Saturday, December 21, 2013

David Crocket Old Town Alabama ...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Florida Memory - Harp Florida

Florida Memory - Search Results
Harp was the name of a rail station in Mulat near where Montecito and Mulat Road intersect now. It was HARP STATION between 1900 and 1940.  These photos recall a period around 1900. My in-laws come from this area and have names like, Tinsley, Brown, Gatewood and Burnett.  In an interview with Kathryn Burnett we got a lot of names on the record from around this area but in the 1935-45 time frame.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Honoring USS Houston Crew


Michael Aufiero in his Shrewsbury workshop. Below, the frame of his display case for the replica of the U.S.S. Houston being readied for shipment to the Navy Museum. (Photo above by Dan Natale; others courtesy of Michael Aufiero. Click to enlarge) By…

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Florida - Georgia Football -and WWII Vet

I interviewed Bill in my documentary on uss houston ( .
Bill is one of the very few survivors left from this episode of WWII.

1941 - The Asiatic Fleet - led by the USS Houston - was to take the first hit from the Japanese attacks since they
 were in China and Philippine waters. This was the plan. Then the US Pacific Fleet out of Pearl Harbor would rush out to their aid.

  Well, the Japanese did not read our war plans and they did it all wrong.  So - the Asiatic Fleet and eventually the Combined (what was left) fleet of Allies - faught and died for 3 months until they were all on the bottom of the sea.  A few survived. Most of the Houston crew ended up with "The Bridge on The River Kwai".   A third of those captured died in captivity. 

Since making the documentary years ago - I remain in touch with them.  Their website has been upgraded recently. The one I made for them with the help of a county college class in NJ did yeoman service for years. 
Look up   or and find more references to the Houston and the Asiatic Fleet.   Some of my interviews on my youtube website have survivors from the Asiatic Fleet too ... www. (see the veterans collection).

I hope you'll notice Bill as he is honored along with his long gone shipmates at the GA / FL games.

USS Houston (CA-30) Survivors Association
And Next Generations

From the organization:  "We’ve received word that USS Houston (CA-30) Survivor Bill Ingram, USN will be honored during the pregame activities of the upcoming University of Florida vs. University of Georgia football game. The game will be televised, on Saturday, November 2, 2013.  (a friend t spoke with Bill l and he said he was so excited that he didn’t think he would be able to sleep.Our best wishes to Bill…!)"

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Senate and House Majorities over time

This chart is VERY instructive. When Democrats have held the majority for most of last 80 years - they have had reasonably large to modest margins of control. When Republicans held the majorities, their margins were very slim. It only takes a few "liberal" Republicans to erase the advantage of a majority. The Senate had a famous "gang of five" liberal Republicans that weakened the value of the majority under Bush. The result was continuing heavy domestic spending and liberal public policy - much of which lead to the massive financial crash (which of course is blamed on Bush - along with the wars that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks - masterminded by a terrorist who Clinton felt was not important enough to capture when he had the chance). Republicans consistently fail to support their party in off year elections or when candidates fail to meet single issue demands of large voter blocks.

Combined--Control_of_the_U.S._House_of_Representatives_-_Control_of_the_U.S._Senate.png (1399�706)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

1972 News and Combat - Navy

In late 1972 and early 1973, the USS O'Callahan was often in combat up and down the Vietnam coast in support of ground troops or air combat elements. The primary location was near the DMZ (between the two Vietnams) usually supporting South Vietnamese Marines or dueling with shore based counter battery.  This AUDIO collection (with a few supporting pictures) is about 40 minutes long. The first HALF is essentially news from the period - a lot of it prior to Chrismas, 1972. The last HALF is a collection of audio recordings taken with a portable recorder tucked in my jacket in the pilot house of the ship where I stood my combat watches.  IF you can make out the gravely radio talk you'll hear call for fire and damage assessment reports. I did not record ALL the gunfire - so if you hear a call for ten rounds and only hear one or two it is because I was stopping the recorder to conserve battery juice. Other ship call signs are heard. Ours is IRISH SONG. I think SKIP ROPE is the overall boss of the gunfire for the five ships on the gunline. At the very end is a GQ alarm and also a sonar whistle just for reference. Typical chatter and noises from a ship underway. Enjoy.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Kilpatrick Collection

  1. Here is a photo collection from my cousins, the Kilpatricks of Chumuckla, FL. One of my favorites, here, shows a young Rodney Kilpatrick holding a chicken for slaughter. It is a classic. Rodney was a much loved and appreciated young family man in our town, who died of a heart attack at a young age.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Last Days of Vietnam War

WARTIME AUDIO with PHOTOS -- Some of my shipmates taped the news broadcast off Armed Forces Radio as we carried out various war related tasks at the end of the Vietnam War. The broadcast preserved here is like a microcosm of 20th Century history.  Plus Christmas music. And then - Gunfire. I sneaked a microphone in my jacket in the pilothouse and surreptitiously taped the voices on the bridge and from over the radio and sound powered phones.  It is a bit haunting now - 40 years later. I remember talking to WWII veterans 40 years after that war and thinking -- man ... these guys are really OLD! (Into the gunfire missions - note: there are numerous little blip sounds -- these are when I turned off the tape recorder to preserve battery or to avoid discovery - ) ( I am sure it was illegal with the secret radio voice traffic). Most of our missions at this time were gunfire support off the DMZ region - and mainly supporting South Vietnamese Marines -as nearly all US troops were out of this area by then. We had a week or so North around Haiphong Harbor to assist with B-52 bombers that were shot down in those Christmas bombing raids. (the news segment fills in some blanks there ). None of those bombers made it to "feet wet" so they could be rescued.

Chevy Billboards in Detroit, Michigan

Chevy Billboards in Detroit, Michigan
Check this blog out. Great memories from old cars.

Lambrecht Chevrolet collection

Video: Mother of all barn finds — the Lambrecht Chevrolet collection | Mac's Motor City Garage
Here is a real treat - a LOST COLLECTION of cars goes to auction. Watch the video from the link.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Chloe Channel - Wows With Cover of Carrie Underwood's "American Girl" - ...

a Genuine HOMETOWN girl from CHUMUCKLA, Florida. (well, Pace, but 12 mile up the road is where she was a big hit at the Farmer's Opry from age 7.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Photo of my Mother In Law - ca 1940

3x5 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.
I played some with this picture in photoshop. The original was blurry but it has great composition. This is my mother-in-law - about age 16 at her home in Atlanta. She was raised there but all her family roots are here near Milton, FL and she taught school here and retired and was a Methodist minister in the region and retired. She is now 89. "Here I come world !"

WWII Aircraft Photo's

Mission4Today › ForumsPro › R & R Forums › Photo Galleries › WWII Aircraft Photo's › USA
You can spend hours just admiring the planes here - and the photography.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

A Father's War Stories

My Father's War Stories from World War II: Part One |
A blog containing one soldiers's documentation of WWII. I thought I would pass this along from my friend, Richard Simms whose dad was killed in a bomb attack on USS Franklin near the end of the war.  Richard has a comedy Banjo act that he often puts on for soldiers in transit at Dallas FW Airport.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sweeney Bayou Song

The Milton Sunrise Kiwanis Club had a hayride in April on a farm in Chumuckla. Don Sweeney was the entertainment, providing a number of country and folk songs on the ride and afterward.  Most of his songs are written and arranged by himself.  He bills himself as a singer, songwriter and storyteller. His phone number is 850-554-5154.  The Sunrise Kiwanis has breakfast at 7AM every Wednesday a Tanglewood Golf Course in Milton. Consider being involved with a community minded group like this.
PS - Uncle Vic got to be the tractor driver !

Monday, April 15, 2013

RuralSWAlabama's photostream

Bellamy, AL - "The Rooster Bridge" Historical MarkerBladon Springs, AL - Bladon Springs State ParkGosport, AL - Woodlands Plantation Home (1840)Gosport, AL - Woodlands Plantation Home (1840)Gosport, AL - Woodlands Plantation Home (1840)Gosport, AL - Woodlands Plantation Home (1840)
Gosport, AL - Woodlands Plantation Home (1840)Thomasville, AL - Williams' Temple CME Church (consolidated with Booker City to form Miles College)Thomasville, AL - Williams' Temple CME Church (consolidated with Booker City to form Miles College)Thomasville, AL - Williams' Temple CME Church (consolidated with Booker City to form Miles College)Thomasville, AL - Williams' Temple CME Church (consolidated with Booker City to form Miles College)Thomasville, AL - Williams' Temple CME Church (consolidated with Booker City to form Miles College)
Thomasville, AL - Williams' Temple CME Church (consolidated with Booker City to form Miles College)Thomasville, AL - Williams' Temple CME Church (consolidated with Booker City to form Miles College)Cahaba, AL - St. Luke's Episcopal Church (built 1854)Cahaba, AL - St. Luke's Episcopal Church (built 1854)Cahaba, AL - St. Luke's Episcopal Church (built 1854)Cahaba, AL - St. Luke's Episcopal Church (built 1854)
Cahaba, AL - St. Luke's Episcopal Church (built 1854)Cahaba, AL - St. Luke's Episcopal Church (built 1854)Cahaba, AL - St. Luke's Episcopal Church (built 1854)Cahaba, AL - St. Luke's Episcopal Church (built 1854)Eutaw, AL - Winston-McAlpine House (ca. 1880)Eutaw, AL - Oliver-Braune  House (mid 1850’s)

Someone posted a photo from this page on Facebook and I found it very interesting. This is a region very important to the initial US development of NW Florida because so many of the American colonizers moved through or settled in this region first. I hope we can develop such a good collection of historic rural NW Florida homes.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Apalachicola, At LAST (Pay attention Hernando)

.... ... (click HERE for the full series, read bottom post first)
The very next day, we drove over to Apalachicola where the bay of wonder oysters are soaking up the
somewhat massive flow of  fresh water out of Georgia and Alabama. The Flint and Chattahoochee rivers join up nearBainbridge Georgia and form the Apalachicola. DeSoto found this path and followed it as far as reasonable up North. As it turns out – to this very day, the Indians of that area, who were called the Apalachee and the Apalachicola, live on as the name for the whole water basin and mountain chain that knifes its way all the way to Maine. DeSoto sent his Captain of Infantry, Maldonado, by ship to the bay of Achusi (Pensacola - probably on Mulat Bayou) to meet him with a resupply of provisions at some later date. He came close - but after a battle with the Tuscaluza  at  Movila (Mobile) he turned his party North (again)  toward Tennessee and West to the Mississippi River.So, DeSoto totally missed Maldonado's camp by only a few days march, and later ran into mortal disaster further West. The Indian deaths in this and the prior Naravez expedition were horrific but inconsequential when you consider the likely millions in the Americas who died over the next 50 years from contagious pathogens unwittingly spread among a population with zero resistance.

 DeSoto never got much further North than the base of the Appalachian foothills before he headed West but the name stuck. A lot of people walk the trail every year and have no clue that way down South where the streams flow into the Gulf, is a town and a bay anchoring their Appalachian path.
mentioned earlier (in this blog)  about the Chattahoochee River, bordering Georgia and Alabama. The idyllic Town of Eufala, Alabama is bordered by those waters that flow to an oyster paradise. 
The headwaters of the Chattahoochee begin North of Gainesville, Georgia and form Lake Lanier. When a drought condition exists, Lake Lanier has to dump all its water out to help feed the oysters in Florida. Sometimes the cotton 
and cattle in Georgia take priority and the oysters get only a half glass, which is probably seen as half full by the Cattlemen in Georgia (and Alabama).
I can see a time coming when the Oyster Wars break out along the Tri-State borders for Florida, Alabama and Georgia. It will be like the old wild west Sheep wars of the 19th century, with a battle of Oyster-men vs Cotton Farmers vs Cattlemen – and maybe sail boat enthusiasts from Lake Lanier and Bass fishermen from Lake Walter George. Bring your own oyster knife.
This is only the start of THE OLD FLORIDA tour and I will cover more of Apalachicola in the next post. Be sure to follow the links in the blog - it may become habitually entertaining. Scroll down the blog for earlier posts.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Father's poems - Son was Afghanistan Casualty

Father’s words offer healing, attention to PTSD | | East Brunswick Sentinel
I am posting this link because I have observed this family for several years now as they deal with the stress of family loss.  Not only did the son die in combat - but his sister later became overwhelmed with grief and took her life as well.  The books Bill Koch writes and the work his wife does with veterans are expressions beyond the call of patriotism. In their caring efforts, they find solace in action for others.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

ALMOST to Florida

From Eufaula, the road shoots due South to find itself ending in Dothan, Alabama where it joins US Highway 231 out of Montgomery.  US 231 is the gateway to Florida from that part of Alabama.  Just before reaching Dothan, we passed a marshalling area for harvested cotton modules. A cotton module is essentially a tractor-trailer load of compressed raw cotton, ready for the gin (which is called that for short because at first it was called "Eli Whitney's Cotton EnGINe". In any case, I was impressed by the number of modules we saw. I am guessing we saw at least 500 modules in a single location --  and each consisting of about 40, 500 pound bales or 10 metric tons.  I have seen 40 or 50 at a time around the gin at Jay, Florida, near home and it is common to see a half dozen or even a dozen after some of the local fields near home are picked.  But to see 500. That was a lot.  The cotton is already transferred from the farmer to the gin as property once the cotton is in a module. This is a practical matter of liability and commerce. Here is a book I highly recommend.

Just to the West of us at this point is Fort Rucker, US Army Post. It is not unusual around here to see an Army helicopter chopping along. My great-grandpa Carswell came back to that area around Daleville after the “Late Unpleasantness” to become a  minister and rather poor dirt farmer. He never talked much about his experience with the US Army in 1864-65. He was their prisoner at Rock Island in Southern Illinois after being captured by Sheridan’s people at Chattanooga’s Missionary Ridge. Only one in four who walked in the gates came out alive. He was one of the 500 survivors. My friend from High School, Dan Holt, had a great grandfather at the same prison. He was in a sister brigade beside my great grandfather on Missionary Ridge that day when Sheridan’s troops disobeyed his order to hold at the base of the hill and instead, rushed forward against thin lines and broke the siege of Chattanooga.  My ancestor, Robert Knight Carswell was a lifelong Democrat until he was on his deathbed. At that point, he had his voter registration changed to REPUBLICAN because he wanted one more Republican (same thing as a “union soldier” in his mind ) to die off the voter rolls rather than a Democrat.

Dothan, Alabama impresses me.  There are obvious signs of economic growth in this town. I think Dothan is the one of the top five largest cities in Alabama now. (Birmingham and Hoover are one metro area. Huntsville and Decatur rank as one metro area too.)  I hate to make comparisons but I get the sense Dothan and Huntsville and Birmingham have the greatest progress among Alabama cities in the last decades. Montgomery is in decay on the inside with an Eastward bulge of economic success OUTSIDE of the city limits. Mobile has large blighted areas but is kindling success with new industry growth around ship-building and aircraft manufacture. Selma looks sadly "dead" downtown, its days of high commerce long gone.  Well, enough about Alabama. It is on our list to spend many weeks there in discovery.  There is much to see. OK -- I promise - the OLD FLORIDA tour begins with the next post (You can select to be notified of the next post using the link in the upper right corner of the blog.)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Getting to Florida

Through a turn of events we actually began our Florida tour coming out of Auburn, Alabama where our son is in his senior year of college.  We picked up state connecting roads out of Opelika to take us to US Highway 431 South, which is a superb four lane highway.

The Marquis de LaFayette, passed this way in 1825 on his grand tour of the America he helped to birth some five decades earlier. He was the last surviving general of the American Revolution. He was like a Rock Star of the day.  The Creek Indians participated in the welcome (the Creek War was about 10 years earlier - an extending circumstance of the War of 1812 with Britain - (yet again, the Brits). They held a ball game  in the Marquis’ honor (like lacrosse). The game ran late and traffic held up the wagons causing a day’s delay in his arrival at Montgomery where a special ball and party was planned the night before. Traffic on game day is still a problem in the area. Did I mention that George Washington was with the Marquis on that trip? Well, his son, George W was named after the Marquis’  former boss. The tavern he stayed in prior to arriving in Montgomery is preserved in Old Alabama Town.

Essentially Highway 431  follows the Chattahoochee RIver for most of the route and then bears South West. The town of Eufaula, there on the banks of the River facing Georgia, carries some of the glory of "The Old South" in character of the old homes. I've always liked Eufaula. It was one of my favorite places to stay overnight decades ago when I travelled the South for an Animal Health company.  

I'd usually stop by the Tom Mann fish aquarium and shop for plastic fishing worms in his store. He made one of the early fortunes in artificial plastic worms for fishing.  Tom Mann was a Creek Indian and he knew so much more than most of us will ever forget about the history that passed those river banks. He is dead now. The old aquarium is gone. The store is gone. I miss that.  But the area around Eufaula seems to be thriving. They had some upscale stores South of town.

Keep Eufaula and the upper reaches of the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers in mind because they form the Apalachicola River and  if won’t be long before you’ll be reading my posts about the connection this River made with ports on the Southern end. The next blog post will take us from Here to Panama City. Then we will get back over to the Apalachicola River a few days later.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Natives Tour Florida

From 2012-10c
We started this expedition in Florida in early January. We are not exactly typical Florida tourists. We are native to the state ... although from the forgotten part of the state at that - the far NW Panhandle. But we have lived AWAY from our roots for the past 40 years - the last 25 in New Jersey. We remembered glimpses of the state from visits in that time but we never got to absorb the region as we can now - from a small motorhome.

We were surprised in December to travel only three hours from home near Pensacola to Wakulla Springs and find herds of manatees in the river there. We expected the other wildlife, the alligators, the birds -- but we thought the manatees were a fixture of SOUTH Florida. And, here they were - right up at our latitude. To be fair - they do not even advertise in the Wakulla Springs brochure that there are manatees there because nearly all their tourism is in the summer and the manatees don't come up the river in the summer because they do not need the protection of the constant 68 degree water in the summer. Winter at that latitude can put a sheet of thin ice over these shallow spring fed rivers and it is deadly to manatees.  So, they move North in the river to the springs and find relative warmth. We liked the boat ride so much we took a second trip to Wakulla Springs a few weeks after our first.  

The wildlife in and around the river there has not been hunted or fished in nearly 100 years. They observe the passing boats with tourists as a  minor distraction to be ignored. It is a photographer's playground.

The December trip led us to explore a potential extended Florida camping trip, similar to the Black Hills trip we took in late 2011.  The winter season is more comfortable for Florida and it turns out that even with snowbirds in relative abundance, the natural parts of Florida are not terribly crowded.  So, our January plans were put in motion. - Follow this blog for progress reports.