Thursday, April 28, 2005

Pictures! Pictures! Pictures!

So, who wants to see pictures of my wood work


 I've been slaving away at this for months now and there is just so much of it. All of this has been done with shellac, gallons and gallons of the stuff. Just inhaling all the alcohol fumes has cost me many brain cells I'm sure! The stair risers, that isn't black paint. That is aniline dye stain and shellac over top. The amber color wood is the result of using a paint color wash to make the wood a uniform color instead of allowing it to end up blotchy from hard to remove 1840s paint. New wood would look this color if no stain was used. It is very "Beidermeier" which is what I wanted. The new wood floor is red oak with golden oak Minwax stain and three coats of shellac. It is getting two coats of thinned down polyurethane as I type this to help prevent the shellac from scratching since there is still work to do on the 2nd floor. The living room, that is shellac over natural wood. No stain is being used. Some white paint spots in dents were dotted with some brown paint to obscure them though! I have done much wood stripping in the past but have never considered using shellac before. The stuff is W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L (and I'm not saying that because I have inhaled a whole lot of fumes either.) It gives the wood a certain translucent depth that you cannot get with stain and polyurethane. Each coat drys in about an hour and you have to work fast to avoid lap marks but you can get 3 to 5 coats done in a day and sand between coats! I think everyone should use the stuff, even if you put some polyurethane over it.

A Matching Pair

This is one matching pair I wouldn't wish on anyone! If you read this a few weeks ago you would know that I whacked myself on the index finger with a roofing hammer while putting a roof on a garage. Well, yesterday, while installing oak flooring in the second floor hallway of "Ye olde house of meth" I managed to whack the forefinger of the same hand with a regular hammer. My finger is still throbbing, time for some more aspirin! Wanna see? 


 So now I have a matching pair!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The final chapter- for now! or

Sex, lies and microfilm

Well I went to the Library today and Minerva Jones has preserved her honor!

It turns out that Minnie Jones Kelly is her neice. She is the daughter of Minerva's younger brother Horace P. Jones. She married a guy named Kelly and had a son and a daughter. Horace A. Kelly who is buried beside her is actually her son and not her brother. I guess his sister got to pick out the stone marker.

Amazing what you find out at the library. While I was there I looked at some microfilm of the 1864 Dayton Newspaper. You know, just in case Samuel Edgar placed an ad for a new wife! There are lots of lawyer advertisements. Did you know that they had refridgerators, ice boxes and beer coolers in 1864? I also read an interesting story about a man with a horse cart who tried to beat the train at a crossing. The cowcatcher struck the cart splintering into fragments, the man was severely injured and the horse was unhurt! Fine homes sold for between $3500 and $5500 in Dayton at that time. Whiskey was $1.30 a gallon. General Grant was attacking Richmond and there were always lists of dead soldiers.

So, I will leave the story about Minerva alone for the time being. At least until I have another lead. One day I will have to tell you the story about Samuel's oldest daughter, Margaret and her husband's 50,000 acre land deal in South Dakota.

Anyway, here is the end to another story. My pigeons are gone! Must have been the stringged up cans attached to the underside of the roof BUT the mice are back on the third floor. If it isn't pigeon poop it is mice poop!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Civil War, Sex and Intrigue! Part 2

So you want more, eh? Well....... The truth of the matter is that Indiana marriage records indicate that Minerva did not marry William Young until September 7th, 1870. This would make sense since William was not released from the military until early 1866 and spent a year wandering around Georgia before returning to Indiana as the 1882 biography states. So she may not have even met him until after her divorce in 1867. So why did she seem to leave so quickly? The intrigue part really kicks in here..... Buried off in the corner of the Jones family plot are two graves. One reads "Horace A. Kelly 1890-1957 Brother" Next to it is one that reads "Minnie Jones Kelly 1864-1954" Did you catch that? Eh? "Minnie Jones Kelly 1864-1954" Now this is pure speculation on my part and I will have to do some research of birth records BUT if Minnie Jones Kelly was born after October 1864 then it is possible that Minerva (Jones) Edgar would have had some explaining to do to her husband and this could explain why she "deserted him without just cause" on April 26, 1864 as stated in the divorce petition. My guess is that Horace Kelly was a half brother to Minnie to another woman since there are 26 years between their years of birth. So, if Minerva ran off to have an illegitimate baby and later married a man 14 years her junior then I can see why the grand children were kept in the dark about the "family secret." Oh, by the way, here is what Minerva looked like, she is no "scream at the bingo table" but that is just my opinion.


 Samuel Edgar is pictured in the lower right on the main blog page in a portrait done in the 1860s. I suspect that the image of Minerva was done for a portrait but she wasn't around long enough to have it made!I just checked the obituary index at the Dayton Library website and Minnie J. Kelly is listed as having died April 1954 age 89 years and was a pioneer family member. Methinks I shall pay a visit to the library tomorrow to read the microfiche. Maybe it will say who dad was and more interesting who mum was...

Friday, April 22, 2005

Civil War, Sex and Intrigue!

Our house was built by one Samuel Dick Edgar sometime between 1840 and 1845. He was married in 1845 to 15 year old Minerva Jones. Samuel was 39 years old at the time. I suspect that the house was finished by the time they were married. His life is quite well documented locally since he was a prominent citizen but hers was not, She disappears from the census records in 1870 and for the longest time I wondered, what happened to Minerva? The descendants (her great great grandchildren I believe) that I met could only tell me that she ran off to Indianapolis with another man. That is what they were told. No one talked about Minerva. Then one day I found her! At the cemetery!


 What is even more bizarre is that she is buried in the same section as Samuel about 200 feet away from his huge granite pillar.


 So I did some research. She died in 1906 from a paralytic stroke. Must have been her cooking because that is what Samuel died from in 1874. She had married a man named William Young who was a Colonel at the end of the Civil War. ( So she traded a Brevet General with lots of money for a real Colonel with no money.) There had to be more to the story! I found their divorce records. Turns out that she "deserted" Samuel on April 26th, 1864 "without just cause." The papers were filed in 1867, Samuel having waited three years before he could file and these papers indicate that she was living in Indiana at that time. Hmmmmm.... Who was William Young? One day I was searching and bingo! I found this biography-  

WILLIAM G. YOUNG was born in Palestine, Crawford Co., Ill., February 5, 1844, son of Henry and Louisa (Haddock)Young, the former a native of New Jersey, and the latter of North Carolina, who removed to Illinois in an early day, were there married and lived till their deaths. William G. is the second of eight children, born to his parents, with whom he remained until 1860, when he started out on his own resources. In 1861, he enlisted as musician in the Eleventh Missouri Regiment Volunteer Infantry, and remained until July, 1862, when he was mustered out. He then enlisted in the Ninety-eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and was mustered in as Second Lieutenant at the organization of the company, serving about six months, when he was promoted to First Lieutenant, and in 1864, was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the One Hundred and Thirty-seventh United States Colored Troops; holding that position until January, 1866, when he was mustered out of the service. During his service he was in the battle of Chickamauga. He remained in Georgia one year, when he returned to Vincennes, and engaged in the boot and shoe trade, continuing till 1868, when he moved to Sullivan, where he has remained ever since, engaged in the dry goods, millinery and carpet business. He was united in marriage to Mrs. Minerva A. (Jones) Edgar, daughter of James H. and Mary A. (Ildings) Jones, natives of Dayton, Ohio, and to this union one child was born--William, deceased. He and wife are members of the Presbyterian Church, he being an Elder in the same, and he is an I. O. O. F., Sullivan Lodge, No. 147. Note The 137th U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment was organized at Selma, Alabama in April, 1865, and was one of the last units to be mustered into the Union Army under the Bureau of Colored Troops during the Civil War. The recruits mostly farmers and laborers were ex-slaves born throughout the southern states. Organization of the regiment began on April 8, 1865 in Selma, Alabama under the command of Colonel Martin R. Archer, one day before the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox. The unit transferred to Macon, Georgia and was mustered into United States service on June 1, 1865 almost two months after the surrender. Some units were assigned to cleanup and burial details in and near the Andersonville, Georgia Confederate prison. The entire regiment was mustered out of service on January 15, 1866. SOURCE: Regimental Papers. 137th United States Colored Infantry Regiment. National Archives, Washington, DC.  

Did you catch it? Did you see why no one ever discussed Minerva whenever the family was talked about? She died in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is buried in Dayton, Ohio in the same section of the cemetery as Samuel, on the Jones family plot with a huge "cost a small fortune marker" and no one told the grand children about her. Read the first line of the bio again. William was born in 1844. Minerva was 14 years old in 1844..... You know what that means don't you? Uh huh! In 1864 he was 20 and she was 34 and good old Samuel was 58 and busy providing wood and provisions for the families of Ohio soldiers off fighting in the war (which is why he was made a Brevet General) while his wife was off providing for the soldiers! It seems that Samuel was traded for a newer model and William really was Young! This is like something from the Jerry Springer show.  Here is William G. Young's photo and obituary


You will notice that he remarried after 1906. He died in 1928

Wanna know how to keep a bunch of houseblog readers in suspense? I will tell you tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005



To ANY home:

Two very stubborn pigeons.
No distinguishing features. They look like any other pigeons do but these two have exhibited extraordinary persistence and a strong desire to nest in one location. Definitely a breeding pair, you can double your investment in a short time.
They have been very good about NOT crapping where they roost and may even be toilet trained. They like to strut about on roof ledges and ceiling joists.
Dislikes include being disturbed, being yelled at, having pebbles thrown at them and lately, the site of soft drink cans hung by string near where they want to nest.
Should you want these fine birds, feel free to catch them yourself. (I have heard that salt on the tail works wonders.) Email me for directions.....
As a bonus gift you can have a squirrel. I see one is nesting in the roof of my front porch.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Anybody want pigeons?

I have been putting shellac on the wood moldings in the main entrance these last few days. This is sooooo time consuming because there is a lot of wood AND it is taking at least 5 coats to get the desired effect. Did I mention that I need to sand between some coats to ensure a smooth surface? Just as soon as my memory stick floppy adaptor that I got on Ebay arrives, I will post some pictures. I will say this though, it is looking good...

Now, how about those pigeons?

Well, I may have got rid of them. I will say this, they are persistent little buggers. Every time I go out on the balcony and shoo them away, they come back. I throw away their nesting materials and the next day there is more. I stand below them and throw pebbles at the rafters. They fly out and strut around on the roof sending me telepathic messages like

"Nyah, nyah,nyah na nyah!" and "We're higher than you are.."

So, in order to spook them and make them realize that they aren't really safe, I went up into the attic on that side of the house and crept over to a point that was 10 feet from them and above and in my most manly voice went


I didn't see them for the rest of the day... but that was yesterday....I'm sure they will be back.

Which reminds me of an old joke.

One day a fairy appeared before a statue of a naked man in the local park, waved her wand and the statue came alive. She said, "You have one hour before I have to turn you back into a statue to do anything you like."The statue smiled and pointed at a female statue across the park. The fairy said "Fair enough" and made that statue come to life too.
The two statues hastily ran off into the bushes. After 30 minutes the fairy got curious as to what these two statues were doing so she approached the bushes where she heard much laughter and giggling. Determined to know exactly what they were up to she stuck her ear up to the bushes where she heard....

"OK, this time you hold the pigeon down while I sh*t on it's head!"

Da, dum, dum - ching!

Friday, April 15, 2005

It's a menagerie

First it was a cat living in the basement (which we adopted). Then it was mice. Next came the raccoon that would sneak in and drink from the toilet leaving tell tale paw prints all over the house and crap along a particular beam in the attic. Then we had squirrels, then a bat. Next was the groundhog. Then more bats. After that it was mice again, but only on the 3rd floor. A possum lives under the front porch and triggers my motion lights at night but yesterday the worst nightmare arrived!


A pair of these are trying to nest on the balcony since I have no ceiling installed and despite attempts to shoo them off they keep coming back! Pigeons are dirty birds, they are crapping all over the porch floor!
I am being punished for that day I went fishing for pigeons from a friends highrise flat in London while still at college. Hey, we were bored and the fish weren't biting. (There were no fish in the Thames then.)

I wish I had some calcium dicarbide to feed them....

"Here birdy birdy!" munch, munch, uh? Kaboom!

Monday, April 11, 2005

I hate stripping wood BUT....

If there is one thing that I hate more than stripping paint, it is roofing!

I have just spent the last three days putting a new roof on the garage of one of the in-laws' properties. The weather was great for it but I still hate roofing. The total cost in materials, should anyone consider doing this themselves was less than $350. It took me a day and a half to remove two layers of shingles and another day and a half to put on the new layer. The concept is simple and straight forward, in fact I would even say that almost anyone could install a roof. In fact, I think everyone should do it at least once in their lifetime. Just like everyone should be a department store cashier for one Christmas season just to know what it is like. However, it is not easy work. It is physically gruelling and I ache everywhere right now. Just like I did 4 years ago when I did our roof. ( And swore I would NEVER do this again.)

You know what else, just when I was almost done. Down to the last few feet of the ridge capping in fact. Yeah, that's when I did it. I smacked the index finger of my left hand with the roofing hammer....

Now, if you feel inspired to know what this feels like then you need to grab a meat tenderizing hammer, add a pound to it's weight, put your finger on a counter and smack it with the finer of the two surfaces. If you want it to look like mine then the finger nail has to go red and the underside has to swell up like a hardened plum and even retain that plum color. Can you say Ouch? I must have been a sight, straddled across the roof ridge shaking my hand violently and with tears in my eyes as I muttered (whimpered more like) ooch, ooch, ooch. Ouch, ouch, ouch. Cussing and blowing, knowing full well that no roof job is complete until you have smacked your finger and christened the new shingle with blood....

I think I will take some aspirin and go to bed....

Did I mention I really hate roofing?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

A Gold Star and a Kiss on the Cheek goes to...

Kasmira at Cincinnati Cape Cod for correctly guessing that my entire day would be spent sweeping the floors and vacuuming all the dust that has accumulated on the second floor over the last 6 months because of all the sanding I have been doing!

There is a reason I am doing this. The main one is that I have to prepare the bathroom for the major onslaught of tiling that I need to do this month. I also need to put down the oak floor in the narrow hallway on the same floor. I've also managed to get much of the dust off the floor in the finished bedroom (it was really bad) but that will still require some oil soap and a floor mop.

I wonder how many times I have actually had to sweep the floors, I know it is a lot!

It isn't easy being me.....

Back to the job I do most often!

Can you guess what work I have done the most since we bought the house?

C'mon, you can guess.... It is really quite obvious.....

Well, I'm not going to tell you just yet, I will keep you guessing for a day...

In the meantime, I'm off to the house to do that work I do sooooooo often.

P.S. Here's a hint. Cough, cough!