Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Dogkiller and the Schoolhouse Cows

Let's take a little drive in my neighborhood on this overcast summer day. We'll be near the extinct town of Columbus. A lot of the roads along here don't even have fences or telephone poles, looking much like they have for the last 100 years. Some corn and crops, but mostly too hilly- just cattle grazing.
Down this hill is a sign we noticed recently that I want to show you.

Ah, here it is. The locals have been stopping and reading it, too. The chicory is in bloom along the road, very thick everywhere this year.
I'll walk over a bit closer to the sign. I feel conspicuous parking here in front of their place, but I imagine they're used to it at this point.
Just thought it was a nice sign. Sad story.
Let's get back in and head towards home. Here's my very rad 20-year-old Nissan. We will ride in fine style. My AC even works.
Near the first turn at the crossroads there is a nice old schoolhouse, I think I'll slow down and shoot it.
Hmmm, it seems that it's not entirely vacant.

Yup, there's some moozers in there. There's another one looking at us through the right-hand windy, if you look close.
Educated schoolhouse cows. It's not that hot out; they're not necessarily beating the heat, what are they up to in there?
Nope, you can't reach the forage from there.
More matching bovine in the back end of the building.
One last stare at each other, and then I'll drive on.
A few miles and turns later, and back on good ol' UU road.
My turnout is up the hill and a little notch on the right, visible if you click this up bigger. My place is just offscreen on the hill to the right. Just wanted to run the vehicle a bit today. I'll show off some more sights again soon.
And remember- Stop Stoppy!
Until then:

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Palingenesis : The RUBOTTOM Family in Missouri

I can trace my grandfather, Ray C. Rubottom, back to Ezekiel, the second Rubottom born in the U.S.
Ray's great-great grandfather, Thomas, came over from the Southeast corner of Lancashire, England, in 1763, and had his first son, Simon, in 1769, in Orange County, North Carolina, near present-day Siler City.
Ray came down from second son Ezekiel's line. 'Zeke was born in 1824, and Ray in 1890.
Ray is seen below, second from left, in 1914, (at about 24 years old) in the play Captain Racket. This is my earliest surviving picture of him.
Here's Ray on the far right, in front of the location of his first job, in Bismarck, Missouri. His Uncle John Hunter is in the center. I love Ray's sweater!
'Looks to me like the place right next door has recently suffered a fire or something, it's boarded-up and being worked on.
The earliest picture of my grandmother, Lucille Thompson. Shown with a Bismarck, Missouri school class in 1915. She would have been about 14 at the time.
Her folk's house in Belleview, Missouri. No longer standing.
Lucille in 1917, probably leaning on the Thompson house.
Lucille again. No date. There were a lot of pictures of her in the family files, and I liked so many of them that it was hard to narrow-down the ones to put in here. This one was an easy choice.
Like it says, below, no one knows who this is for sure,
but I like the pictures anyhoo.

Ray with a couple of friends. And his loud socks.
Two more photos from the files that we don't know anything about. Little biker Edward Coker could be a relation, and the bridge on the right is a very typical Missouri bridge and view, but I don't know who the fellas are.
Lucille and chix, 1917.
Cousins Mayme Signer, Celeste Burton, and Lucille.
"Lucille at 17."
A pensive Lucille in 1918.
Lucille in August, 1918. Three photos ahead, we see the same car parked in the same spot, one year later. A beautiful convertible.
My favorite shot of Ray and Lucille, all dressed-up and looking young and carefree in April 1919.
Unknown man with two ladies in a wheelbarrow. The one on the left may be Lucille.
Two in the wagon are worth one in the bush.

Ray with that car again, July 1919.
With some friends during WWI.
Ray (lower right) and some "nephews of Uncle Sam"

The next four pictures below we know nothing about, as far as who's in 'em, and where they are. I like them a lot, though, as representative of agriculture and farm work in Missouri in the '20s-'30s.
This style of mule-team work, for instance, is just how Ray worked his fields before he got a tractor. He made terraces and cleared out rocky land painstakingly with mule-power.
A trimming party.
A nice old-school tractor. What a rough ride they had back then, before rubber tires! Hellacious traction, though.
Ray in Bismarck, Missouri, with hog, 1920.
Lucille's parents Charles and Kathryn Thompson in 1921, with Dutch son-in-law G. W. (Gilbert) Signer and his daughter Nadine.
December 25th, 1923. Ray and Lucille's son Maurice Ray, born in 1921, and Nadine Signer at "grandmother's" in Bismarck. I'm not sure if this is the Thompson or old Rubottom place. Maurice is displaying his fine gun technique.
On the right, Ray, Lucille and Maurice, havin' a picnic. Perhaps with Gilbert and Nadine.
After Ray's graduation from Missouri University with a BS in Agriculture, 1925.
Ray and Maurice feeding the piggies, 1926.
Onion field going to seed,
photographed by Ray and Lucille on a trip to Olathe, Colorado, 1926.
I love this shot.
Maurice about to have a swim. I wonder if this is the Lake of the Ozarks, or perhaps the Missouri river?
This is such the classic picture of it's type, it's like a painting.
Aunt Dora and Uncle John Hunter, 1930. Another favorite picture.
Charles and Kate Thompson, 1930s. Notice the hat technique.
Rubottom son Maurice's 7th-grade class in 1934. I'm always a fan of class photos, so much detail, so many costumes and faces. Elbows-out, girls!
And Maurice with his first-prize birdhouse, 1934. He was always a great craftsman and carpenter, like his dad.
Ray with daughter Ruth Ann, born in 1935.
"December 25th, 1935, at Audra's." Five pictures ahead there's another family get-together where everyone is identified. Ray and Maurice are second and third from the right end, back, and Lucille and Ruth sit in the front, right.
Ruth Ann (my mother) at age two.
Ruth and Maurice and some dawg.
Maurice's 1938 report card from Bolivar High. Front and back.
Bolivar High School student paper, page one detail.
"Lost and Found" column from Tiger Tracks. I couldn't resist including this, as it's the definition of "prosaic", isn't it! A lovely list.
Charles and Kathryn Thompson's golden wedding anniversary.
Back row, l-to-r: Lee Denton, Maurice Rubottom, Ray Rubottom, Russell Thompson, Golda Thompson, Marie Denton, Nadine Signer.
Front: Gilbert Signer, Lucille Rubottom, Charles Thompson, Kate Thompson with Lyn Denton on her lap, Audra Signer.
Kids on lawn: Ruth Ann Rubottom, Betty Thompson, Charles Thompson,Bobby Thompson, and Donna Lee Denton.
From 1939 through 1940 Ray built the family's new farmhouse in Stet, Missouri.
The flier below, from the look of the graphics, I had assumed was from the forties- but Ruth tells me it must have been in the 1960s sometime. It figures, in a way- that area is so rural, I bet their posters did look about 30 years out-of-date.
Below, two 1943 ration books, included not only as wartime ephemera, but also because they have so many personal details about Ray and Lucille.

Letter from the bank, 1944. Those were different days, alright.
The Stet house, in 1945. With a TV antenna, I see. Hmmm, that's interesting. Well, it's dated on the back, so I'll trust that.
Letter from Maurice, WWII.
At Stet, the family dog in 1947.
Farmall Cub demonstration. Ray is in the front, third from left. A very detailed 8x10 print.
It's that dog with the embarrassing name again, next to the screen porch at the Stet house, 1947.
A beautiful 8x10 print of a drugstore interior. And no one knows why it's in our files, lol. I love the shot, though, definitely click on this one and check out the details. A typical small-town 1940s drugstore in December.
Again, that drugstore, now with unknown people. notice that the displays are slightly different, but it's still December.
Ruth Ann as a blonde. Well, we all try it sooner or later.
Ruth with ballet slippers. I enlarged some of her art, there on the right, for closer inspection. Ruth sang professionally, and always painted and drew very well.
"Ray and Thekla's brother, 1958." It seems Ray has been pulling a sledge full of material out somewhere on the farm to either spread or collect it.
A nice birthday card design by Ruth Ann, 1959.
On the farm in Stet, with Maurice, two of his three kids: Ellen and Greg, (Greta must not have been born yet) and Ray and Lucille. Note the fish lying in the foreground. Somebody's been a-fishin'.
Ray on Imperial Beach, near San Diego, on a trip out to meet my future dad, Fillmore, 1960.
"Ray with 4-lb. bass." Stet, 1960. Boy, I sure do remember a lot of summer months spent playing around that back yard and in the 100s of acres around there.
The house in 1960, after getting new siding, and the screen porch now had the glass louvers- more about those later. I wonder what the place looks like today.
Looking south, from the back yard, into the back 40, as it were. Chicken and hog outbuildings and the windmill. Ruth's horse Chico, just barely visible just behind the windmill.
Ray and some more tasty fish, Stet, 1960. This is mainly how I remember him- a semi-retired farmer doing some fishing and hanging out. An awfully sweet man.
The big barn at Stet. I spent a lot of childhood hours playing in there! And in the outbuildings around that area. The big concrete-block dairy barn lives just to the left, out of frame. You can barely see the little grain silo in back, on the left, where I used to go in and record stuff, for the super-reverb. To the right, the pasture is terraced, going down to the creek below. We also had a cemetery just off of our property (not our cemetery, though), which I always thought was cool, although sometimes the dogs would raid flower arrangements left there and drag 'em home!
Ray in the living room, Stet house. Probably Christmas 1964. That chair and the furnishings around there remained the same for another ten years and more, just as I remember them. There was a cool remote-control thingy for the huge (GE rotary push-button) TV they had, that lived near that chair, and I was always fascinated with that remote. It of course had a long cable trailing off of it!
Left, looking into the barn, and some stock staring back, and right, out in the south pasture, looking towards the house, in 1967.
The windmill. It was along time before I had the nerve, as a kid, to climb up to the top of that tower! It was a big deal to me. I love windmills.
And the works of the windmill, with a few cattle-pals about, 1967.
Photos by Ruth Ann.

The Rubottom name comes from RA: deer, and BOTOM: valley. 'Valley of Deer.'
Or, 'Dweller in the Rough Valley.'
The SHIELD, below, breaks down thusly:
silver and black, divided horizontally, upper third,
embattled between three roebucks, counterchanged.
And the CREST:
An eagle, or pellettee, strewn with black circles, preying on a silver wing, bleeding red.

I've included this 1973 newspaper ad from our files (which had some family-friend-thing on it's reverse), because it's such a lovely example of crappy paste-up, lol. Really just thrown together. Nice work. Just a bit of fun for the end of this chapter.

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