Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Other Moline attractions

Between visits with relative and friends, a few local points of interest were squeezed into the week.  A few extra hours on Friday morning left time for a visit to the Rock Island Arsenal Museum.  The Rock Island Arsenal is the largest government-owned weapons manufacturing arsenal in the US,  It has been manufacturing military equipment and weapons since 1880.  Located on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River, it was originally established as Fort Armstrong in 1816.

The museum on the arsenal is nationally recognized for its impressive arms collection, numbering more than 1,100 firearms used by the military, as well as other foreign, civilian and military. The collection includes at least four weapons that were used by the Sioux or Cheyenne at the Battle of Little Bighorn.

In addition to this wall, the display cabinets continue the length of the back wall.  Twenty five percent of the collections small firearms are not on display.  Each section is color coded so you can identify the time period and origin of each gun.  Signs along the bottom note significant items.                     

During the Civil War a total of 1,964 Confederate prisoners were housed at the Rock Island Arsenal.  Mike is an avid Civil War buff and he knew some of the history connected with this chapter of the war.  According to Mike, there was a unit of soldiers who were "older"than most of the troops.  After one battle assignment, they were transferred to Rock Island to be prisoner guards.  This unit was nicknamed "The Gray Beards".  Today there is a small display regarding the prisoner camp that included some pictures of the compound.  According to Mike there used to be a large, complete diorama of the prison building complex.Today the only diorama is a layout of the arsenal buildings with pictures of their construction.                                                                                                       

Current diorama and pictures of the building construction in 1832

This is how they appear today

Buried in the military cemetery on Rock Island are 1,964 Confederate prisoners, 125 Union guards, including 49 members of the United States Colored troops, who also served as guards .  Most died from disease, since sanitation was primitive, heat and humidity were high during the summers, and temperatures during winters were freezing.  Also, in 1864 a deadly small pox epidemic raged through the prison.                                                                                                                                               

A trip to Western Township Cemetery for a visit with Maynard, Georgia, and Maynie Cook was sad but brought out many good memories of all three.  Marlin shared some childhood stories with Mike about when he and Maynie were young and lived here in Moline, Illinois.  Mike was only 9 when his Dad was killed in a car accident.                                                                                                         

On Saturday morning we managed a short bike ride on the path that runs for 60 miles along the Mississippi River.   In the town of Hampden we rode past the Brettun and Black building museum and stopped in for a quick look.  

One of the Historical society members was outside carving Black Walnuts into eagles.  We chatted with him for awhile and he gave us one to put on our Christmas tree.

Inside we talked with a member who gave us the information about the restoration of the building.  It all sounded very familiar!  Years of work by a few dedicated members.  The building was originally used as a pork packing warehouse, and later as an apple packing facility.  This reconstructed, hand operated dumb waiter brought barrels of apples from the lower floor to the top floor where they were pressed into cider.  

The other event we managed to fit in was  of course "The Wedding"

Beautiful setting for the ceremony

The reception tent

And of course, The Bride and Groom;  Will and Brittney Tolmie

Mother of the Groom, Candy Tolmie

Not a great picture of Bill Tolmie, farther of the Groom

And more relatives!

Linda and Tom Sharp

Candy's sister Maggi, with her daughter Kathi and grandsons Nick and Ty.  A great ending to a great week in Illinois.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Cousins, Uncles, Nephews and Maid Rites!

Visiting the town were Marlin spent his formative youth brings out the strong nostalgic feelings he usually keeps to himself.  When he was 14 his family moved to California, but many of the extended family remain in the area around Moline, Illinois.  This visit, for a cousin's wedding, included visits with many who returned from other locations in the country, as well as many still in this area.

Our first day in Moline we already had double booked!  The Smelcers, friends from Wisconsin, were passing through and wanted to meet us for lunch at the same time Mike Cook was arriving at the airport.  That was resolved by meeting Terry and Ken for breakfast, then picking up Uncle Bill and arriving at the airport by 10:30 to pick up Mike.

Uncle Bill Sackett is Marlin's mother's youngest (age 84) brother.

Mike Cook, Marlin's nephew, lives in Tacoma Washington.  As soon as we picked him up we were headed directly to the closest Maid Rite restaurant.  Maid Rite is a "variation on a theme". It starts with hamburger that is spiced, then steamed till it is completely crumbled.  They serve it on a bun with mustard, onion, and pickle.  There is an art to eating this local delight, usually with a spoon to finish up all that escaped from the roll.

The first of many this week.

Next stop was at Candy's house.  Candy Tolmie is a cousin on the Cook side of the family.  Her house is usually where the Cook clan gathers.  She is also the mother of the groom in the wedding we are here to attend.  This branch of Cook's are children of Marlin's Uncle Zip.

Candy's older brother, Jim Cook, a 20 year Air Force retiree, is visiting from the Detroit area.  He and his wife Mary, came here by way of month long trip to California and Nevada. Lots of catching up there.

Sister Maggie Cook Butterfield

Brother Joe Cook.  One more brother, Kenny, will be at the wedding.

Candy's grandchildren, Isabelle and Sean

Another day we squeezed in a visit to cousins on the Sackett side, even though they are McNalleys!

Bill and Carolyn McNalley and brother Don were pals of Marlin many years ago.  We always try to see them when we are in town.

Friday night we had dinner with Uncle Bob, Uncle Bill, and Bill's daughters, husbands, and grandchildren.

Marlin, Uncle Bob Sackett, and Uncle Bill Sackett.

Bill's daughters, Lisa and Amy

Lisa and Keith

 Adam, Emily, Amy and Blake Warren

Great Visit.  More relatives will be seen before we head out of town, that is for sure.  Enough for now!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Fall travels

Unusual for us to leave Maine in the summer or fall but the Illinois wedding invitation got Marlin's traveling shoes rattling in the closet, so we are off.

Our first stop was in Alfred, Maine, where we returned Lola home from a visit with us in Dixmont.  In the five days there, she taught me all the finer points of shopping in addition to being a great help with projects.

A poster for the Historical Society needed some artistic touches to brighten up the theme

She volunteered to mow the lawn for the last time this year.  Great job.

Adding a couple of extra travel days gave us a chance to visit with Jed, James, and Shellie.
Jed's cabin is coming along.  He just installed a major carrying timber, which will let him floor in the loft and finish the upper walls.

The 24 foot carrying timber

Major accomplishment.

Cabin fever has spread to Jed's son, Jacob.  He is building himself a tiny cabin at the top of the hill. Guess carpentry is just in the Cook boys genes.

Jacob helping at Jed's cabin

His own place! Didn't get to see Jacob this trip.  He was at Football camp all week.

Wednesday was a time for lots of talking, catching up, and making plans.  Great night at Sebago Brewing in Portland with these three.

Headed out of Maine on Thursday morning, with the first stop west of Albany, New York.  Looking forward to some new experiences.  The wedding is on the 26th in Moline, IL, then, because it is so close to Illinois, on to Colorado for some fishing before we head to New Mexico for Pueblo ruins at Chaco Canyon and Canyon de Chelly.