Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 in Review

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

As 2013 draws to a close, Ruth suggested that we do a monthly review of our photographing adventures. Here are just a few of the many subjects we photographed throughout the year.

In January, after intending for several years to photograph a barn that always had a wreath displayed at Christmas, I finally found the time to visit it at dusk and was delighted to discover a second wreath on the gate near the barn.

February treated us to good snow cover and a narrow road plowed well enough for us to visit the Old Rock Church and Cemetery in Iowa County, Wisconsin.

In March, on a sunny winter day, we drove the backroads of Sauk County. Although we’ve driven almost every road in that county, we still manage to find things we hadn’t seen before. On that day, we discovered an interesting sketch on the side of a milkhouse, on a farm we assume was at one time a pig farm. We also assume the sketch is a reference to a 1977 film entitled, “Looking for Mr. Goodbar.”

In April, on our way to Ohio, we drove in the early morning darkness towards an old roller mill in Wabash County, Indiana. However, our plans to be at the mill at first light were foiled by flooding in the area. After trying several roads that were under water, we finally found a route that allowed us to reach the mill. By that time, however, the sun was above the horizon. Only by crossing the river and finding a different angle did we capture a nice photo of this mill.

On the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, we had a marathon day in Ozaukee and Washington Counties. We left home in the dark and were still near Milwaukee at nightfall. I worked my tail off that day and came back with 600 great photos, including this one of the foot bridge by the last remaining original covered bridge in Wisconsin.

Early June always finds us on the backroads of Green County completing the annual breeding bird survey. We leave home around 2:30 am and attempt to finish the survey by 10:00 am. This year, after finishing the survey, we spent some time photographing flowers before returning home.

The heat of the summer often makes us reluctant to go out photographing, but we found acceptable temperatures toward the end of July. So we took a trip to Walworth County – our first trip there since getting my first digital camera in 2006.

For years, I’ve been meaning to get over to Pope Farm Conservancy to photograph the field of sunflowers that is always planted there. Finally, this August, I left for work very early one day and stopped at the conservancy to photograph the sunflowers before starting my work day.

In September, we traveled to Iowa to photograph on the backroads, along with taking in a couple of barns on the Iowa Barn Foundation Tour. Often on these tours, the barn owners greet the visitors and talk about their barns. In this case, we didn’t see the owners, but we were greeted by a friendly (and tired) old dog.

Autumn is our favorite time of year and Vernon County is one of our favorite counties, especially in the fall. Much of this county is inhabited by Amish families and this year we found some great fall color and some very friendly Amish folks.

After all the leaves fall in October, we have our annual calendars to design and get printed. And it’s a good time to catch up on our backlog of back office duties before the first snowfall. Then December arrives and we head out again. This year, we visited downtown Madison and captured the beautiful Capitol building, with a Christmas tree on every corner of the Capitol Square.

We hope you and your family are having the best holiday season ever. And we wish you a Happy New Year’s and a wonderful 2014.

Happy Shunpiking!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Behold, I Bring You Tidings of Great Joy

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men."

Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2; Verses 8-14

Ruth and I wish everyone a blessed, peaceful Christmas. And, as always Happy Shunpiking!


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Fall Creek Massacre

By Ruth A. Ringelstetter

In early May of this year, on our last day of vacation, we were heading home through Indiana. Like on every trip, I tried to plan a different route to and from our destination. This trip took us near the town of Pendleton, Indiana.

Sometimes I hunt things up through my research and make note of them, but I’m not certain we’ll want to visit them. When I mentioned the site of the Fall Creek Massacre to Joann, she said we should see if we could find it.

It was the hanging site of the men convicted of the massacre of several Native Americans at Fall Creek. Now it is marked with a stone inscribed with the words “Three white men were hung here in 1825 for killing Indians.”

Madison County, Indiana was founded in 1823 and was sparsely populated. Sometime during the winter of 1823-1824, a small band of Indians of unknown tribal origin, came to the area to hunt and collect maple syrup. The townspeople were friendly with the Indians.

Thomas Harper was not a local man, and had drifted into the area in early 1824. He had a hatred of Indians and was vocal around town about finding some Indians to kill.

On March 22, 1824, a group of white men led by Thomas Harper and including two of his relatives, the 18 year-old-son of one of the relatives and another teenage boy, approached the small band of Indians. Using lost horses as a ruse, they asked the Indians to help them track their horses. Two of the Indians agreed and went with the men to look for the horses.

Once they were in the woods, Harper and Hudson fell behind and shot the Indians in the back. Then they returned to camp and murdered the women and children. One male Indian was injured and survived.

The next day, the massacre was discovered by a local farmer. At the same time, the men were bragging around town about murdering the Indians. All except Thomas Harper were soon captured. He had taken the loot stolen from the Indian camp and fled.

The first trial was held and Thomas Hudson was found guilty. He was sentenced to death by hanging, which was carried out on January 12, 1825. The teenage boy who had accompanied the men was a major witness in the trials. The trial of the other three took place and they also were sentenced to death by hanging.

On June 3, 1825, the last three were scheduled to be hung. A large crowd including some Indians had gathered to watch. The men were hung first, and then the 18-year-old boy was led to the gallows. As he stood there with a noose around his neck and a hood over his head, the governor of Indiana stepped forward and announced his pardon. The petition for his pardon stated his age, ignorance, and the manner in which he had been led into the murders.

Even though this was a sad situation, it did set a precedent for recognizing the civil rights of Native Americans. As Joann and I visit many historic sites, we often comment that it would have been nice to live in that time and see the buildings and sites in their heyday. But then we come across things such as this, and we know that we wouldn’t want to have been around for this sort of occurrence.

We are grateful to a local couple who jogged across the above bridge that morning and were kind enough to help us figure out where to find the Fall Creek Massacre memorial stone.

Happy Shunpiking!