Silently, steadily I waited for my passerine friends to return to their snacking, my seat becoming damp and chilled. My neck ached and the lens wobbled, so I lowered my Nikon, fortunately. For in that unguarded moment my eye was caught by the imperceptible movement among the vines beneath the siskin snack shop. Stealthily I resumed my photographer’s yoga pose, a teeny-tiny path framed in my viewfinder. AH! From the the oak leaf-blanketed vinca emerged a soft gray cylindrical body, with barely a trace of eye or ear. This pink limbed critter has probably been living among the rocks at lawn’s edge all summer. It is only now, as I notice all of fall’s colors, that my mole lends her colors to my landscape palette.
Autumn heralds color changes; we all anticipate the breathtaking beauty of deciduous maples, oaks and aspen. If we are observant, we will also notice the rich colors birds sport after their fall molts. Adding to the seasonal surprise is the variation in the birds visiting our lawns and feeders. Here I captured my most recent irruption: Pine Siskins!
Amateur geologist Sayles begins his note by referencing an 1858 map of Pennsylvania, a product of geological surveys conducted between 1836-1857, and printed under the superintendence of Henry D. Rogers, Pennsylvania’s first State Geologist. The map can be accessed at the state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website.
As I studied this map – thoughts racing and crashing into one another – I discovered traces of the Minors and the Sayles, the Delehantys and the Corrigans. All of these pieces of my past had been influenced by the topography and the geology of the Keystone State, with its deposits of Devonian coal and oil.
With a jolt, I recognized the patterns so carefully displayed; the first Pennsylvania Geological Survey resembles a DCNR map published almost 150 years later!
So, it turns out that the Devonian sandstones Ira Sayles described in 1864 actually cap the black, organic-rich Marcellus Shale now at the center of my state’s natural gas fracking debate. The scavenger hunt for ancestor stories has led me, once again, full circle to my own story.
*The first American oil boom began with the drilling of Edwin Drake’s well in Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859.
“Church Record Sunday – describe a specific church record or a set of records held by a church or denomination and how they can assist genealogists. This is an ongoing series developed by Gena Philibert Ortega at Gena’s Genealogy.”
Trolling through the records of Greene County, Pennsylvania, I came across a transcription of the Goshen (John Corbly) Baptist Church minutes, 1773-1857, in which appear the names of several Minor ancestors.
Abia Minor and his wife, Margaret Pearson, became members shortly after bringing their young family to the wilds of southwestern Pennsylvania.
Met at Thomas Wrights and after singing and prayer proceeded to business. When Abia and Margaret Minor were received by a letter of dismission from Highestown, New Jersey.
John Pearson Minor (1791-1874), their eldest son, remained in the vicinity of Big Whiteley Creek and, as noted by local historian, William Hanna, in the 1888 History of Greene County, was among the prominent members of this congregation, “fervent in spirit” and”diligent in business, being extensively engaged in droving, and one of the active participants in the affairs of the Farmers and Drovers Bank of Waynesburg.”
This religiosity and business acumen would account for the inclusion of this handcut and bound booklet among the documents of the Minor Satchel.
We the undersigned do agree to pay the sum assigned to our names. To John Long, Corbly Garard, jonathan Garard, JP Minor, Vinson Long, Jeremiah Stewart and Abner Morris. A building committee for the benevolent purpose of building a meeting-house for the regular baptist church on big Whiteley, called Goshen. To be built of brick 43 feet by 55 feet, one story 14 feet high. To be built at or near the place where the old house now stands. The money subscribed to be paid, one half when the house is covered, and the balance when the house is completed. For the faithful performance of the above we here unto set our names and sum. This 12 day of December 1842.
The names and sums pledged are then duly recorded: you can review the entire document at flickr.com. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/31479748@N03/sets/72157629979227291/)
The addendum to this 1843 record states indicates that this brick building was completed by February of 1844:
Settled up all borrowed money and A Minor is to lift a note in the xxxxxxx for $220 and give up to John P. Minor xxxx. my hand this 19th day of February 1844.