~~ Footprints – A History Lesson   3 comments

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“So you’re back again.  Have you decided on the property?  The clerk looked up and gave him a welcome smile.

“Not just yet.”  He replied,  “Today I’m here to do some research on it though.  Do you have records back to when it was first platted and sold?

“Not right here, but give me some time and I’ll dig up what I can find in the archives”.  She checked to see if there were any others waiting and then disappeared into another room.  Some fifteen minutes passed before she returned with a large manila envelope and an old, very worn portfolio.  “Sorry I took so long.  Had to go up to the history files for the portfolio.  If it wouldn’t upset you, I’d like to look at this with you.  I’ve never seen documents this old since I started work here”.

“I don’t mind.  I may have some questions that you can answer as I sort through this.  Let’s start with the most recent and work our way back”.  He opened the manila envelope and started to read.

The property, it seems, had only one owner listed as all of the filed tax information indicated that, until two years ago, all fees and taxes had been paid from a trust.  Two years ago the trust reached a level that would not cover any further payments and the property had reverted to the county for taxes in arrears.  They continued back through records of payments for 148 years.  He put all of the records back in the envelope and reached for the portfolio.  This was to be much more informative, not to mention, interesting.  In the portfolio was a handwritten copy of the trust in bold, flourshed lettering.  It placed a large amount of money to be escrowed by the county treasury for payment of taxes along with an annual stipend to be paid to his spouse, Mrs. Marie Lattimore.  The document was signed: George Andrew Lattimore, Esq.  Along with the trust he found some other documents in a packet, tied with a cord.  In it were the deed to the property, dated April 18, 1861 and papers that indicated that the land had been homesteaded from April 30, 1859 and that the terms of the homestead had been completed on March 31, 1861.

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These were carefully placed back in the portfolio, but as he was doing that, he noticed an envelope in a separate compartment. Quite simply, the front of the envelope was lettered: Marriage License.  Opening it he sat back, trying to hide the emotion that he was feeling.  He carefully unfolded the brittle, yellowed document.  It read:

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“This day, December 24, 1858, was married George Andrew Latimore, son of Andrew and Abigail Latimore, to Marie Luella Kissick, daughter of John and Phoebe Kissick”……..

An uncharacteristic tear trailed down his face from the corner of his eye.  Her name was Marie.  Part of the mystery was unfolding.  He brushed the moisture from his eye casually and looked over to the clerk who was still staring at the document.

“This is part of what I came here to find.  Is there any way to determine what happened to either or both of them…, and could I have a copy of this?”

She looked up, “Uh, maybe, if you went to the office downstairs.  They have the information on birth and death certificates for the county”.

He took the copy of the Marriage Certificate and as he started down the stairs he heard “…y’all come and let me know if you find anything, ok?”  The recorder’s office was nearly deserted except for a little old lady sipping coffee behind a behemoth of a desk.

“Help you find anything, sonny?”  She set the coffee on a coaster and ambled across the room.

“I hope so, I’m looking for a birth or death date on these people and anything you might be able to tell me about them from any records here.  It’s very old, I’m afraid.  I just hope you might have something.”

She took the copy and studied it for a minute, looked up at him and then spun on her heel and walked out of the room.  He was perplexed.  Did he stand there and wait?  Come back tomorrow?

From somewhere that sounded far, far away her heard a faint voice, “Come on in and grab yourself a chair.  This might take a while.  An a while it was before she came to the counter with copies of a couple of documents and laid them on the counter in front of him.  One page held data from a county census of 1880 and another of 1900.

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The other held birth, marriage, and death dates for George Andrew Latimore and Marie Kissick Latimore. The census indicated there was a daughter, Anne Marie, age 12, but nothing else.  He thanked her profusely and walked out to a bench in the courtyard beside the building to examine the information she had given him. The 1900 census only showed Marie Latimore as the principal resident and landowner, listing her occupation as storekeeper.

The census data confirmed that George Lattimore had indeed been a captain in the confederate cavalry.  He had been a cadet at West Point, going to the South when the southern states seceded from the Union.  He had been with Stuart’s cavalry at Gettysburg and at Lee’s surrender at Appomatox.    He had homesteaded on the lake with his wife, Marie, and owned a small leather goods and hardware store in the town and had been an outstanding civic leader.

The other records showed that George had been born in Lexington, Kentucky on August 15, 1838.  Married to Marie Kissick December 24, 1858, Died July 23, 1883.  Cause of death: Fell from a horse.  Marie Kissick was born in Louisville, Kentucky on June 10, 1839 and died at her home of natural causes on December 10, 1900.

He put the information in his briefcase and started toward the diner across the street for a cup of coffee and a sandwich.  His next stop would be the tax office.

“Here again…, so soon !  What can we do for you?

“Well, you can pull up the file on the lake property again.  I want to see the property boundaries, the amount of acreage, and lake frontage”.

“I didn’t bother to refile this yet.  I figured you’d be back again…, just not this soon.”

She laid the documents on a table and opened the survey platte.  It was very old and hand drawn.  The markings has faded somewhat and she went to get a magnifier so they could be seen more clearly.  It indicated that, in addition to the original homestead, George had later purchased the land on either side and the property that led down to the lakeshore and Marie had purchased a band of land that bordered the back of the homestead.  Tax records placed the acreage at nearly 200 acres. The cottage was centered at the back of the original homestead.  The survey indicated that the property extended from just beyond the top of the hill in the forest to the lake.  He couldn’t believe it.  What vision!  They had seen as their dream what he had felt when he first saw the lake from the top of the hill.  With this, his decision was made.  Now it was time to find what the cost would be.

“Ok, I want this piece of property.  First, how do I go about the purchase, and next, how much will I owe?  Oh, lord, he thought to himself…, what am I getting myself into?

The clerk smiled at him and pulled up a file with a sheaf of documents and figures.  “There wasn’t much going on here today so I took the time to research and determine the cost already.  This would be a tax sale, property sold for back taxes, and, since the house and any buildings were condemned four years ago, it’s for property only.  The back taxes,   late fees, and fees to process the sale, total exactly $6,162.00, and taxes due for this year would be about $1,210.62″.

Good grief, he thought, that’s less than the price of a used car.  Wonder why someone hasn’t grabbed this already.  He quickly took out his checkbook and glanced at the balance.  With what he had in savings and this account he could buy it outright with cash to spare.  He looked up at the clerk…

“How much should I write to cover a down payment until there is a closing on the property?  And how soon can a closing be arranged”?  He tried not to sound as anxious as he felt.

She smiled again.  “If you have the funds with you, we can close right here, right now.  I will arrange a quitclaim deed from the recorders office and the property will be deeded and titled in your name.  Fees for that will probably amount to about $125 and the documents could be ready tomorrow.  There’s no need for a title search but for your own protection you might want to purchase title insurance sometime in the future”.

“I’ll have to run over to the bank…, but here is a check for $500.oo to bind the sale.

“You have time.  We don’t close til 5:pm., and I’ll start the paperwork process.  See ya soon”!

The bank had been as busy as the county offices and he was back in less than thirty minutes.  He had transferred enough from savings to cover the back taxes, fees, and taxes due, with some left to cover any other fees that government offices could dream up.  They always seemed to be able to find some hidden costs.

The clerk was busy entering data into the computer and printing out docments.  She had a stack of documents and folders on a table next to her.  He recognized the portfolio and the tax files, but next to them was another, very old, file.  Hmmmm, another mystery…

“Ok, I think I have everything here now and we’re ready to do this.  I’ll explain everything as we go along and stop me if you have any questions, ok”?  She picked up a stack of papers and laid them in front of him with a pen.  They had been highlighted where he needed to sign or initial and as she talked, he signed.  Now came time for the check.

“It looks like, with all fees, and this year’s taxes, you owe a balance of $7, 483.87.  That is a final, total figure”.

He took out the checkbook, completed and signed the check and handed it to her.  She then gave him a receipt, a copy of a quitclaim deed, and a form indicating that the copy of his property deed and title would follow in three to five days.  That done, she reached over to the table and picked up the mystery file.

“Since you are now the property owner and all taxes and fees are current, I need to present this file to you.  I frankly don’t know what’s in it but instructions are that it is to be passed over to the new owner of this property, so…, here you are, and please sign this form for receipt of it, ok?  Oh, I took the liberty of going through the portfolio and removed any documents that weren’t tax related.  Here are the original homestead documents and the original deed and title for the land. Thought you might like to have them…., and the envelope with the marriage license.  We have no need for it.”

“Well now, are we all finished here”?  He was stunned by what he had just done – bought a run down cottage and about 200 acres of property.

“We’re all finished…, and congratulations !  Hope you’ll be happy with it.  Sounds like a pretty piece of property”.

“Goodbye now, and thanks for all your patience and help with this.  Thanks”!

He drove back to the house and changed clothes.  After another cup of coffee, he decided that there was still time to go over to the cottage – his cottage, and look over the land again.  It was getting chilly so he grabbed a warm jacket as he left, and as an afterthought, brought his briefcase and a flashlight with him.  This was to be a fortuitous afterthought.  As he reached the clearing at the edge of the woods he took in the view again, and it was breathtaking.  He didn’t feel like he was trespassing now…, more like he belonged here, and here belonged to him.  He went into the house and started to really take inventory, taking a pencil and pad from the briefcase and starting a list.  If it was possible, he wanted to restore the cottage and make it a home again – his home.

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The kitchen would need a lot of work – new doors on the cabinets, a countertop, a modern sink, and just a lot more.  The fireplace looked serviceable, but he would want to clean it to make sure that there were no obstructions in it.

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The hardwood floor would have to be sanded and refinished, the stairs needed new treads and maybe new risers, except for the kitchen and the windows and doors, it all seemed to be cometic.  Nothing he couldn’t do by himself, given time.  Getting to the cottage would be a major undertaking though.  He needed to build some kind of lane from the road back to the clearing…., and maybe a garage for the car.  At the moment it seemed overwhelming, but he would take it one-at-a-time and things would get done.  First the lane, then windows and doors………  Somewhere in the middle of all the planning he fell asleep on the torn old sofa.

You made me very happy today…., and you will be happy here…, both you and the Ghost.  I will be here with you for as long as you need me, but, there will be a time when someone will come to take my place with you.  Until that time, I will love you, watch over you, and guide you.  You have found me, my life, my dreams, and my love…, until he left me.  He was such a grand, commanding, and magnificent man, all while being gentle, tender, and loving.  You found some of his life, and his history.  You would have liked him, and he you, as you seem to be almost like the son we dreamed of but never had.  Rest now, I’m here with you……….

He woke, just in time to see the sun setting over the lake through the window.  It was chilly and he started to reach for his jacket before he realized that it covered him.  He had no idea how it got there… He took his list and the briefcase and went to the cellar.  He wrapped the old uniform and the pistol in a small canvas and stuck the sabre and scabbard through his belt.  Again, he carefully covered the cellar and weighted the boards with a couple of rocks and then started back to the house.

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It was enough for one day.  Ghost met him at the door, mewing and rubbing his legs.  He picked her up and looked into those mystic green eyes…”Little girl, we will soon have a new home…, and I think you’ll like it.”  He put his treasures in on the bed and came back to the kitchen to fix something to eat.

With a sandwich and a cup of coffee he started to settle down on the sofa when he remembered the “mystery package” he had left on the table.  After retrieving it, he sat down to finish his sandwich.  Ghost had joined him to beg some ham from the sandwich and was soon curled up beside him to sleep.  He carefully opened the packet and started to read the letter that was on the top.  He was more tired than he thought and his head slowly sank to his chest.  Ghost looked up at him, annoyed by his snores.

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White   10 comments

 
Capture

Before the dawn this morning

A nymph came out to play

In the mists as day was dawning

And she stayed for the whole day

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She picked her way among the trees

As she danced before the wind

She kissed the blooms and made them freeze

And their branches she would bend

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Her icy gown was shaded white and silver gray

She lingered til the dark of night

Then took the bright and shining light of day

And painted all in winter’s white

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The Snow Queen has come to impose her Winter Way on the land

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Good Night Everybody.  Stay Warm !!!

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We have 7 inches of new, heavy, wet snow with 3 more forecast overnight.  Did I ever tell y’all how much I really don’t like any of this…., all these 4-letter things like cold, snow, wind…???

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Posted November 13, 2014 by PapaBear in Experiences, Personal, Poetry

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Good Night   1 comment

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Words don’t come to me tonight

So I will lay the pen aside

And sleep til early morning’s light

Knowing failed…, but tried.

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GOOD NIGHT EVERYBODY !

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Posted November 10, 2014 by PapaBear in Experiences, Personal, Poetry

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Too much serious stuff going on….

I just felt like being Goofy again tonight !!!

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Posted November 6, 2014 by PapaBear in Humor, Prose

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~~ Only a Breath Away ~~   8 comments

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Only a breath away

You are with me always

In my heart you stay

Through all my nights and days

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You reach out and touch me

With your love and light

I can feel you holding me

 With a bond tender, tight

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You look down on me from above

My heart hears you softly say

My love is always yours, my love

I’m only a breath away

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Posted November 3, 2014 by PapaBear in A Little Romance, Experiences, Family, Memories, Personal, Poetry

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~~Footprints ~~ Of Cottages and Dreams…   3 comments

 

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He had tried to close his mind to the idea of purchasing the property and the cottage, but something just wasn’t permitting that to happen.  Time and time again he saw it in his mind…, the hill overlooking the lake with the cottage restored, nestled into a crescent shaped niche about halfway down the hillside.  He would sigh, shake his head and try to push the image away.

Work was becoming more demanding as the staffing in his office had been cut and many were forced to perform the work of two or three people.  He started to wonder how much longer it would be before more staffing cuts or corporate closed the location entirely.  Rather than wait until he received a notice, he decided to start looking for a less precarious position.  After some research online, looking at the newspapers, he checked in with a headhunter to start seriously circulating his resume.  They came up with seven companies that had positions that met his requirements, and he met their needs.  Now it was time to start setting appointments and interviewing.  Good luck !!!

The first two interviews didn’t seem too promising.  The first company was looking for someone with more multi-tasking experience and someone who could also help out in sales when necessary.  This really didn’t feel like a good fit to him…, or them.  He was trying to escape this type of work environment and not run to someone asking for more !  The second was a really small business and, while it looked attractive on the surface, it also, between the lines, showed signs of instability and no sense or promise of growing beyond it’s somewhat limited bounds. It didn’t seem worth the gamble to him.  Several weeks passed without any further interviews and it seemed that there wasn’t any more to do but muddle along as he’d been for a few years now.  It was, in a small way, discouraging.  He had been looking forward to a change.

He came through the door, stopped to hang his jacket on a hook and kicked off his shoes.  “It’s a jungle out there, Ghost.  I don’t think you’d like it.”  He dropped the mail on the kitchen table, drifted into the den and slumped into the old recliner.  Ghost followed and hopped up to sit in his lap, looking intently into his eyes.  “Ok, little girl…, what is it that you want?  Just give me a few minutes and I’ll be right with you.”  He propped his feet up, laid his head back into the cushion and was soon asleep.  Dutifully, his faithful cat followed suit, curling on his lap.  She was patient.

 I just came to see if you were alright.  You haven’t visited the cottage for some time now.  Is something wrong?  I know we each see it through different eyes.  I see it as bright, new, and fresh.  You see a ruined building, decaying and falling apart…, but I saw in your eyes that you liked something there…   Please come to visit again and stay for a little while.  Try to see it the way that I see it…, the way it could be again with the love of someone who cared for it.  She caressed his cheek and was gone.

He woke to Ghost rubbing against his cheek and licking him.  “Ok, little cat, I’ll get you some dinner…, and maybe some for myself too.  He rose and went to the kitchen to survey what was available in the fridge and pantry, settling for a couple of hot dogs, some beans, and some potato chips. The Ghost received her usual selection of canned tuna in oil.  The oil was supposed to be good for her coat.  The caress had seemed so real in his dream, but then…, maybe it was just the cat.

The beans and hot dogs took only a few minutes in the microwave and he was soon sitting at the table with the kitty having her meal at his feet.  He sorted through the mail, tossing all the junk mail into the wastebasket…, wait a minute, that last one didn’t look like the usual junk.  It was from one of the companies with which he had hoped to interview.  Instead of just ripping it open he took the time to use a letter opener and removed the enclosed letter.

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Thank you for your interest in employment with our company.  Your resume has been reviewed by our personnel staff along with other candidates.  You were not qualified for the position for which you applied, but we would like to interview you for another upcoming opening more in line with your interests and qualifications.  If interested, please call…..”

He sat back and reread the letter, wondering what they had in mind…, and why they found him not qualified for the job he’s applied for.  At any rate, he was interested enough to be calling them first thing tomorrow morning.  There were still a couple hours of daylight so he decided to take a walk out through the woods.  He seemed to think better out there away from any distractions.  He wanted to see the lake again anyway.  He grabbed a bottle of water and a flashlight and set out down the trail, taking the cutoff that led to the lake…, and coincidentally, the cottage.

It was late October and he noted that much of the forest was filled with the bare skeletons of trees, leaves having already fallen after several early frosts and he kicked through the detritus that covered the forest floor.  As he rounded the curve and turned at the fence he noted that the trees around the cottage had also shed their color, making the cottage look even more forlorn.  He wandered around the outside and around the remains of the implement shed, poking through the rusted remains.  He found a couple of rusted ax heads, a hammer head, and an old block plane that was marvelously intact.  He carried them over and deposited them on the front porch.  Wandering around the back of the house he found what could only be the entrance to a root cellar or some kind of underground storage.  He carefully moved boards that had once been a door and cautiously eased down into the abyss, switching on the flashlight.  It was a cellar for storing vegetables and food along with anything else that couldn’t be stored in the house.  There were several crockery urns and water jugs, an old sauerkraut cutter, a very worn butter churn, and a collection of butter presses, all made of wood, but well preserved in the dry air of the cellar.  Back in another recessed area he found an old walnut closet and a chest, both containing what looked like very dated, antebellum, men’s clothing.  They were covered in dust but, otherwise, not in bad condition.  At the bottom of the chest was an old military uniform…, gray wool with silver braid, buttons, and captain’s bars pinned to the collar.  Beside the uniform was a cavalry sabre and a  holstered revolver.  The belt on the uniform had a large silver buckle, engraved with the letters CS. 

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Whomever had worn it had been a captain in the Confederate cavalry.  He reverently replaced all of this and covered the chest with some worn canvas he found nearby.  Twilight was approaching and he wanted to take another look inside the house.  Replacing the boards over the outside entry, he went around front and inside. It was like he knew exactly where he wanted to go…  As  he entered he went immediately upstairs to the bedroom, looking through drawers and the closet.  He started to remove the necklace from the crystal bowl, but instead, placed the locket he’d found with the necklace and put the bowl on the bed.  In a small box he found some tintypes, not pausing to look at them, he put the box in the bowl also.  This was enough for now.  It was starting to get dark and he wanted to get back to the house while there was still some light.

Returning to the house, he deposited the bowl on the table and went to start a fire in the fireplace, Ghost complaining all the while.  His absence was not part of her evening routine and she was very vocal about it.  As the warmth spread through the room, he retrieved the bowl and sat down near the fire to examine his finds.  The necklace was the same relatively simple cameo that he’d seen before.  He was more interested to see if there were any pictures in the locket.  His curiosity was rewarded.  The interior revealed another picture of the young woman in the picture he had on the nightstand.  On the other side of the locket was a picture of a young man in uniform.  There was something so familiar about the soldier that he could have sworn he knew him, but this was absolutely impossible.  This picture had to be over almost 150 years old.  It hit him then….., the cottage, the clothing, the tools and all were relics from another era.  He was stunned.

Ghost was clamoring for attention.  He pulled her up into his lap, stroking her and scratching her behind the ears, which she loved.  Her response was to promptly curl up and go to sleep.  “Need to rest up so you can sleep when we go to bed, eh”?  He ruffled her coat and leaned back into the cushions.  He, once again, felt the pull, the urge, to examine the idea of buying the property.  First, though, he wanted to know some of the history of what he was considering…, the property, the cottage, the people.  He needed to know more.  This was northern country.  What was a Confederate officer doing here?  With that question in his mind, he drifted off to sleep.

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Trick or Treat…..(sort of)   2 comments

Central Great Lakes sector loop

Ok, folks…, it is Halloween, and Mother nature decided the terms of “Trick or Treat” today.  I guess the word is “Trick” because 38deg and mixed rain and snow sure ain’t no treat…, not for me anyway.  Rain I can do, but snow is just one of those 4-letter words I choose not to get close to.  I know it’s coming…, but this is just TOOOOO soon !!!   Well, you’ll have to excuse me now.  Its time to start up the fireplace.  Brrrrrrr!

 

Posted October 31, 2014 by PapaBear in Uncategorized

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