that were dutiable, you were on your way to a new life in America.

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Another Schoolhouse

On our way to Ligonier, Indiana one day we saw an old one room schoolhouse. It looked old and unkempt. Part of the roof had fallen in and some of the windows were broken. There was trash out back, but the schoolhouse itself still looked salvageable. It had a nice plaque on the front saying it was Middlebury School # 7.

Instantly an idea came to mind. We stopped at the house next door to ask if they knew who owned the schoolhouse. Just our luck, they owned the house. They have been trying to get rid of it for a couple of years and said we could have it if we remove it from the property.

Now the ideas really started flowing. We

took a look through the lot of work. Most of the wainscot still looked in good condition, though it would have to be sanded down and refinished. The wainscot would look real nice in our one-room schoolhouse and it would be from the same time period.

The floorboards and beams would be great for rebuilding Chuck’s woodshop. They would add originality and age to the look of the woodshop.

The brick we will have to share with someone that wants it for landfill. Because they made soft brick back then, it will be a challenge but we think we can save enough to build the walls of the workshop.


And a lot of the old panes of glass were still good, though the wood was rotted. We could be remake them into new windows using the old glass.

The fieldstone could also be reused around the porch and the bottom of the woodshop.

We will also try to salvage the decorative plaster moldings. They will as a decorative touch to our house.

There are other items inside the schoolhouse, such as an old style stove. These we haven’t decided what we will do.

It will be a lot of work, but well worth the effort.


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Preserving Memories
For more than a century, people have been enjoying the ability to capture special moments in time with photographs. People like to see pictures of their parents and grandparents when they were young, and many take it for granted that their children and grandchildren will someday enjoy the pictures they take today.

However, you probably have experienced yellowing, cracking, and fading of some of your photographs. Other may have been destroyed or simply lost. Although some photographs last for generations, none of them are immune to the effects of time.

Many factors can contribute to the deterioration photo-graphs. Temperatures above 70°F and relative humidity above 60% for long periods should be avoided. Very low humidity, under 25% is also damaging. Attics and basements are not good storage areas because of the drastic temperature changes or dampness.

Film commonly used in the early 1900’s was nitrate-based. It is relatively unstable and decomposes rapidly. It is also flammable and in large quantities is considered a fire hazard. During decomposition it produces oxidizing gases such as nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide. These

windows. It would be aby-products also speed up the decomposition process and are damaging to other negatives and photographs that may be stored near them. If possible, have pictures on nitrate-based film converted to newer, safer film. At the very least, store nitrate based film away from your other photographs. Store away from pollutants, so don’t store them in a closet that has cleaning supplies. They should also be stored out of direct sunlight or fluorescent light.

When storing, use acid-free photograph materials. Each print or negative should be stored in a separate paper or plastic enclosure, so the prints or negatives do not touch. If the prints are mounted, be sure to place a sheet of paper of plastic between the pages. Store in an acid-free box or in an enameled steel file cabinet.

Many mass-produced photograph albums are made from photo-damaging materials. Albums can be safe if made of the proper materials.

For black and white photographs, toned prints tend to be more stable. This is performed during the developing process and results in the photograph having a brownish or purplish tone to it.

For color prints,

consider having black and white negative and prints made since these tend to last longer.

Finally, consider storing your photos electronically. You can do this by scanning photos or by taking negatives to a photo processor and having them put them in electronic format for you. Electronic storage isn’t infallible, but a CD-ROM won’t crack or fade like a traditional photograph. And if the electronic image is created professionally, you should be able to create new prints from the electronic image if you need to.

As you can see, there are several relatively simple things you can do to help your photographs last longer. By carefully choosing the mounting materials, storage materials, and storage location for you photographs, you can preserve memories for generations to enjoy.

Don’t forget to use a pen made to photo-graphs to write the date and the names of the people in the photograph. Writing the place the photo was taken in also a good. You might not think so, but 20 years from now even you might not remember who that person in the picture is.

Bring your family alive for those descendants 50 or 100 years from now, by preserving and labeling your memories of today.

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Family Favorites

Mini Apple Strudels

1-1/2 lbs. apples, about 3 large, such a Granny

      Smith, peeled and cut into 1/2” cubes         

6 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed

3 Tbs. confectioners sugar

1 tsp. lemon juice

3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

2 Tbs. + 1 tsp. granulated sugar, divided

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Coat nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add apples and 2 Tbs. sugar; cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar melts and apples begin to brown slightly, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and 1/4 cup water; cook until apples are tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside. Lay 1 phyllo sheet on work surface; coat with cooking spray. Repeat layering with 2 more phyllo sheets and cooking spray. Cut into thirds crosswise. Place 1/3 cup apple mixture about 2” from 1 short side and 1/4” from long sides. Fold short end of dough up over filling; fold 1/4” strip from each long side over center. Roll up to form strudel; transfer to baking sheet. Repeat layering remaining phyllo sheets with more cooking spray. Repeat cutting, filling and rolling up. Transfer remaining strudels to baking sheet. Lightly coat with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake 12-14 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned. Cool on pan on rack. Combine confectioners sugar with lemon juice until smooth; drizzle over strudels.

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Photo Questions

Our Wool Spinningwheel

Remember these spinning wheels from the old days. They sure had more character and were a lot more beautiful then the new style spinning wheel.

We acquired this from an antique shop and it really sets off the antique sewing corner.

We would love to hear your stories if you remember someone in your family owning one of these.

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Keb/Irish Gazette
 Nancy (Keb) Tubbs
19500 Co Rd 14
Bristol, IN 46507-9405

Send mail to chucktubbs@prodigy.net with questions or comments about this web site.
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Last modified: 10/12/09