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Happy Birthday to Heritage Ramblings!

Gertrude Broida Cooper and her husband Irving I. Cooper with their grandchildren in 1966.
Gertrude Broida Cooper and her husband Irving I. Cooper with their grandchildren in 1966. (Click to enlarge.)

 

Our blog is one year old this week!

This is blog post number 135.

(That is an average of about 1 post every 3 days- now I know where my time goes.)

Our Home Page has been viewed 1,074 times.

The most views we have had in one day is 92.

The post with the most views had 68.

We have had 162 spam comments. (Dealing with that is a BIG time-waster, even if it is just a few clicks.)

We don’t want to say how many revisions a few of the posts have had- finding more information, fixing typos (wish I had taken typing in school), and being a perfectionist who doesn’t always get it perfect due to time constraints and distractions makes it challenging, but we keep striving to make this blog better.

We found two distant cousins. (Cousin bait is one of our reasons for blogging.)

We have had two persons with associated artifacts or a link to a person mentioned in the blog (not family) contact us.

The curator for the Healdsburg Museum found us through Ancestry.com but then saw the blog and liked it. She asked me to write an article on Edward B. Payne for their journal that accompanied an exhibit on Altruria and other Sonoma County, CA Utopian colonies- that was pretty exciting. The exhibit is over but they are planning a virtual exhibit of “Visionaries, Believers, Seekers and Schemers” in the near future. More posts to come with the Altruria story.

Two tombstones have had transliterations done from the Hebrew/Yiddish by kind persons who found us, and who recommended JewishGen’s Viewmate service for future items that need translating.

 

Not too bad for 365 days.

 

From an idea between two family members inspired by Legacy Family Tree Webinars on starting a blog (Thanks, Dear Myrt and Geoff Rasmussen!) and wanting to share the wonderful family history stories we have uncovered, we finally got it together and actually created one. We continue to be challenged concerning the mechanics of the blog- still trying to figure out how to add the lead photo of a post to subscriber emails, as I have it set up that way but it still does not do so- and finding the time to blog is almost impossible lately. Seems like each blog post requires a bit more research to fill in the blanks as one writes, as getting it down on paper- er, in pixels?- helps one to see what is missing. So the posts take longer than expected, but they really do help to put ancestors in the right context and clarify mysteries.

We do hope that you will stay tuned for more family stories- and we have some very exciting things in the works too!

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Photo is from family treasure collection.

2) The post with the most views is “Those Places Thursday: Witebsk, Belarus and The Mother of Abraham Green or Rose (Brave) Green.”

3) Healdsburg Museum, Sonoma Co., California: http://www.healdsburgmuseum.org

 

Please contact us if you would like a higher resolution image.

Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.

“The Man with the Hoe,” Edward B. Payne, and Labor Day, Part 2

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series "The Man with the Hoe," Edward B. Payne, and Labor Day
Review of The Arena, published in The Critic (New York) and reprinted in Vol. 5 of The Arena.
Review of “The Arena” published in “The Critic” (New York) and reprinted in Vol. 5 of “The Arena.”
Review of The Arena, published in Truth (Toronto, Canada) and reprinted in Vol. 5 of The Arena.
Review of “The Arena” published in “Truth” (Toronto, Canada) and reprinted in Vol. 5 of “The Arena.”

(See Monday, 1 Sep 2014 for Part 1 of this story.)

The Arena was a Boston review magazine begun in December, 1889 by Benjamin Flower, considered a radical journalist in his time. He published articles that exposed the seedy side of society- sweatshops, poverty, child labor, etc. The articles also included socialistic thought as a way to remedy these problems. The magazine was even marketed to ministers with a discounted rate, in order to help educate the public through the pulpit and possibly start new centers “for the diffusion of the light of justice, fundamental democracy, for intellectual hospitality.”

Following Edwin Markham’s poem “The Man with the Hoe” in the July, 1899 issue of The Arena (pages 15-16) was an article written by Edward B. Payne (our ancestor) entitled, “The ‘Hoe Man’ on Trial.” (pages 17-24) Payne was a minister who practiced “Christian Socialism,” and although he no longer had a church pulpit (he had resigned due to health reasons, and was working as an editor in 1899), he still lectured on cooperation rather than competition in order to provide a good life for all. Payne had worked in poor tenements in Chicago and the impoverished mill towns of New England; he had seen firsthand what it was to be the “Slave of the wheel of labor” as Markham described it. Payne did not want to ‘redistribute’ the wealth as in some forms of socialism- instead he wanted to teach people how to help themselves so that they could be successful, and in turn contribute to the good of all.

Edward B. Payne
Edward B. Payne

Edward B. Payne was an excellent choice to author an article reviewing the controversy that arose around the world with the publication of  Edwin Markham’s poem, “The Man with the Hoe.” Payne was extremely well read- he had a significant library of his own, (sadly lost in the Great Berkeley Fire of 1923), lived just north of the University of California at Berkeley and thus had access to university libraries, and probably borrowed books from the extensive library of Jack and Charmian London. (A letter exists from Payne requesting the loan of a book, however we don’t know for sure if London granted it.) In the article for The Arena, Payne quoted many editors and writers from around the country. (How did he read all those articles without the internet??)

Payne began his article acknowledging that the poem had exceptional literary merit that is, “almost universally conceded.” The poem, however, was “the center of a remarkable controversy bearing on the social problems of modern times.” He quoted Walt Whitman and concurred with “the power of the poet to stir and direct the thoughts of men.” Payne continued,

“Here is a case in which men are deeply moved and sharply aroused, not by an act of legislation, not by a scientific demonstration, not by a logical argument, but by a few lines of verse sung out from the frontier West by one hitherto but little known [poet].”

Some recent literature books and websites have included excerpts of Payne’s words in their descriptions of the poem:

“[“The Man with the Hoe”] appears to have everywhere stimulated thought upon social problems, and to have called out vigorous and diversified expressions of opinions all along the line of its course…. Clergy made the poem their text; platform orators dilated upon it; college professors lectured upon it; debating societies discussed it; schools took it up for study in their literary courses; and it was the subject of conversation in social circles and on the streets.”

Payne, and many others, were elated that the poem sparked world-wide discussions of socio-economic disparities that were often only whispered about, swept under the rug, and seldom debated except in socialist circles.

The main controversy was just what it was that caused the Hoe Man to have “on his back the burden of the world.” The poem suggested that those with the wealth placed this burden on the lower classes. Others, like Ambrose Bierce, whom Payne characterized as “that distinguished critic, whose pen is sharper than a locust thorn,” declared that the Hoe Man “…is not a product of the masters, lords, and rulers in all lands; they are not, and no class of men are, responsible for him, his limitations and his woes– which are not of those that kings or laws can cause or cure.”

Payne explained in his article that another group joined the controversy: workers. Some felt the poem was “a direct assault on the American farmer” but it was not meant that way.

Payne continued his review of the varied points of view of the poem writing, “The poem has not been spared at the hands of those grotesque critics whose humor is chopped out with a meat axe.” He quoted a San Francisco Evening Post writer who called Edwin Markham, “our laureate of the clod and hoe.” Another author claimed that the poem was “founded on the theological assumption that man is not the fashioner of his own destiny,” an old-fashioned and unenlightened religious viewpoint by that date, and thus the indictment was invalid.

After summarizing and quoting many authors both critical and laudatory, Payne discussed the most important line of the poem: “How will you ever straighten up this shape [of the Hoe Man]?”  The controversy engendered by the poem,

“…illustrates the loose but intricate tangle of modern thought as touching the conditions, the possibilities, the obligations of civilization; and how tradition, self-interest, prejudice, and passion, as well as sincerity, good-will, and the love of truth and justice are all potent factors in determining the variant opinions and irreconcilable purposes of men. We are far from any such consensus of opinion as might enable us to effect wise and speedy readjustments looking to improved conditions for the masses of men.”

Finding a way to improve conditions was a guiding principle of Payne’s work and life. He felt that “We have all been brutalized under this regime of… ever intensifying competition.” He had founded Altruria, a Utopian colony in Sonoma County, California, just five years earlier, in which cooperation of all contributed to the good of the colony. Sadly the colony only lasted two years, but Edward B. Payne worked the rest of his life to educate the public about social inequalities through his work as an author, lecturer, and editor.

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1)”To the Man with the Hoe” by Edwin Markham, The Arena, July 1899, Vol. 22, No. 1, Pages 15-16: http://books.google.com/books?id=9S4ZAAAAYAAJ&pg=PP7&lpg=PP7&dq=to+the+man+with+hoe+Edward+b+payne&source=bl&ots=Rf8YvFxc1K&sig=BskDJ7PfUUjkXRBiV0KxydrNQRA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Uzb0U_qCHo6oyASOt4KQBQ&ved=0CCsQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false

2) “The ‘Hoe Man’ on Trial” by Edward B. Payne, The Arena, July 1899, Vol. 22, No. 1, Pages 17-24. Arena Publishing Company, 1899. http://books.google.com/books?id=9S4ZAAAAYAAJ&pg=PP7&lpg=PP7&dq=to+the+man+with+hoe+Edward+b+payne&source=bl&ots=Rf8YvFxc1K&sig=BskDJ7PfUUjkXRBiV0KxydrNQRA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Uzb0U_qCHo6oyASOt4KQBQ&ved=0CCsQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false

3) Ambrose Bierce, in 1894 speaking about the founders of Altruria, called them “amiable asses” with a “scheme based upon the intellectual diversions of such humorists as Plato, More, Fourier, Bellamy, and Howells. That assures the ludicrous fizzle of the enterprise…” [Quoted in Robert V. Hine’s California’s Utopian Colonies, W.W. Norton & Company, 1973, first published in 1953, page 113. The Bierce quote was from the column Bierce wrote weekly for the San Francisco Examiner, 21 Oct 1894, called, “Prattle.”] The ‘humorists’ listed were writers and philosophers. It is interesting to see Edward B. Payne’s description of Bierce five years later.

4) See also previous posts about Edward B. Payne, and watch for posts to come on Altruria and the rest of EBP’s life.

5) The controversies continue to this day concerning socio-economic disparities and the solutions. There will, I am sure, be more to come on that too (but not on this blog) as election time draws near.

 

Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images.

Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.

“The Man with the Hoe,” Edward B. Payne, and Labor Day, Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series "The Man with the Hoe," Edward B. Payne, and Labor Day

 

"L'homme à la houe (The Man with the Hoe)" by Jean-François Millet - The Getty Center, Object 879, Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
“L’homme à la houe (The Man with the Hoe)” by Jean-François Millet – The Getty Center, Object 879, Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The 1890s were a turbulent time in America. The growth and expansion of “The Gilded Age” collapsed with the Panic of 1893, and sent the country into a depression. Railroads, the primary long distance transportation of Americans pre-automobile, had been overbuilt with shaky financing and could not earn revenues to exceed their loans and other costs. Just ten days before the second inauguration of Grover Cleveland, the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad declared bankruptcy; three large railways went bankrupt soon after. Numerous banks failed and there was a run on gold. New silver mines flooded the market, driving down the price of silver, and the value of the American dollar fell. The United States still had a large portion of the population involved in farming, but prices for agricultural commodities also plummeted, especially for wheat and cotton, and farmers could not afford to put in their next crop, nor pay workers for planting or harvesting. To add to the economic woes, the McKinley Tariff of 1890 had increased the prices of imported goods by almost 50%, thus causing a sharp increase in prices for all.

Over 3,000 Pullman railroad workers decided in 1894 that the only way to deal with layoffs, wage cutbacks, and the high prices of living in the required ‘company town’ was to stop work. Their wildcat strike paralyzed travel of people and goods, including the mail. Unions were still illegal then, but strike sentiment grew across the country. When Pullman strikers were shot and killed, 250,000 workers in twenty-seven states stopped work at the urging of Eugene V. Debs, who led the American Railway Union. The Army was called in to force passage of mail trains and break the strike. More violence and sabotage of the railroads ensued and at least 30 persons were killed, many others wounded in the strike.

A Drawing of National Guard troops firing on Pullman strikers in 1894. More than 1000 railcars were destroyed during the strike. Published in Harper's Weekly, public domain.
A Drawing of National Guard troops firing on Pullman strikers in 1894. More than 1000 railcars were destroyed during the strike. Published in Harper’s Weekly, unknown date, public domain.

President Grover Cleveland knew he had to make peace with the workers and unions or risk more riots and a worsening of the economic depression. Just six days after the strike ended, he rushed a bill through Congress to create Labor Day as a national holiday to honor all those who toil in our nation. It was a unanimous vote for the new federal holiday.

Continued concerns about the economy, however, caused bank runs and thus more panic. Some estimates place unemployment rates as high as 18.4% in 1894; unemployment continued for four more years above 12.4%. Americans were stunned, afraid, out of work, and could not feed their families or pay their rent or mortgage. (Do you sort of know how folks in those days must have felt? It was as bad as the 2008 crash- probably worse.)

Sadly, we have little of the 1890 census available to compare with 1900, so we could look at incomes, home ownership, etc and compare the two decades. Reviewing at the 1900 census, it seems that more people than usual can be found living in one home- parents moved in with their children and grandchildren (or vice versa) to save money. Rural folks were moving to the city in hope of finding a job and boarding houses were full. The disparity between the rich and the poor was more striking than it had ever been in American Society. Social evangelists worked to alleviate the effects of the depression on the poor, and debates on socialism were common in magazines and newspapers, the lecture circuits, parlors, and universities.

Edwin Markham c1899.
Edwin Markham circa 1899. Library of Congress.

Charles Edward Anson Markham (1852-1940), generally known as Edwin Markham after 1895, had grown up poor as he toiled on his family’s farm. He became a teacher in northern California. Markham was influenced by socialists such as Thomas Lake Harris, and Jack and Charmian London (both avowed Socialists) were frequent correspondents and friends. As a poet, after seeing the French painting, “The Man with the Hoe,” Markham was inspired to write about the plight of poor workers.

First presented at a New Year’s Eve party reading in 1898, the poem was published by The San Francisco Examiner on January 15, 1899. It was picked up by newspapers and magazines around the world- over 12,000 reprints in 37 languages before the computer age- and it made him famous. The poem begins:

“Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans
Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground,
The emptiness of ages in his face,
And on his back the burden of the world.”

 The entire poem can be found online in a number of places, but was also reprinted in The Arena, Vol. XXII, July 1899, No. 1, pages 15-16. There is an intriguing animation of Markham reading his poem, “The Man with the Hoe,” found on YouTube.

 

Thursday: our ancestor, Edward B. Payne’s analysis of the poem and its controversy.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) “L’homme à la houe (The Man with the Hoe)” by Jean-François Millet – The Getty Center, Object 879, Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:L%27homme_%C3%A0_la_houe_(The_Man_with_the_Hoe).jpg#mediaviewer/File:L%27homme_%C3%A0_la_houe_(The_Man_with_the_Hoe).jpg.

2) The issues involved in the Pullman Strike are much more complex than just lowered wages and layoffs- ‘company towns’ and not lowering rents when wages are lowered,  the railroads refusing to run trains without Pullman cars, government intervention in the private sector when national issues are involved such as mail service, etc. See, among other good sources,  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/mmh/1912/content/pullman.cfm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pullman_Strike.

3) Note population changes with City Directories as well- look for the address, not just the name, and you may find many married children, often with children of their own, living at the same address as parents/grandparents. Remember too, that these were small houses- we have one family group of 11 living in a two-bedroom house in 1900!

4) Panic of 1893: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panic_of_1893 and other readings.

5) I wonder who attended that New Year’s Eve reading- Thomas Lake Harris (who later founded a Utopian religious community in New York and later at Fountain Grove, in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California), Jack & Charmian London, possibly Edward Biron Payne (who later founded Altruria, another Utopian community in Sonoma County)? They travelled in the same literary circles and all had socialist leanings, plus Markham was probably living in Oakland, California at that time. (His move to New York occurred the next year.) We still have not found a definitive link to Markham and Edward B. Payne, though it is highly likely that they knew each other due to politics, geography, and social groupings.

6) Sources for the life of Edwin Markham include:

http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/edwin-markham http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/m_r/markham/reflections.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Markham

7) See also previous posts about Edward B. Payne, and watch for posts to come on Altruria and the rest of EBP’s life.

8) A good article on Markhams’ poem and the origins of Labor Day: http://westchesterguardian.com/9_9_10/Abady_Cov.%20Markham%20poem.html

9) We like this digital reproduction of “To the Man with the Hoe” in The Arena, because we know it has not been changed like what has been typed into so many websites, especially those calling it “To the Man with a Hoe.” (It was originally ‘the’ hoe, not ‘a’ hoe.) : http://books.google.com/books?id=9S4ZAAAAYAAJ&pg=PP7&lpg=PP7&dq=to+the+man+with+hoe+Edward+b+payne&source=bl&ots=Rf8YvFxc1K&sig=BskDJ7PfUUjkXRBiV0KxydrNQRA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Uzb0U_qCHo6oyASOt4KQBQ&ved=0CCsQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false

10) An intriguing animation of Edwin Markham reading his poem (apparently from an image of him and an actual recording, I think.): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apHsb5Xou-0

11) Edwin Markham image available from the United States Library of Congress‘s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3c05934.

 

Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images.

Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.

Friday’s Faces From the Past: Edward Biron Payne

From left, Ninetta Wiley Eames Payne, Maude McMurray, Edward McMurray, Lynette Payne McMurray in front with her father, Edward B. Payne, in back.
The Payne Family. From left, Ninetta Wiley Eames Payne; little Maude McMurray & young Edward McMurray, Lynette Payne McMurray’s children; Lynette in front and her father, Edward B. Payne, in back. Taken at Wake Robin Lodge, Glen Ellen, California, c1907. (Click to enlarge.)

It is fitting to add this post today, on the anniversary of Edward B. Payne’s birthday, July 25, 1847.

Sorry that I haven’t been posting much due to real life, which sometimes interferes with genealogy. 😉

I have also recently had an article about Edward B. Payne (fondly known as EBP in our house) published in The Russian River Recorder, Spring 2014, Issue 124, which is the journal of the Healdsburg Museum & Historical Society, Sonoma County, California. The article took a lot of time to write, mostly because I was supposed to distill this complex man and his long life into 1200 words. I just couldn’t do it. I was so happy that they expanded the issue and I was able to use 1500 words. I will be posting the article soon.

The Healdsburg Museum and Historical Society  currently has a wonderful exhibit called “Visionaries, Believers, Seekers, and Schemers: 19th Century Utopian Communities of Sonoma County.” The community founded by Edward B. Payne, “Altruria,” although short-lived, was “… a glorious failure” according to some writers.  The Russian River Recorder has four articles about Altruria, plus numerous articles about the other three Utopian communities founded in Sonoma in the late 1800s. They are a very interesting read.

There were no known images of Altruria, as far as my research or that of others, until I contacted the Huntington Museum a couple of years ago. In some of Charmian London’s scrapbooks, the archivist found two images of Altruria. I requested a copy of the whole page, to get the images in context, and was surprised to see that there was also one image torn from the page- I would love to know more about that missing image! (I would be matching up the torn back of any loose photos with the remains in the scrapbook, but alas, the archivist states there are no loose photos.) These images too will get posted here on the blog, but I do need to get permission from the Huntington first; they did give their kind permission to publish in the journal above. It has been exciting to email back and forth with curators, archivists, and librarians for this research. They are all unsung heroes in my mind.

Edward B. Payne lecture advertisement. Possibly c1920, October 9.
Edward B. Payne lecture advertisement. Possibly c1920, October 9. (Click to enlarge.)

When Edward B. Payne could no longer preach due to his ‘pulmonary affliction’ (he acquired tuberculosis when he lived in New England), he earned a little income from lectures he provided throughout the Bay Area of California.

Lots more to come on EBP.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) The Healdsburg Museum has a wonderful exhibit of the four Sonoma County Utopian communities through Aug. 3, 2014, plus their June 2014 The Russian River Recorder details these communities. See http://www.healdsburgmuseum.org for more information. They are planning an online video tour of the exhibit, so watch for that soon.

2) Images from family photo archives.

 

Please contact us if you would like a higher resolution image.

Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.