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Friday, October 21, 2016

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events Oct. 22 to 28

Here are events scheduled Saturday, Oct. 22, to Friday, Oct. 28.

All events are free, so take a look -- and don't you dare say there's nothing to do in Pasadena!
Some of Southern California's best visual artists will showcase their works in a juried art festival during Pasadena ARTWalk Saturday, Oct. 22, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Playhouse District. ARTWalk also includes live entertainment, an Instagram scavenger hunt for prizes, craft-making for all ages, free admission to the Pasadena Museum of California Art and much more.

The Pasadena Astronomy Festival is Saturday, Oct. 22, from 2 to 8 p.m. at the Pasadena Convention Center. Visit an unusual planetarium, look through a special telescope designed for daytime and nighttime use, meet professional astronomers and learn more about the universe. It's part of Astronomy Week!

Create your own T-shirt with materials provided by Remainders Creative Reuse Sunday, Oct. 23, from noon to 3 p.m. in the courtyard at One Colorado. Shirts, a printing press and upcycled materials from buttons and beads to ribbons and fabric paints and much more will be provided. All ages are welcome.

Violinist David Lee Ruest and classical guitarist Taro Wayama will perform Wednesday, Oct. 26, from 12:10 to 12:40 p.m. for the popular Music at Noon recital series at Pasadena Presbyterian Church.

"The Last Seduction" (1994, R) starring Linda Fiorentino and Bill Pullman will be shown Wednesday, Oct, 26, at 1 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Central Library. A woman steals her husband's drug money and hides out in a small town where she meets the perfect dupe for her next scheme.

Children and families are invited to the Hilarious Halloween Haunt Thursday, Oct. 27, at 4 p.m. at Hastings Branch Library. This variety show featuring the Franklin Haynes Marionettes is sure to be loads of scary fun for all ages. 

Teens are invited to a Mad Hatter Tea Party Friday, Oct. 28, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Central Library, But beware: Something sinister lurks in Wonderland! It's a land of stories, but who's telling the real tale and who murdered the Prince of Hearts? All the key characters are suspect, and it's up to you to solve the mystery by hunting for clues, questioning suspects and apprehending the culprit. Dinner will be provided and Alice in Wonderland-themed costumes are encouraged. To sign up email or call 626-744-4246.

Take a self-guided tour of Day of the Dead / Dia de los Muertos altars at businesses throughout Old Pasadena Friday, Oct. 28, to Sunday, Oct. 30, during participating business hours. Judges will present an award to the best traditional and contemporary altars. A PDF of the tour of altars will be available on the website Oct. 24.


Celebration of Oaks is Saturday, Oct. 29, at Eaton Canyon Nature Center.

The Fall Festival at Victory Park is Saturday, Oct. 29.

Photo credits: Playhouse District Association, NASA, Boston Handmade, Guitar Salon International, Incorporated Television Company, The Gothtober Blog, Tea Tree Gully Library, Breck Create, 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Wait, Wait -- Follow the What to Where?

I snapped this photo on June 16 of this year. It's a lonesome dirt road on a 171-acre farm in rural north-central Kentucky. 

For years I have known about the private Easley Cemetery on this farm. It includes the graves of my third great-grandfather Joseph Easley Sr. (1764-1849) who established the farm, my second great-grandfather Joseph Easley Jr. (1805-1883), their respective wives and many of their offspring.

I wrote a little more about them in this blog post last week.

These are photos of Joseph Easley Jr. and his wife, my second great-grandmother Elizabeth McWilliams Easley (1818-1894). I love the spectacles resting on her forehead.

My bucket list has included a visit to the cemetery if I ever got an opportunity to travel to Kentucky. That opportunity presented itself at last during my Freedom Tour last summer.

I found driving directions to the Easley Cemetery on the Church and Cemetery Locator online:

"Go to Harrisonville. Just before entering the town from the west turn right into the farm owned by Thomas Lewis. Follow gravel farm road for 600 ft.  Cemetery is in a grove of trees about 30 ft. south of this point." 

I looked on Google Maps and saw that Highway 395/Waddy Road, in the middle of nowhere, leads to Harrisonville from the west. Off I went! So far, so good.

But then everything changed.

"Just before entering the town": As it turns out, there is no town anymore. It hasn't been an incorporated community since 1908. There is just a smattering of houses, farms and a church. No businesses. No Main Street. 

Just the little backwoods Highway 395/Waddy Road.

So which gravel road was I supposed to look for? And on which side of Waddy Road? And which farm belongs to Thomas Lewis? I drove up and down...and up and down...and up and down Highway 395/Waddy Road. Finding this needle in a haystack was impossible.

I did find the church I knew my Kentucky Easley ancestors attended. Joseph Easley Sr. was among a council of elders that on March 12, 1825, founded the Pigeon Fork Baptist Church, which is still in operation to this day. 

And this church that was abandoned long ago (click on it to see the cool windows):

I never found a gravel road based on the driving directions to the Easley Cemetery so I did the next best thing: I followed my amateur genealogist's nose to the Shelby County Public Library in Shelbyville, about 20 miles northwest of here.

It's a stately, historic building constructed in 1903 with a $10,000 grant from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

I had a nice conversation with J.D. Stucker, a professional genealogist who volunteers in the local history section, and with Shana Schack, the librarian in charge of Reference Services. 

Sure enough, J.D. was familiar with some local Easley family history and showed me some files, and Shana pulled a 1939 reference book for me that has details about every cemetery in Shelby County. 

The book included directions to the Easley Cemetery!

"Go to Harrisonville. Just before entering the town from the west turn right into the farm owned by Thomas Lewis. Follow gravel farm road for 600 ft.  Cemetery is in a grove of trees about 30 ft. south of this point." 

Yep, they were the same, clear-as-mud directions I had found online.

Neither J.D. nor Shana had any idea where the farm is, and Thomas Lewis's name didn't appear in local history books. 

So my next stop was the Shelby County Courthouse in the hopes of learning who owns the farm now and what the actual property address is.

Stewart Shirley is the deputy administrator in the Property Valuation Office. I told him this was my last best shot and I didn't know where else to turn.

He kindly took me to his office and began a search of county property records in a database that required a lot of work on his part since the only ways to search are by (1) property address, (2) parcel number and (3) current owner's name -- none of which I had, and the database doesn't include historical property records. 

I couldn't provide him with a thing except the 77-year-old driving directions. 

He finally started pulling up aerial images of farms on Highway 395/Waddy Road, looking for anything that might even remotely fit the description in the driving directions. After about half an hour he was sure he had a hit! He had me look at his screen, and I, too, decided this had to be the one. 

He gave me a printout with everything I needed to know for finding the farm and then some.

The next morning, after I returned to the middle of nowhere from my hotel in Louisville 45 miles away, I entered 7651 Waddy Rd. into the GPS on my phone and drove along slowly until the magic voice on the satellite said, "Your destination is on the right."

There was a farm, all right, but there wasn't a gravel road in sight. In fact, there was no entrance of any kind in sight, A property of 171 acres is vast. So I drove farther, slowly, down Highway 395/Waddy Road, looking for a mailbox on the right side of the street or anything else that would indicate an entrance of any kind to 7651 Waddy Rd.

And then I saw it: The mailbox is on the opposite side of the street from the farm, and more than half a mile from where the GPS lady's voice told me I had arrived.  

And it was right across from a narrow, private road that starts out as asphalt and then becomes dirt -- not a speck of gravel anywhere.

I turned in and followed the dirt road (I was on that road when I snapped the photo at the top of this post). I followed it quite a long way until it curved to the left. 

And there, on the right, set back in a grove of trees, were headstones surrounded by fencing. 

There wasn't a single living soul in sight. I drove past the cemetery and continued down the dirt road in hopes of finding a farmhouse where I could ask permission to visit the cemetery. I finally backed the car up and set about exploring this incredible family treasure.

Joseph Easley Sr. and Catey Deatherage Easley's (my third great-grandmother, 1767-1850) graves are marked simply with rough-hewn stones. I suppose at one time there may have been discernable markings on them.

Joseph Easley Jr.'s is more elaborate (click on it to see detail).

The inscription reads:

Joseph Easley Jr.
Born Mar. 18, 1805
Died Feb. 28, 1883
Not lost, blessed thought.
But gone before
Where we shall meet
To part no more.

I'll leave you with this one: Col. Merideth Hieatt (1785-1868), one of Joseph Jr. and Elizabeth's sons-in-law. 

The cemetery is just a short walk across a field from the narrow dirt road (that's my car). I stayed outside the fence the entire time.

Kenneth and Linda Pratt, the current owners of the farm, are not related to the Easley family. After I returned home to Pasadena from my Freedom Tour I wrote them a note thanking them for maintaining the Easley Cemetery so beautifully. 

As the current keepers of this hallowed ground, I appreciate their dedication to this Easley family treasure. I was sorry I didn't find their house.

May the Easley Cemetery continue to be honored and respected for many generations to come.

All photos were shot by yours truly.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events October 15 to 21

Here are free events scheduled Saturday, Oct. 15, to Friday, Oct. 21.

All events are free, so take a look -- and don't you dare say there's nothing to do in Pasadena!

With the theme "Nuestros Heroes/Our Heroes," the Latino Heritage Parade Saturday, Oct. 15, will begin at 11 a.m. at Los Robles Avenue and Howard Street, then turn west on Washington Boulevard and end at La Pintoresca Park where a Jamaica (community festival) from noon to 4 p.m. will include art exhibits, artisans, educational and historical displays, entertainment, food, community booths and more.

The San Gabriel Valley Pride Festival is Saturday, Oct. 15, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Central Park where there will be live entertainment including Taiko drummers, mariachi, Irish and salsa bands, a health fair, pet adoptions from Pasadena Humane Society, an authors forum with readings/signings, a special area with family-oriented activities, another area where everyone can participate in The Big Draw LA plus 50 exhibitors including nonprofit service organizations. 

The family-friendly Pumpkin Festival at Brookside Park directly in front of Kidspace Children's Museum is Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 15 and 16, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Festival admission is free to enjoy musical performances, take-home craft activities and a photo at the pumpkin patch; tickets will be available for purchase for several other attractions such as pony rides, games and food.  

In celebration of Astronomy Week, the annual open house at Carnegie Observatories Sunday, Oct. 16, from 2 to 5 p.m. will include displays about spectroscopy (how rainbows are used to study the universe) and photos from Carnegie's state-of-the-art Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, plus you'll meet astronomers and learn about their discoveries at the frontiers of science, view the sun through a solar telescope enjoy ice cream, beverages and music; children will make their own constellations and other fun activities.

An LA Opera community educator will take participants through Philip Glass's opera "Akhnaten" Monday, Oct. 17, at 1 p.m. at the Pasadena Senior Center. It is an epic tale of Nefertiti's husband, the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhnaten, whose command to the populace that they reject all old gods and worship only the new sun god sends them into an uproar that leads to revolution. You do not have to be a member of the Pasadena Senior Center to attend.

Teens are invited to a special screening of "Beetlejuice" (1988, PG) starring Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder followed by a spooky craft Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 3:30 p.m. at Santa Catalina Branch Library.

Founded in 1996, Idealab is the longest running technology incubator, creating more than 150 companies with more than 45 IPOs and acquisitions. Tour the world-famous, open and airy facility during an open house Wednesday, Oct. 19, from 11 a.m. to noon and learn how Idealab is changing the world.

Clarinetist Margaret Thornhill with pianist Twyla Meyer will perform Wednesday, Oct. 19, from 12:10 to 12:40 p.m. for the popular Music at Noon recital series at Pasadena Presbyterian Church.

"Black Widow" (1987, R) starring Debra Winger and Theresa Russell will be shown Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 1 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Central Library. A federal investigator tracks down a gold-digging woman who moves from husband to husband, kills them and collects the inheritances.

Bring your child(ren) to the courtyard at One Colorado for a Mommy & Me morning with a performance of Luce Puppet Co.'s "The Splashy Sea Saga of Sailor Sam" Thursday, Oct. 20, from 10 to 11 a.m. Sailor Sam and his little pal Salty sail the seven seas and encounter mythical creatures along the way.

A series of kids' craft afternoons continues Thursday, Oct. 20, from 4 to 5 p.m. in the courtyard at One Colorado with a workshop for children who will create cities using wood and images from magazines. The workshop will be led by Purple Twig.

The third Thursday (and first Friday) of every month is Free Admission Day at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. On Thursday, Oct. 20, from 5 to 8 p.m. enjoy the current exhibitions "Lloyd Hamrol/Joan Perlman: 'a sky in the palm of a hand,'" "In the Land of Sunshine: Imaging the California Coast Culture" and everything else the museum has to offer.

In celebration of Astronomy Week, some of the events during the annual joint conference of the American Astronomical Society's Division of Planetary Sciences and the European Planetary Science Congress at the Pasadena Convention Center are free and open to the public Thursday, Oct. 20:
* 6 to 7 p.m. -- Browse an exhibition of original paintings and other works of art celebrating the beauty and wonder of planetary science and meet representatives from observatories and NASA missions (main exhibit hall).
* 7 to 8:30 p.m. -- Learn about the latest discoveries made by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft and the thousands of planets detected around other stars during two separate talks (ballroom).
* 8:30 to 11 p.m. -- Join local scientists and amateur astronomers as they set up telescopes in front of the convention center to show you the wonders of our solar system and beyond (weather permitting).

"The King's Speech" (2010, R) starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush will be shown Friday, Oct. 21, at 1 p.m. in the Scott Pavilion at the Pasadena Senior Center. George VI of England unexpectedly ascends to the throne and is helped by a therapist to overcome a speech impediment. The film is based on a true story. You do not have to be a member of the Pasadena Senior Center to attend.

Children ages 8 to 12  are invited to the Kids' Writing Workshop Friday, Oct. 21, at 4:30 p.m. in the Children's Story Room at Central Library. It's never too early to start writing your own stories! You don't have to be an expert -- you just have to love stories and have a great imagination. To sign up call 626-744-4066, option 6.

Enjoy an evening of art, music, dance, drama and more when ArtNight Pasadena returns Friday, Oct. 21, from 6 to 10 p.m. Sixteen of Pasadena's most prominent arts and cultural institutions will open their doors for free! Hop on/hop off shuttles at every venue will take you door to door, or you can drive, ride your bike or amble at your own speed. Here's the lineup:
* The Pennington Dance Group presents a kinetic evening of dance works, music and dialogs at A Room to Create.
* At Armory Center for the Arts, "Radio Imagination: Artists in the Archive of Octavia Butler" celebrates the legacy of the African American science fiction writer who was born in Pasadena, plus enjoy music by Dublab and LA Free Music Society.
* The public debut of "Uncertainty" at Art Center College of Design's Williamson Gallery (hillside campus) will feature science-meets-art installations, artifacts and visualizations.
* Explore the possibilities of data-driven form-making through the medium of typography with the "DoubleData" exhibition at Art Center College of Design (south campus).
* Teens will display their talents through live performances and visual arts at artWORKS, plus you'll enjoy hands-on printmaking and screenprinting as well as entertainment by Eclectic Waves.
* Enjoy live music by Nathan Benedict, a snack and more at Pasadena City Hall (Garfield side) while you wait for a free shuttle to whisk you to one of the many ArtNight Pasadena cultural venues.
* Curatorial Assistance will open the E.O. HoppĂ© Estate Collection archive to share recently discovered masterworks from the photo-modernist's great American road trip in 1926.
* Learn about the history of African American Art and the legacy of Pasadena sports icons Jackie and Mack Robinson at Jackie Robinson Center, plus enjoy live music by The Soul Vibers.
* Paint the night with light and color at Kidspace Children's Museum plus enjoy a luminous performance at 7 p.m. in the Stone Hollow Amphitheater.
* Through visual art, photography, music, installations, food and more at Day One, Light Bringer Project will celebrate the creative thinkers and risk-takers who help shape our future. (And yours truly will be holding court there in a special and unique way!)
* Lineage Performing Arts Center will present selections from the dance company and performances by the Young Men's Ensemble of the Los Angeles Children's Chorus.
* Enjoy "States of Mind: Picasso Lithographs 1945-1960" at the Norton Simon Museum where the exhibition explores the evolution of the artist's individual print compositions through multiple states, subtle adjustments and radical revisions.
* Meet local authors, comic creators and artists at Pasadena Central Library where you'll also enjoy family fun activities, storytellers, art exhibits and musical performances by Crown City Chamber Players, Ernie Del Fante Jazz Group and Theater Americana.
* Explore multiple venues on the campus of Pasadena Conservatory of Music while enjoying continuous classical, world folk and interactive performances.
* See paintings inspired by vistas, lifestyles and industries along the California coastline, Lloyd Hamrol's large-scale felt sculptures and Joan Perlman's abstract paintings and prints at the Pasadena Museum of California Art.
* Explore the artistry, beauty and legacy of Arts & Crafts and mid-century ceramics in the exhibitions "Batchelder: Tilemaker" and "Cast & Fired: Pasadena's Mid-Century Ceramics Industry" at the Pasadena Museum of History.

The ability to rove the surface of Mars has revolutionized JPL missions, With more advanced mobility, new targets like cliff faces, cave ceilings and the surfaces of asteroids and comets may be explored in the future. Learn more about it during a presentation titled "Asteroid Anchors, Rock Climbing Robots, Gecko Grippers and Other Ways to Stick in Space" Friday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. in the Vosloh Forum (Building UU on this map) at Pasadena City College.


Pasadena Astronomy Festival is Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Pasadena Convention Center.
Pasadena ARTWalk is Saturday, Oct. 22, in the Playhouse District.

Photo credits: Pasadena Now, Pasadena City College, Kidspace Children's Museum, LA Opera, Geffen Company, Margaret Thornhill, Amercent Films, Luce Puppet Co., One Colorado, Pasadena Museum of California Art, Teaching with Telescopes, See-Saw Films, Model D, City of Pasadena, Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Manakin Town via Jamestown via England via France

I was born Martha Ann Easley 66 years ago today and have been called Ann from that moment on.

I come from good, hearty stock on my father's side. In America, it began with Robert Esle (1655-1711), my sixth great-grandfather. He was a French Huguenot, born in Ansouis, Provence, who sailed to the British Colony of Virginia by way of England at the age of 20, arriving in Jamestown in 1675. 

He was an early arrival from France; King Louis XIV's revocation of the Edict of Nantes 10 years later led to 600 Huguenot refugees coming to Virginia to escape persecution by the French government and the Roman Catholic Church.

He changed the spelling of the last name to Esley, probably to anglicize it, and it was changed again to Easley by his sons after his death. 

On Oct. 20, 1704, he was granted 133 acres of land at Fine Creek on the south side of the James River near Manakin Town, also known as King William's Town, a 10,000-acre settlement created for Huguenot refugees on the Virginia frontier about 20 miles northwest of present-day Richmond (his land holdings eventually grew to 900 acres). He settled there with his wife Ann Parker Esley and their six children, including my fifth great-grandfather, John Robert Easley (1686-1742).

Today I am pleased to say this acreage is mostly open space -- part of the James River Park System -- and still bears the Huguenot name in modern times. I don't know if any excavation has ever taken place.

As new generations of Easleys came along, some of them decided to venture west. They created farms, braved many dangers and adventures and settled in for the long term in Kentucky and Tennessee.

One of these was my third great-grandfather, Joseph Easley Sr. (1764-1849). He and my third great-grandmother Mary Catherine Deatherage Easley, who was called Catey, settled on 171 acres in Connorsville, Kentucky (later renamed Harrisonville), about 30 miles southwest of Frankfort.  

Most of Joseph and Catey's 13 children were born on the farm, including my second great-grandfather, Joseph Easley Jr. (1805-1883).

Here are photos of Joseph Easley Jr. and his wife, my second great-grandmother Elizabeth McWilliams Easley (1818-1894).

For years I have known about the private Easley Cemetery that is on the farm and includes the graves of Joseph Easley Sr., Joseph Easley Jr., their respective wives and many of their offspring.

My bucket list has included a visit to the cemetery if I ever got an opportunity to travel to Kentucky. That opportunity presented itself at last during my Freedom Tour last summer.

I'll tell you all about that next week.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events Oct. 8 to 14

Here are events scheduled Saturday, Oct, 8, to Friday, Oct. 14.

All events are free, so take a look -- and don't you dare say there's nothing to do in Pasadena!

Learn tips for beautifying your property with drought-tolerant landscaping Saturday, Oct. 8, at 11 a.m. at Linda Vista Branch Library. Presented by the Arroyo Seco Foundation.

Observe classical guitar legend Pepe Romero leading a master class Sunday, Oct. 9, at 2 p.m. at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music

Claude Bolling's Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio plus other works will be performed Sunday, Oct. 9, at 2:30 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Central Library. Sponsored by Tuesday Musicale of Pasadena.

Teens 13 to 18 are invited to an afternoon of epic battles and a lot of fun with a Super Smash Brothers for Wii U throwdown Monday, Oct. 10, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Hastings Branch Library

"Body Heat" (1981, R) starring William Hurt and Kathleen Turner will be shown Wednesday, Oct. 12, at 1 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Central Library. In the midst of a Flordia heat wave, a woman convinces her lover, a small-town lawyer, to murder her wealthy husband.

Bring your young child(ren) to the courtyard at One Colorado for a Mommy & Me morning with a singalong featuring Michal Karmi, AKA Peanut, Thursday, Oct. 13, from 10 to 11 a.m. 

A series of kids' craft afternoons continues Thursday, Oct. 13, from 4 to 5 p.m. in the courtyard at One Colorado where children will create a traditional craft that originated with the Huichol nation of Western Mexico. The workshop will be led by Purple Twig.

"Moulin Rouge" (2001, PG-13) starring Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman will be shown Friday, Oct. 14, at 1 p.m. in the Scott Pavilion at the Pasadena Senior Center. A poet falls in love with a beautiful courtesan who is coveted by a jealous duke.


The Latino Heritage Parade is Saturday, Oct. 15.
The annual open house at Carnegie Observatories is Sunday, Oct. 16.
ArtNight Pasadena is Friday, Oct. 21.

Photo credits: Kelly Lorden, Pasadena Conservatory of Music, Sheet Music Download, Nintendo America, Ladd Company, Michall Karmi, One Colorado, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.