Saturday, September 30, 2006

Tater's 9-month pictures

If the bearable temperatures and lower humidity haven't clued you in yet, this picture received from my sister confirms it.


And, if this picture doesn't make you grin, there's something seriously wrong with you.


er . . . um. . . I mean, GO GATORS, BEAT 'BAMA!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Coalition for Property Rights

I enjoyed a hearty breakfast at Charlene's this morning.

Actually did a lot more listening than usual, as my Uncle Barry and Doug Doudney discussed property rights issues among other things over their cholesterol-laden choices.

I had oatmeal and whole-grain toast.

Anyway, Doug heads the Coalition for Property Rights. Check out their web site if you want to get an idea of the earful I got today.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Greater Orlando Civil War Roundtable

Just a reminder. I will be speaking to this group tonight, at 7:30, at the Marks Street Senior Center.

That's located at 99 East Marks Street, between Magnolia and Orange Avenues, in downtown Orlando.

I'm going to be talking to them about some of the underutilized/overlooked resources I used to research my recent book, including:

American Local History Network
Orange County Public Library
Alachua County Library District
2 Check Out
UCF's Special Collections
Western Historic Manuscripts
Wilson Library at UNC
Florida state archives
Illinois state archives
National Park Service
Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System
National Archives

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

No, Uncle Buck was not a VMI cadet

Well, at least he wasn't the William H. Morgan who graduated from VMI in 1859, alongside one of the Hutters of "Sandusky."

Greg Starbuck of Historic Sandusky sent me these pictures of that cadet along with a couple of his poker buddies. (They actually wrote down the results of one of their games on the back of one of these pictures.)

After some digging, I did find a copy of Buck's obituary. It says that he was a graduate of Emory & Henry College, which is what I suspected all along.

So, after this clarification, I know of only one VMI graduate in the family: Gen. William M. Stokes (father of cousin Wayne S. Goodall).

But, we do have 2 Citadel graduates: my dad, and Lt. Cdr. Breckenridge Morgan, USN.

Anybody know of other military school grads in the extended family?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Letter to the Editor in today's Orlando Sentinel

Worthwhile purchase

September 26, 2006

In response to Kevin Spear's front-page story, "State may buy land at 50% markup":

As a 10th-generation Floridian, I am glad to see the bureaucrats at the St. Johns River Water Management District have finally gotten both the State of Florida and Orange County to agree on the purchase of the Joshua Creek Conservation Area.

It is true that the current owners are going to make a sizable profit. But the state has been twiddling its thumbs for more than two decades before finally agreeing to buy the land. Time is money.

What dismays me more is the coverage the acquisition has received in the local media.

One television station bemoaned the cost of these undeveloped parcels of land that "no one will ever live or drive on."

When are all the newcomers around here going to wake up to the fact that Central Florida land isn't to be used only for more buildings and cars?

As more and more people crowd in around us, we Central Floridians need to take more proactive steps to preserve undeveloped areas for the sake of both posterity and our own well-being.

I, for one, hope that Gov. Jeb Bush and his Cabinet approve the purchase of the Joshua Creek Conservation Area.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Did Uncle Buck go to VMI?!

I got an interesting email today from Greg Starbuck, executive director of Historic Sandusky. ("Sandusky" is the name of an old home near Lynchburg that is briefly mentioned in my recent book.)

He has come across a photo of one William H. Morgan, VMI cadet, and believes he may be the same fellow who inspired my book.

That would indeed be a find, if true.

I had always assumed that "Uncle Buck" attended Emory & Henry. That's where his elder brother James Lorenzo Morgan went to college. (Did I mention he was a classmate of Jeb Stuart?!)

Anyway, I have asked Greg to scan and email me a copy of the photo so I can see if there is some resemblance to known photos of Buck.

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Kin Ships

Forgot to mention in my post on Friday, but Joe Miller had a link to a site that sells prints of a lot of the vessels that brought our ancestors to this country.

I've already got my order together. Getting one of the S.S. England and one of the S.S. Mauretania.

The cool thing is they're offering a 3rd print for free, so I'm going to get an extra S.S. England.

Now, back to football.

First day of Fall

The cooler temperatures may not have arrived down here, yet. But, today is still the first day of Fall, according to the eggheads who keep track of such things.

I spent the better part of the day hunting for a console table.

Exciting, huh?

Unfortunately, it was a fruitless effort. I think the required dimensions are working against me. I need something 6-feet long. Apparently, modern furniture manufacturers only generate product lines for midgets.

Any suggestions on how to solve this problem would be appreciated.

The day did get better, though.

As everyone in the South knows, Fall also brings FOOTBALL. So, I was able to forget about my furniture frustrations this evening by tuning in to the GATOR game.

Kentucky looked like they were going to give us difficulties early on, leading us for a time 7-6. But, the combined efforts of Leak and Tebow again put us over the top again.


Friday, September 22, 2006

Sit right back and I'll tell the tale, the tale of a fateful trip

After many years of searching barely-legible ship passenger lists, I have finally found the vessel that brought my mother's ancestors to this country from Ireland: the S.S. England of the National Steam Navigation Company.

And, thanks to fellow enthusiast/researcher Joe Miller, I have been able to find out a lot about the ship.

For instance, she was built by the Palmer brothers of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, with a gross tonnage of 3,308, measuring 375.5 by 42.5 feet. She had an iron hull, one smokestack, and three masts. Her screw propulsion system allowed her to ply the North Atlantic at the dizzying speed of 10 knots.

The Palmers launched her 24 June 1865, and she made her maiden voyage for the National Line on 7 February 1866. Her home port was Liverpool, and her regular route for the next thirty years included a brief stop at Queenstown, Ireland, before reaching her final destination in New York City.

She could handle 80 first-class passengers. But, my Gleeson ancestors were among the 800 poor souls crammed into steerage. Fortunately, they arrived in New York without incident on 18 May 1867.

Joe Miller's ancestors were not so lucky. They sailed the previous spring, and had to be briefly quarantined off the coast of Nova Scotia due to a cholera outbreak. Such were the perils of transatlantic immigration in the 19th Century, I suppose.

Anyway, the England continued to chug between Britain and New York for three decades with only a brief interruption from 1867-1868, when Queen Victoria drafted her to serve as a troop transport in an almost-forgotten war against Abyssinia.

Sadly, she was scrapped in 1896. But, thanks to people like Joe Miller, her memory survives. And, I'm using a link from his website to order a replica of a contemporary print.

Florida's billionaires

Well, Forbes has released their annual list of the 400 richest Americans, and I was interested in finding out how many Floridians made the cut. Here's what I found out:

1. John Werner Kluge of Palm Beach, 9.1 (also the oldest person on the list at age 92)
2. Mickey Arison of Bal Harbour, 5.0 (the Carnival cruise line guy)
3. Maurice R. Greenberg of Ocean Reef, 2.8
4. James M. Moran of Deerfield Beach, 2.4
5. Wayne Huizenga of Ft. Lauderdale, 2.1
6. Malcolm Glazer of Palm Beach, 2.0
7. Daniel Abraham of Palm Beach, 1.9
8. Ted Turner of Lamont, 1.9 (thought that joker was from Atlanta?!)
9. Jorge M. Perez of Miami, 1.8
10. Peter B. Lewis of Coconut Grove, 1.7
11. Arthur L. Williams, Jr. of Palm Beach, 1.7
12. John H. MacMillan III of Hillsboro Beach, 1.6
13. Albert L. Ueltschi of Vero Beach, 1.6
14. Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr. of Tampa, 1.5
15. Fred DeLuca of Ft. Lauderdale, 1.5 (Subway sandwich shops)
16. James C. France of Daytona Beach, 1.5 (NASCAR)
17. William C. France, Jr. of Daytona Beach, 1.5 (NASCAR)
18. George Lindemann of Palm Beach, 1.5
19. Robert E. Rich, Jr. of Islamorada, 1.5
20. Phillip Frost of Miami, 1.4
21. Wiliam I. Koch of Palm Beach, 1.3
22. Charlotte C. Weber of Ocala, 1.3
23. Edmund N. Ansin of Miami Beach, 1.2
24. Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. of Palm Beach, 1.2
25. James H. Clark of Palm Beach, 1.1
26. Michael E. Heisley, Sr. of Jupiter Island, 1.0
27. William Morean of St. Petersburg, 1.0

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Just got done watching the new CBS drama "Jericho."

The series premiere was a good set-up. Established the primary characters. Teased the audience with some potential plot lines.

Unfortunately, the tv critic in the local paper says episode 2 is not that great.

Guess we'll literally have to "stay-tuned" to see if he's correct.


Going to bed, now.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

FSU bowing to pressure

I just love the news they put on

Following is a copy of my favorite article from their most recent edition, only slightly-modified to note their humiliation this past weekend:

Florida State University To Phase Out Academic Operations By 2010
September 19, 2006 Onion Sports

SARASOTA, FL—Bowing to pressure from alumni, students, and a majority of teaching professors of Florida State University, athletic director Dave Hart Jr. announced yesterday that FSU would completely phase out all academic operations by the end of the 2010 school year in order to make athletics the school's No. 1 priority.

"It's been clear for a while that Florida State's mission is to provide the young men and women enrolled here with a world-class football program, and this is the best way to cut the fat and really focus on making us No. 1 every year," Hart said in the wake of a humiliating gridiron loss last weekend to Clemson University. "While it's certainly possible for an academic subsidiary to bring a certain amount of prestige to an athletic program, the national polls have made it clear that our non-athletic operations have become a major distraction."

FSU's restructuring program will begin with the elimination of the College of Arts and Sciences, effective October 15.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Feliz cumpleanos a la Bodo!

In other words, Happy Birthday to Alice!

I won't embarrass myself by telling you how old my "kid sister" is now.

Anyway, she tells me that she's working on the upcoming Memory Walk up in Charleston, to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer's research.

She's even got her own web page:

Check it out, and make a donation if you can!

I'm sure she'd consider it a pretty good birthday present. Hope so, anyway, 'cause that's what she's getting from me!!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Future soccer star

I got back from South Florida to find my sister had emailed me some more pictures.

I don't know what's gotten into her lately, but I for one am glad that she's finally figured out how to work her digital camera.

And, no, my niece is not auditioning for the Rockettes. That's years down the road, yet.

Instead, at the advanced age of three, my sister has signed her up to play soccer.

Her team color is light blue, and her jersey number is 3. Until it arrives, though, she will apparently be wearing incredibly annoying attire from backwoods colleges.


I made my monthly trip down to South Florida to check on my Dad this weekend, and wound up getting a hotel room instead of driving all the way back up to Apopka.

As usual, Marriott got me a great rate.

This time, it was for their property in Boca Raton.

If you've never been there yourself, the place is like Winter Park on steroids.

And, the hotel turned out to be right next door to a Houston's.

So, I was really in the lap of luxury, a welcome state of being after seeing Dad.

In case I haven't said it enough, Alzheimer's is an insidious disease.

Anyway, I'm afraid I didn't see much of Boca after dinner, because I had to rush up to my room and tune in to the Gator game.

The combined efforts of Leak and Tebow didn't disappoint, though it was a squeaker.

All in all, a pretty good day.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Continuing Education

I've been told all my life that you should try to learn something new every day.

Of course, that may be due to the fact that I have an inordinately large number of educators in my family.

Anyway, today's topic is "hedge funds," thanks to David Burden.

My finance professor back at Texas Tech briefly mentioned them in one of the lectures I attended back in the Stone Age, but I'm afraid I wasn't paying too much attention.

So, for years I thought they were just glorified mutual funds.

But, it turns out, that's not the case.

If you don't believe me, do a google search of your own!

Morgan and Tater

My sister sent me this recent photo of my niece and nephew.

Isn't Big Sister such a good little helper?

Actually, it looks like she's trying to take the bottle away from Tater before he's done with it . . .

Let the boy eat!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Maya Books & Music in Sanford

Just received word that my book is featured in a new window display at:

Maya Books & Music
205-A East First Street
Sanford, FL 32771
(407) 321-6504
So, if you find yourself in Sanford's historic district any time soon, please stop by and check it out.
And, tell the owner Yvette that you found out about her from The Sock in the Dryer.
(She'll probably be really confused about that!)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Camp Milton

Cousin Doug might not like me saying this, but kudos to the Trust for Public Lands for their recent acquisition of Camp Milton near Jacksonville.

That's the site that both Confederate and Union forces used at various times during the Civil War.

(Shameless plug: If you want to learn more about that conflict, check out my recent book.)

Anyway, the current landowner had big plans to use the site as a place to dump waste from old septic tanks.


While I firmly support the rights of private property owners, there are some cases that just turn my stomach.

Cases like people literally trying to crap all over our heritage.

So, again, kudos to the Trust for Public Land for stepping in and saving a piece of our common history.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Paradigm shifts

If researching my book and its sequel have taught me nothing else, it's that history is not boring.

In fact, we are all LIVING history every day, most of us without even giving it a second thought (which is a shame). It doesn't hurt to think about posterity once in awhile.

Another thing I've learned is that there is history, and then there is HISTORY. The "all-caps" version indicates a paradigm shift. (i.e. The American Revolution, The Civil War, WWII.)

People of my generation were told that we were experiencing history in the making when Reagan and the pope got shot, when the Challenger exploded, and when we marked the beginning of a new millenium.

But, I don't think we ever experienced HISTORY first hand until 9/11/01.

Everything in our lives can be marked as happening either before or after that date. That's how big a deal it was and is.

Since the end of WWII, American society had been fortunate enough not to have a massive, cross-generational, paradigm-shifting, character-testing event. (The Cold War and Vietnam Era pale by comparison.)

We face such a challenge today with the ongoing war on terror.

And, HISTORY will judge us on how we confront this challenge.

So, will posterity.

Remember that as you commemorate what happened five years ago.

What's shakin'?!?

Surprised to hear there was an earthquake today out in the Gulf of Mexico.

Supposedly, tremors were felt as far inland as downtown Orlando.

The local news station was running around shoving microphones in peoples' faces trying to get first-hand accounts.

But, it seemed to me, most of the people they cornered were just telling them what they wanted to hear so they'd quit interrupting their lunches.

All this because some pipes burst in one of the fancy new high-rise condos.

Yeah, let's blame that offshore quake.

Oh, and maybe we could gin-up some hurricane-like hysteria if we run a story on the possibility of tsunamis.

Must be a slow news day.

And, by the way, nothing's shaking in Apopka.

But, that's typical, isn't it?!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

New wheels for Mom

Well, after much research, and a little driving-around town today, we finally found the perfect new car for Mom.

It's a 2006 Chevy Equinox.

And, it's beautiful.

Slightly used, but beautiful.

The salesman told us it was previously driven by a GM manager. I guess that means it got all its regularly-scheduled maintenance done by certified mechanics, or something.

Of course, he probably tells everybody that.

Anyway, we enjoyed a celebratory lunch and driving tour of Central Florida.

Ended up in downtown Sanford, where I discovered a really cool bookstore. The owner wants to schedule a signing date for my book.

So, all in all, a very good day.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Merely conincidence?

Many will recall that on July 8, 1947, witnesses claim an unidentified object with five aliens aboard crashed on a sheep and cattle ranch just outside Roswell, New Mexico.

This is a well known incident that many say has long been covered up by the US Air Force and the federal government.

However, you may well NOT know that in the month of March 1948, exactly nine months after that historic day, the following individuals were born: Al Gore, HillaryRodham Clinton, John Kerry, Bill Clinton, Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Schumer, and Barbara Boxer.


Central Florida Memory

Again, I can't believe I stayed up so late watching a team from Miami blow a football game.

This one counted, Daunte! It ain't the pre-season, anymore!

Oh, well.

At least I was able to shift my focus away from the fiasco somewhat by surfing a really cool web site I recently discovered:

If you have any interest at all in the history of Central Florida, you will find something there to intrigue you . . .

or, at least keep your mind off infernal football games!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Researching the Indian Wars of the Southeast

This just in from Yolanda Lifter, Program Chair for the Florida Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Their next meeting will be Saturday, October 7th, at the Leesburg Public Library (204 North 5th Street, phone 352-728-9790).

The Board of Directors will meet there at 9am, but a general meeting will be open to the public starting at 10:30.

Member Mitchell Brown will be giving a talk on "Researching the Indian Wars of the Southeast, 1813-1858."

And, if you're interested, after the meeting everybody who's anybody will be going to lunch at the nearby Bob Evans Restaurant at 1205 North 14th Street. (If you've seen the new tv ads on their new open-face sandwiches, there's no way you're going to miss that!!)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Primary Day

I hope everyone who was registered to vote went out and cast a ballot today, even you Democrats.

I mean, after all, this is just a primary, so you can't be voting against the good Republican candidates . . . not, yet!

Anyway, I made the trip down to my local polling place after work today, and found Apopka has entered the 21st Century when it comes to tabulating ballots.

They actually gave us the choice of filling-out a traditional optical scan paper ballot, or touch-screen technology.

Well, you know which one I chose.

It was so cool. And, so easy.

I couldn't believe it, but I heard only about 5% of local voters opted for the touch screen.

Of course, that might be because local elections supervisor Bill Cowles only provided one touch screen per polling station.

Way, to go Bill.

Anyway, we'll find out tonight who the gubernatorial candidates will be.


I love that word!

Do they say "goobernatorial" up in Georgia? I wonder . . .

Monday, September 04, 2006

Why does it always come down to a field goal?!

I cannot believe I stayed up this late to watch FSU win that stupid game against Miami.

At least they stayed true to form and kept the margin to a field goal.

Unfortunately, there was no wide right or wide left situation this year.

But, there are still two things I will never be able to figure out: (1) How do Nole fans expect to be taken seriously when they moan and flap their limp wrists so much? and (2) Just how old is Coach Cornpone?

Anyway, remember to go vote tomorrow, if you're registered. It's Primary Day, and I've already told you who to pick in previous posts!!

Oh, yeah, and Happy Labor Day, I guess. Can anyone tell me when we may expect a Capital Day? Isn't that the other important component in our free market economy?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Get ready to write some letters

I just got done emailing my two U.S. senators and one U.S. congressman.

It's not something I do on a daily basis.

Really, I promise.

But, I had to do it today, because I'm so ticked-off by an email received today from the Federation of Genealogical Societies (currently meeting in Boston, and yes I wish I was there, too!)

Anyway, they are informing members of a proposal put forth by the National Archives in light of some federal budget cuts.

Their "brilliant" idea is to do away with evening and weekend hours in their research facilities.

Well, this is absolutely unacceptable to all of the amateur genealogists and historians beyond the beltway.

I mean, the only time "We the People" have to do archival research is in the evenings or on weekends.

After all, most of us have real jobs. And, don't talk to us about budget cuts, either. We deal with budgetary restrictions every day.

Anyway, it seems to me there are some alternative solutions that wouldn't restrict our collective national heritage to academia eggheads.

For example, why not close the doors on a weekday to keep them open on Saturday? Or, how about opening a few hours later in the morning so you can stay open a few hours later in the evening? Or, how about doing BOTH?!

Come on, folks! It's not that hard to come up with something fair!! And, I'm not even drawing a federal salary!!!

Anyway, if any of you out there in the blogosphere are as irritated by this as I was, please take the time to write or email your senators and congressmen. Their contact info is available at and .

You can also write the yahoos at the Archives administration and tell them what you think:

Regulations Comments Desk (NPOL)
Room 4100, Policy & Planning Staff
National Archives & Records Administration
8601 Adelphia Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001

I just did.

Happy Birthday, Valda!

Better watch it, girl, you're catching up with me in years!!

Really enjoyed the good steak and potato dinner, the good cake and ice cream, and of course the good company.

And, it didn't hurt that the Gators beat Southern Miss, 34-7!!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Football season kicks-off!

Well, technically, the local high school teams started their seasons last week. But, this is the first weekend where all levels will be in play: high school, college, and pro.

Unfortunately, I have to report a tie with Cypress Creek for Apopka's 9th grade team, 6-6. But, our varsity team more than made up for that this evening.

Tomorrow, of course is the Gators' debut against Southern Miss.

Sunday will be full of NFL action around my house . . . my poor couch!!

And, Monday, we get to see whether Florida State's kicking will be wide right or wide left in their annual tragedy with the Miami Hurricanes!