Saturday, June 29, 2013


The gold ammo can I am holding is a gift from the North Central Ohio Geocachers to commemorate my 1,000th cache found--which happened earlier on the day this was presented, June 21st. 

That day, by the way, also included my girlfriend Sue and caching partner, Skagway071, finding her 700th cache...

...and, my 1,000th cache was the very first one ever put in place by Sue for other cachers to find. Confused?  I'm still trying to recover.

Here's how that memorable day unfolded:

Square dancing friends Mark and Nancy Meinzer, who introduced Sue and I (Skagway330) to geocaching almost exactly 11 months ago, wanted to be along when cache #1,000 arrived on my scorecard.  Turns out that outing could be arranged on the 21st, mentioned above, which also happened to be the scheduled day for a NCOG Meet & Greet in Galion.

I suspected something was up when I got an email from my Coast Guard friend Captphil inquiring whether I expected to achieve #1,000 before the Meet & Greet event.  I admitted that was my intent.

I'm also a believer in Murphy's Law which basically posits, "If something can go wrong it probably will."

The four of us then launched our search in the afternoon of the 21st and ricocheted around Mansfield for awhile using a smartphone app to guide us to promising hides.  Those phone apps are hard to see on a bright, sunny day and it turned out the first few were problems; some I had forgotten I had found earlier and some were out of service for one reason or another.

There was Mr. Murphy and his law looking over my shoulder.

But, we got our act together and #999 arrived on my scorecard.  Mark and Nancy did the photos in today's
story and that's Mark's photo of Sue and I walking back to the car with #999 in hand.  We found it to be a small metal tube hanging in a tree out west of Mansfield where W. 4th St., joins the new US 30 four lane.

Mark and Nancy had recorded this cache earlier so to keep things fair and square, Sue and I were launched from the car to make the find ourselves.  I have the cache in hand and it is easier to return the short distance to the car where the log can be signed in comfort.

In the lower photo I am recording my field notes on the find.  Also, you can see the little blue cache tube
lying in my lap between my hands.

Jubilation!  All that remained in this landmark quest was to drive back to the south side of Mansfield, "find" Sue's cache and sign the log, making it officially my #1,000 find.

Since I was driving on this expedition Nancy posted my four logs as they occurred so there would be official, witnessed evidence of our work.  Besides, it made me feel good.  Just for good measure we found several other caches as we made our way to the meeting and yet several others as we meandered back to Mansfield.

Note the word "Semper Paratus" on top of the gold can.  That is the US Coast Guard motto where I served four years of pleasurable active duty many years ago.  The award was presented to me by Captphil who happens to be a real, retired US Coast Guard captain with 26 years of active service--and himself an enthusiastic geocacher with more than 6,700 found caches to his credit.

I found it quite fitting when we stopped by the Clear Fork Reservoir as darkness was approaching where there is a cache I had logged earlier.  It is called "The Sentinel".  This cache was located in an aging, eight foot tall tree stump which stands like a sentinel guarding the south shore of the lake.  Mark and Nancy had not recorded this cache earlier, and, it was placed there by none other than Captphil.

Take that! Mr. Murphy.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

an eccentric bishop and maybe a ghost or two

The:"cottage" was the nearly life-long, Galion home of William Montgomery Brown said to be one of the most fascinating individuals in Galion's history and probably in the history of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the 20th Century.

According to his obituary, he was "...the first Bishop of his communion to be tried for heresy since the Reformation, and the first of any creed in America to be disposed for heretical teachings."

Brownella was Brown's home from its construction which began in 1885 to his death in 1937 except for a period when he served the church in Arkansas.

Construction of the cottage was paid for by a wealthy philanthropist from Cleveland.  Turns out Brown married that Cleveland lady's niece and adopted daughter, Ella Scranton Bradford.  The cottage name was created from the groom's and bride's names.

Brown was born in 1855 near Orville.  When he was 7 his widowed mother could not support her young family and "bound out" Brown to a neighbor who pretty much enslaved young Brown.  When he was 15 the county rescued him and he wound up with a pious family of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

That set the stage for his scholarly ricochet through adolescence, seminary at Kenyon College and divinity
school.  He married young Ms. Bradford, was ordained at Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland in 1883 and then was assigned to a Galion parish.

In 1897 Brown was elected Bishop of Arkansas and sent to Little Rock.  His support of a black Episcopal church there and his changing views led to his loss of support from the Church.

Obsessed with the idea he held the key to world salvation he and Ella returned to Galion where he had a nervous breakdown.  During his recuperation he began reading the works of Karl Marx and Charles Darwin.  He resigned his position as Bishop in 1912.

From then to1920 Brown underwent a startling conversion process.  His acceptance of socialism and Marxism led him to communism--not the variety that has since become loathed by the West.  He went on to accept "Brother Jesus" not as a real person but as an exponent of ethical ideas.

He suggested that Christianity derived from sun worship.

When the church general conference met in 1922 the church bishops presented a petition to indict Brown for heresy and ultimately convicted him.  He was deposed in 1925 and died in his beloved Brownella Cottage.

While such a colorful, controversial figure is hard to imagine in a small community like Galion, he apparently was well liked in the community and his will was generous including funds to support a hospital or home for the aged in town.

Extensive coverage of his trial, funeral and will in the New York Times attests to the fact he did, indeed, spill the beans "all over the place."

Today, the cottage often hosts paranormal investigations where stories abound of the Brown's continuing to roam the halls of Brownella, where there are tales of strange noises and visions of lights coming on and going off in the house.

And then it happened!  As friend Nancy Meinzer was pondering portraits of Marx, Stalin and Lenin (left) in one of the cottage's rooms a human-like shadow suddenly appeared on the wall to her right--then faded.  We examined the digital image in the camera and sought explanation it was simply Nancy's shadow from rear window light.

Or, was it?  

When and where?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


We recently were geocaching with friends Mark and Nancy Meinzer in Galion when we noticed the BROWNELLA COTTAGE was then open for tours.  Galion is Mark's hometown so we heeded his recommendation, stashed our gear and took the tour.  That's Mark and Nancy with Sue and our host, Amber, in one of the enclosed walkways connecting the cottage, Bishop Brown's study and the carriage house, right rear.

Telephones of the period like the one (right) were sprinkled throughout the cottage.  It appeared the four little buttons below the phone's mouthpiece were used to connect to extensions in other rooms--an early form of call forwarding?

Our little tour group pauses on an enclosed porch while Amber reminds us the vast majority of furnishings in the cottage are authentic remnants from the Brown's occupancy.

The study mentioned above is a free standing building down the left corridor of the lead photo and once served as a very early Catholic church in Galion.

Please stop by Saturday and join us as we enjoy the tour.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

all connect right here!  Or, do they?

It happens up there on Williams County Road #1 in the very northwestern corner of Ohio.

The aging asphalt surface of that country road dissolves into gravel when it encounters the Michigan state line at Sue's feet in the smaller photo.  It appears the Indiana line joins from the west, arriving near the point of the Williams County road sign to her right.

The thought-to-be precise point of juncture once was marked by an embedded, survey monument where she stands  It now appears to be gone; the likely victim of a snowplow or vandalism.  Or, since that marker displayed a prominent, cast letter "M" it is entirely conceivable its disappearance could be traced to the football rivalry that continues between OH and MI.  

To this day, the precise location of that confluence of state lines remains in question.

Way back in the early 1800s when Lewis and Clark wandered through the area, when Ohio was achieving statehood, a war erupted between MI and OH--well, sort of--over an argument about whether Toledo was to be in one state or the other..

Armed men from both states were deployed along the disputed boundary but it appears no one was ever killed in the "Toledo" war.  This dispute ended with a compromise that awarded what we now know as the Upper Peninsula to MI and Toledo, and a sliver of land to the west, was left in OH. 

Some folks continue to question the wisdom of that decision.

In those years the technology of land survey depended on crude, hardwood markers, not exactly permanent in nature.  In fact, one of those was recently found in a swamp in the area which has added to the question of where the tri-state boundary really is.

Both Michigan and Indiana legislatures are establishing boundary commissions to grapple with the problem.  After all matters such as which state one's property is in, taxation, and law enforcement jurisdictions, for examples, depend on precise boundaries.  Especially taxation.

Sue and I were in the area to work on this blog story while enjoying our delightful hobby of geocaching.  We find these little caches via the technological expedient of the global positioning system (GPS) which is capable of precise determination of latitude and longitude.

We drove directly to a cache in Michigan about 500 feet or so north of the tri-state boundary and found it with ease.  We also found a cache entitled "Three States, 1 Cache" which was hidden in the bushes near the road sign in the little photo above.

Naturally, you cannot hide a cache in the middle of a road.

We also traveled west a bit and found a cache in a little country cemetery in Indiana.

These caches were placed and found with precise measurement of coordinates on a grid covering the Earth's surface.

Finding the precise location of boundaries expressed in the historic language of various treaties and measured by antique technology is quite another thing.

*          *          *

We are not sure why the marker in our lead photo was placed in this field 130 feet north of the presumed, tri-state boundary.  Maybe it was due to the generosity of the land-owner.  What we are sure of is, neither of us had ever encountered a population of ticks on the order of magnitude we discovered while romping around in these weeds.

Turns out ticks were about as "buggy" as the precise location of this tri-state boundary.



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

and Catholic Basilica, Carey, OH

This was the last stop on a recent geocaching and blog outing that took Sue and I into northwestern Ohio where we found 11caches in two states (MI and IN) and eight counties new to us in our caching hobby.

Our main discovery on this adventure was the actual, tri-state boundary of OH, MI and IN, may or may not be where it is thought to be located.

We were attracted to this storyline because that tri-state boundary is the only one involving OH which is not submerged under a watercourse.

Fittingly, our last geocache of the day, found on the perimeter of this vast shrine location, was named "Hail Mary".

Please join us Saturday for this outing of discovery.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Two recent events have taken command of my interests; 1) I recently noticed I am within reach of the geocaching milestone of finding 1,000 caches and doing it before the first anniversary of my participation in this marvelous activity...

...and 2) I bought a motorcycle.

My count of geocaches found was 904 as of June 5th.  About 150 of them have occurred in the past couple of weeks.

The motorcycle, my first one ever, naturally compels my attention each warm and sunny day.

Consequently, the blog has taken a back seat; so much so that the recent story on the Ohio Genealogical Society was a hurry-up affair and did not achieve the quality I seek to present.  I did not make time, for example, to catch-up with the director of that facility for information evidently only he could provide.

Haste makes waste, so to speak.

So, this modest confession will serve as this week's blog offering.

Maybe next week I will have the story ready which involves our geocaching outing to MI and IN where we also took a look at the place where their boundaries join Ohio's without a river or lake obscuring the view of that geographic curiosity.

Maybe not.  

We are well into the 7th year of publishing Fogeyisms.  Good story material requires increasing effort and I really hope the blog never gets to be such a burden that I consider abandoning it entirely.

It still looks like a weekly article remains achievable.

After all, photography has been my most enduring of life's passions.  Imagine finding a way to do blog stories while traveling on the motorcycle and picking up geocaches along the way.

Please stay tuned.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bellville, Ohio

Just a few years ago corn was growing in the field where this building now sits on SR 97 between Bellville and I-71.

Today it is the home of the state's genealogical society library due, in large measure, to the generous donation of the land to the OGS by Mansfield's James Gorman family.

It didn't hurt that the OGS was formed in Mansfield beginning in the late 1950s.

That's when Dr. William R.M. Houston, Louise Krause, Raymond and Nellie Dent,  Dr, David Massa, Dr. Elizabeth (Betty) Reed and others decided to formalize the group and subsequently filed for incorporation in 1959 as the OGS.

Dr. Houston wrote the group's first constitution and it began with 52 charter members.

The first annual conference for the group was held in 1962 and hosted in a Park Ave., West home provided by Dr. Houston.

The original OGS library was formed in 1971 and housed in three rooms of Dr. Houston's home.  The group purchased its first microfilm reader in 1972 by collecting S & H green stamps from its members.

A building fund drive was originated in 1976 which led to the purchase of a home on W. Third St., in Mansfield in 1980.  In 1987 the society moved to the Bushnell house on Sturges Ave., in Mansfield.

Ten years later they purchased a former furniture store at 713 S. Main St. where they were able to provide  handicapped accessibility and had room for their growing collection and office space all on one floor.

Today the library is just behind collections of The Church of Latter Day Saints, The Daughters of the American Revolution and the Fort Wayne, IN public library which continues to provide its duplicate publications to the Bellville library said Iona Shawver, a library volunteer.

A very noteworthy level of accomplishment, don't you think, for a group formed just over 50 years ago and bringing pride in its growth to the Bellville area which is functionally the state headquarters of the fourth largest genealogical collection in the US. 

Visitors are welcomed to the very modern OGS facility by its digital message sign in the top photo.  Evidence of the massiveness of the library's collection is apparent in the two lower pictures.