I’ve often been curious about certain ‘stories’ passed down. Here’s one that still remains a mystery. I’ll be posting several articles of the next few weeks about this particular mystery and my thoughts.
Today, however, I won’t say much as this newspaper article from a November 1925 Benzie Banner says a lot. For those of you who are wondering, this story is from my mom’s side. The man, Seth Coleman Gates, is my Grandma Jerome’s grandfather.
This photo was taken by a distant cousin who is as curious about these mysteries as I am. You’ll have to click on the picture and then click again to get it magnified.
Please forgive me for not posting yesterday. Like y’all are waiting on pins and needles for me to post. After spending last weekend at a writers conference my days are a little off. Anyway, the conference was great. If you get a chance to hear Deborah Raney, her husband Ken Raney or Ramona Tucker speak, take it. They’re great speakers and humble. I don’t think I’ve come across such humble, successful people before.
A few years ago, okay many years ago, when my kids were still little, they had bathtub crayons. I loved them. I could write all sorts of notes to myself on the shower walls, and this was before I really knew that I was called to write. Since that time I’ve often wished for a water proof laptop. There is just something about water that connects my creative synapses.
During one of the workshops, Ken Raney posted a picture of a dry erase board in the shower. *HUGE GRINS* Whenever I’m stuck on a story I hit the shower, drive or go do dishes. There is something about those activities that cause the mind to wander freely until story lines start popping. I’ll often go fill the sink with water, wash a few cups and then run to my laptop to write down a few snippets. Sometimes the dishwater will grow cold and it’ll take me several hours to accomplish them, but it helps my writing.
So, anyway I told hubs about this dry erase board in the shower to which I received a funny look. And DD questioned my sanity, to which I responded with, “where do you think I get most of my ideas?”
Hubs stopped what he was doing and said, “guess I better get the hot water heater working.”
I found it funny because our hot water heater has been on the brink for a few years. It’s not an old hot water heater and the part we need costs more than what we paid for the hot water heater itself. As you can imagine it’s kind of irritating.
This morning I searched Google for that shower dry erase board. I didn’t find one. What I did find was a bunch of forum boards for teachers discussing how they turned shower board into a dry erase board for their classroom. Now, don’t laugh. I ran out to the front room where our dry erase board is for school, grabbed the red marker and the eraser and wrote on the shower board in our bathroom. Who knew?
I’m not sure if I’ll actually use it though. If you’re familiar with dry erase boards you know the markers have a tendency to stain the white board. Seems from the discussion boards the Expo smelly markers are the best for removal. However, I think I’ll just keep searching for a white board I can attach to the shower wall. I don’t want to risk ruining my shower.
What are some of the strangest places you’ve come up with ideas? Keep it clean.
I’m bringing my Uncommon column to you a few days early and for good reason.
One thing you’ll come to learn about is that I used to be scared to death of tornadoes (still am a bit), but on the other hand I’m addicted to watching all things weather related during storm season. And yes, a huge part of me would love to go storm chasing. I’m getting to where I stand outside and take pictures of the clouds instead of totally bury my head in the sand.
Now, don’t get me wrong, when the sirens go off, okay usually before the sirens go off, I’ve got our safe place prepared and I’m usually sitting in there until I know exactly where the funnel cloud(s) have been spotted before I glance outside.
Today, as I write this, we are expecting storms in the afternoon. Given the pain in my head and the nervousness of the dogs, I know the storms will be somewhat strong. I’ve already called my mother and warned her the kid and I may ‘hang out” later. In the old days I would have already been there.
So, as typical Christina, I got off track. I was talking Uncommon, which led me to storm chasing, which led me to storms and myself. Now, let me backtrack.
Yesterday, I watched a small snippet on The Weather Channel about Reed Timmer. A fan of Storm Chasers, I have never been a huge fan of Timmer. I admire him for weather research. However, his enthusiasm in the midst of a tornadic storm keeps him from making wise decisions. Not that I have experience storm chasing, but I have experience of being in a car and being scared to death when the sirens are blaring and funnel clouds are forming in the sky. People like me, don’t need over overzealous storm chasers barreling down the road, honking their horns and confusing us further. If you’ve seen Storm Chasers you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve read the newspaper articles, you know what I’m talking about.
However, I found something hugely admirable in Timmer this week. Remember that snippet on The Weather Channel I mentioned? Well, it seems there is a young man whose dream is to be a storm chaser. This 15 year old young man, Nick Rodick, has Von Hippel Lindau disease. VHL is a disease that causes multiple tumors both malignant and benign.
Make a Wish Foundation and Reed Timmer teamed up to make this kid’s wish come true. Kudos to Timmer for stepping up and doing something uncommon. As I write this, no doubt, Timmer and Rodick are watching the radar and the skies over Oklahoma. Although I pray there are no deadly, damaging tornadoes, it is my prayer that this young man will experience storm chasing to its fullest and what better way than to do it with Timmer.
For more on this story and the video, click here.
Last time I brought you the story of Estella Gates. I for one can’t help but admire her tenacity. I mean she was a cut above the rest to stand out of the crowd and not only do a man’s job, but do it very well. I always wondered what sort of man stood by her side. I haven’t found much on William Moore Gates, but here is what I do know:
Married Sarah Estella Kendall August 6, 1884 in Clark Mills, Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
According to this flyer from Benzie County’s Sheriff’s Office, William was sheriff from 1910-1913 and again from 1918-1921. It’s been rumored that he was a game warden as well.
There is a story in Ninety Years Crossing Lake Michigan about one of Sheriff Gates’ investigations. It seems that on January 12, 1912, there was a fire at the Royal Frontenac Hotel in Frankfort. The fire began around midnight. Fortunately, there were no guests since the Royal Frontenac Hotel had closed down for the winter. Anyhooo, as word of the fire spread a gentleman by the name of Bill Rathburn rushed into the majestic hotel.
Why, you might ask. Well, it seems this man owned several slot machines, and since the fire was at the other end of the 500 ft hotel, he saw no reason not to run in and save his source of income. As nosy neighbors often do, people watched a man rush into the building, in the dead of night, and rush right back out with… loot. Now, whether or not they realized this man was the owner of the loot he was trying to save, nobody truly knows, but his actions would only add to the story of the year.
…set off a night of looting that was totally out of character for Frankfort residents. Townspeople ran into the building and emerged with chairs, tables, lamps, bedding, paintings–all manners of goods. If it could be carried, someone took it.
Ninety Years Crossing Lake Michigan The History of the Ann Arbor Car Ferries by Grant Brown, Jr. pg. 84
The greedy actions, so out of character, shocked the innocent and the victims of the fire. Some believed that since the hotel was closed for the winter and without a staff, the culprits wouldn’t get caught and therefore believed they had rights to their loot. Others believed that since the fire would destroy everything within in the building and would lose the stolen objects, then it was okay to steal.
Great, great, great grandpa William Gates and a detective showed up and declared otherwise. Supposedly it was against the law to steal from a burning building. And since all the items taken were much finer than anything that would have been found in most Frankfort homes, the hotel management generously offered to reduce the charges of larceny to petty larceny if the items were returned. Items were returned and each person was charged a fine of $9.10 for their crime.
I can’t help but wonder if there were a few items that were never returned. After all, the building did burn down and wasn’t rebuilt until the late forties to mid fifties. No body would really know, would they? It would be interesting to hear those stories.
So, what else do I know about William Moore Gates, besides the fact that he looked likes Kurt Russell from Tombstone.
He and Estella also ran a grocery store in Honor, Michigan. So, I guess you could say William was a go-getter type of a guy, but I also believe that he supported his wife’s career 100%, especially given that not only was his wife a sheriff in the years following his second term, but it seems he may have been one of her under sheriffs. And when Estella moved to Oklahoma to take a job as sheriff, he followed.
Now I don’t think that means she wore the pants in the family, I think it’s more of a supportive role he played. The distant cousins I’ve spoke with, who actually remember William and Estella and actually spent time at their grocery store as grandchildren, say they were the nicest people anyone could ever meet. And their parents, aunts and uncles had nothing but admiration for the sheriff duo.
I must thank several of my Thompson/Gates cousins for providing me with these interesting pieces of my ancestry.
I hope to one day visit this area of Michigan and see if I can’t find more stories from their days in Benzie County. Of course, there are many more stories of Grandma Sally and Grandpa Bill’s ancestry out of Michigan that I would love to research as well.
This is the grocery store that was in Honor, Michigan. It is no longer standing. The woman on the right side of the picture behind the counter is Estella Gates and I believe the man in the dark suit is William, but I cannot be sure. It seems he has the same nose and eyes as the photo above. Since I believe they are all related it is very difficult to tell.
Here is one more photo of William as a young man when he lived in Sheboygan. It is rumored that he had stayed with another family by the time he was eleven, suggesting that some sort of tragedy befell his family. Given that William was born one month before his father’s death, it is possible that his mother remarried. It is also possible that since William was the youngest of fifteen children that he could have gone to live with a sister at some point.
I’m guessing he couldn’t have been too poor since I’m certain paupers couldn’t afford to have photos taken and he must have been likable to have been elected sheriff, not once, but twice.
UNCOMMON MIRACLE – PRAYER BLITZ
By Zoe M. McCarthy
So I stopped and petitioned God many times during the day and when I woke during the night. Not having been given any direction from the Lord, I prayed for my grandson’s safety, courage, boldness, faith, encouragement, and comfort; for guidance, and counseling for his future; and that he do what is right. I bombarded God with whatever funneled into my mind.
I counted on what Paul said in Roman’s 8:26. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes according to God’s will. (NIV)
This prayer blitz went on for days. I kept 1 Samuel 12:23a in the forefront of my mind: As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. (NIV)
Almost two weeks after I answered God’s call to pray day and night, I received an email from my son titled: A Night in the ER. My son assured me my grandson suffered only minor injuries in a car-rolling accident. A photo followed. My grandson lay on an ER bed in a hospital gown and a neck brace. Wires spanned between him and monitors. My grandson’s smile was the only thing that calmed my spirit.
Then a photo arrived of the mangled car. A wooden fence stake was driven into the windshield on the passenger side where my grandson had sat. I learned the driver pushed the car’s speed and lost control. The car slid, crashed into a fence, and then rolled over and over.
The fence stake pierced my grandson’s leg a half inch from the artery in his groin. Many glass shards shot into his arm. The boy in the back wore no seatbelt, but had seconds during the slide to hook his feet under the seat in front of him. He received an eye socket injury when his head struck the car roof. The driver incurred less serious injuries.
How had my grandson and his two friends survived that mashed car? How had my grandson, covered with blood, exited the car on his own strength? This horrible accident had to be why God called me to pray for my grandson. Had my obedience to God’s directive made the difference between his life and death and that of his friends? What if I had disobeyed?
My grandson’s arm still has glass shards imbedded below his skin. I pray they remind him his survival was a miracle and only God can do miracles. As Romans 27 said above: the Spirit intercedes according to God’s will, and so I pray my grandson realizes God saved his life for a purpose.
Zoe M. McCarthy is a retired actuary turned full-time writer. Represented by Hartline Literary Agency, she spins contemporary Christian romances and short stories with helpings of humor. She has recently signed a contract on a romance novel.
Through her blog, Creative in Everything, she enjoys helping others find imaginative ways to engage people in their daily responsibilities.
Zoe and her husband live in mountainous Southwestern Virginia. They’ve raised two sons and enjoy playing with their five grandchildren. Creatively, of course.
Creative in Everything: http://zoemmccarthyblog.wordpress.com
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/ZoeMMcCarthyAuthor;
It’s a hectic week for me and I as I mentioned earlier in the week I wasn’t going to post. However, I got some news I thought you all might like to hear.
Yes, I sold another book. The Warrior’s Princess, book 2 in my Biblical series sold to Emily Rodmell at Love Inspired Historical.
I’m still trying to take in the fact that I am a published author. I just sold book one in October, to sell book two, a book I just started writing in November 2012, is all a little surreal.
What’s next? Writing more stories, of course. I’m currently working on A Warrior’s Love, book 3. I’ve also begun a new ancient series and can’t wait to work and plot those stories out as well. Book one is about a Greek merchant who buys a woman from an auction block in order to save her from an evil man. However, she’s not real appreciative of her rescue. YWHW, a Hebrew heroine, a Greek hero, high seas, pirating, Greek mythology… oh, so much fun!
Tomorrow I’m off to a writer’s conference and a research trip. Y’all have a great day!
Oh, and stop by Writing Prompts for our new venture called 3 Questions Wednesday. You won’t want to miss it!!