Archive for the ‘Craighead House’ Category

Glorious Times Selected as Award Finalist

March 27, 2017

Foreword Reviews just informed me that Glorious Times: Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists has been selected as a Finalist in its 2016 Book of the Year Awards: https://awards.forewordreviews.com/books/glorious-times-adventures-of-the-craighead-naturalists/

The books considered for awards are books from smaller publishers, including university presses. Foreword explains their purpose this way:

In the publishing industry, we talk a lot about independent publishers. What exactly does that mean? Well, it’s hard to define. In the strictest sense, we mean anyone other than the powerful Big Five: Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster. Though they publish some important, thought-provoking titles, they hardly need help bringing them to market.

On Saturday, April 1st, at 2:00 p.m., I will be giving my first book talk ever at Midtown Scholars Bookstore in Harrisburg, PA. This talk will be about a small portion of my new book—it contains too much information for a single talk to cover, so I’m focusing on how teenagers can impact the country.

https://calendar.google.com/calendar/render?eid=aTNvY3NnZjIzZ2wybHU1MnJxODI2dG9qMW8gdnNtbmlwMXU1OWlrMTVxNmZlN243NTZic29AZw&ctz=America/New_York&t=AKUaPmbwX1qXEeBRi2rvNZsyW3ndmn2KWcWhtdZY2czdMCqDwWZXBoPnC53ykF7BCAsVUoTwVZKRDJalHwQcZ_nsrRMQGaW38A%3D%3D&sf=true&output=xml#eventpage_6

 

Book Talk in Florida

February 4, 2017

 

The publisher of Glorious Times: Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists,University of Montana Press, reports that copies of the book are now in the hands of the distributor, Farcountry Press. The distributor supplies books to libraries and bookstores.

http://www.farcountrypress.com/details.php?id=708

People desiring copies of the book signed by the author can get them at http://www.tuxedo-press.com/.

Those on Florida’s west coast can attend a talk given by the author at 3:00 pm Wednesday, February 8 at Collier County Museum, 3331 E. Tamiami Trail, Naples, FL 34112.

More about the Craigheads’ connections with Florida can be found at: http://www.colliergov.net/your-government/divisions-f-r/museums/collier-county-museum.

 

 

 

New Article on the Craighead Naturalists

December 27, 2016

The January/February 2017 issue of The Penn Stater, the Penn State University alumni magazine, contains an article titled “Three of a Kind.” The three of a kind are Frank Jr. and John, the Craighead twins, and their younger sister Jean, best known by her married name, Jean Craighead George. The three siblings all graduated with bachelors degree from Penn State College, well before it became a university. However, they were far from the first members of the family to attend the school. Several Craigheads have matriculated there, including the father and two uncles of Jean and the twins, as well as two of their first cousins The Penn Stater needs to run a piece that explores the careers of Frank “Rattlesnake” Craighead, who accomplished more in retirement than most do during their active careers, his brothers Charles, an eminent metallurgist, and orchard entomologist and fly fisherman extraordinaire Eugene, who was also the father of two Penn State alums, Sam and Bill. Bill and Sam also pursued careers involving the study of nature.

If Penn State had royalty, the Craigheads would certainly be a family of high ranking.

2017-penn-stater-jan-feb-1

 

 

Time for Christmas

November 28, 2016

Halleluiah! Copies of my latest book have finally arrived, just in time for Christmas. Signed copies can be ordered at http://www.tuxedo-press.com/. A review follows:

preorder-cover-tinyForeWord Reviews

Summer Issue 2016

In this genealogy of the Craighead family, the author explores the history and exploits of this famously nature-oriented clan.

The tale of the Craigheads begins with the dawn of the American colonies, but the book itself begins with the engaging tale of two Craighead brothers capturing and training hawks in Depression-era Pennsylvania. This story-oriented style typifies Glorious Times, which recounts the lives of the historical Craigheads in lively detail, bringing readers into close, personal proximity to the subjects’ lives. Roughly chronologically, the book describes each significant Craighead chapter by chapter, always highlighting their nature-loving and environmental points. Since the family’s story begins so early in American history, the book spends several chapters working through older relatives, who predated what modern activists would recognize as environmentalism, before getting to the generations that produced the more famous conservationists and natural scientists. However, the theme of the Craigheads as nature-lovers, hikers, campers, and outdoorspeople remains a powerful thread throughout the book. The author’s research on the topic could not be more meticulous, incorporating typical genealogical sources, such as newspapers, as well as personal interviews with Jean Craighead George and family documents, such as diaries.

Particularly valuable to book people may be the insight that Glorious Times provides into the mind and personality of Jean Craighead George, who is presented as at once more liberal and ambitious than other Craighead women and fully in step with her family’s environmentalist tradition. Fans and critics of her work and of the roots of the twentieth century environmental stewardship movement will find this work a fascinating insight. Genealogists may also be interested in the book as an example of a family history well executed.

Glorious Times Now Available for Pre-order

October 30, 2016

preorder-cover-tinyPre-orders for Glorious Times: Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists are now being accepted for delivery in early December just in time for Christmas. I will inscribe and sign them with the inscription requested at the time of purchase. For those who are not familiar with the Craighead family of naturalists, here is what the publisher has to say about the book:

Glorious Times… tells the fascinating story of an American clan of Scots-Irish origin that settled in and near the South Mountain “Cradle of Conservation” close to nature, with the Yellow Breeches Creek flowing past its backyard, woods just beyond fields and meadows, and the mountain within walking distance. Since the early 1700s, this remarkable family called and still calls “Craighead Station” Pennsylvania its “home,” even though many of its members more recently have made other homes elsewhere in the country. But they always return. In Tom Benjey’s engaging telling of the Craighead story through the centuries and generations, he focuses special attention, for good reason, on the generation of Craigheads we know best: that of the twins Frank Jr., John, and their sister Jean Craighead George; but he doesn’t neglect the earlier generations of Craighead naturalists either. Their father, Frank Sr., also an important scientist and naturalist—as well as aunts, uncles, and cousins who were important outdoorsmen—and women themselves—get well deserved attention, too.

To order your signed (if you prefer that) copy, mail a check to this address:

Tuxedo Press
546 E Springville Rd
Carlisle, PA 17015

OR

email your credit card information and mailing address to orders@Tuxedo-Press.com

OR

Phone 717-258-9733 with your credit card information and mailing address.

Credit card information needed
Credit card number, CVV/CVV2 (the little number usually on the back of the card), 
expiration date, and your billing ZIP cod

OR click on the book cover to order on-line.

Cost

Glorious Times:                   $18.95
Shipping:                        $  4.00
Total (non-PA residents):         $22.95
PA sales tax:                    $  1.38
Total (PA residents):             $24.33  

ForeWord Reviews Now On-Line

May 28, 2016

Summer 2016 ForeWord Reviews cover 1 in

The Summer 2016 edition of ForeWord Reviews is on-line as of midnight. The Spotlight section on Climate Change, in which my book is featured, hasn’t been uploaded as yet although it is in the print version.

The full review of my book can be found in full at: https://www.forewordreviews.com/reviews/glorious-times/

First Review for New Book

May 20, 2016

Summer 2016 ForeWord Reviews cover 1 in

The first review of my new book, which is to be released in late June, arrived in today’s mail. It received a prominent position on a Spotlight page but the last sentence and a half of the review were cut off. One would expect the entire review to be in the on-line version at ForeWordReviews. com when it is released.

 

 

 

 

 ForeWord Reviews

Summer Issue 2016

 Glorious Times: Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists

Tom Benjey

University of Montana Press

Softcover $16.95 (370pp)

978-0-1-9909748-7-1

In this genealogy of the Craighead family, the author explores the history and exploits of this famously nature-oriented clan.

The tale of the Craigheads begins with the dawn of the American colonies, but the book itself begins with the engaging tale of two Craighead brothers capturing and training hawks in Depression-era Pennsylvania. This story-oriented style typifies Glorious Times, which recounts the lives of the historical Craigheads in lively detail, bringing readers into close, personal proximity to the subjects’ lives. Roughly chronologically, the book describes each significant Craighead chapter by chapter, always highlighting their nature-loving and environmental points. Since the family’s story begins so early in American history, the book spends several chapters working through older relatives, who predated what modern activists would recognize as environmentalism, before getting to the generations that produced the more famous conservationists and natural scientists. However, the theme of the Craigheads as nature-lovers, hikers, campers, and outdoorspeople remains a powerful thread throughout the book. The author’s research on the topic could not be more meticulous, incorporating typical genealogical sources, such as newspapers, as well as personal interviews with Jean Craighead George and family documents, such as diaries.

Particularly valuable to book people may be the insight that Glorious Times provides into the mind and personality of Jean Craighead George, who is presented as at once more liberal and ambitious than other Craighead women and fully in step with her family’s environmentalist tradition. Fans and critics of her work and of the roots of the twentieth century environmental stewardship movement will find this work a fascinating insight. Genealogists may also be interested in the book as an example of a family history well executed.

Craigheads Host Carlisle Indian School Students

April 22, 2016

The ability to search Carlisle Indian School Student Files has given me the ability to identify (however incompletely) the students who worked and lived with the Craighead family on their outing periods away from the school. That Richard Reynolds and Mary Leidigh Craighead were early supports of the school and their location adjacent to the railroad tracks at Craighead Station likely made them favored hosts. After Charles Cooper Craighead married Agnes Miller in 1886, they also had Carlisle students with them on outings.

The files available on-line at Dickinson College include partial outing rosters on which only three students were listed as having stayed with a Craighead family: Henry Morning, Sadie Metoxen and Myrtle Thomas. Student Files proved to be more reliable. A search of them for “Craighead” returned the names of 22 unique students (some were duplicated) who had been with a Craighead family on outings, one of which was Myrtle Thomas. A Student File wasn’t found for Henry Morning and Sadie Metoxen’s file wasn’t returned by the “Craighead” search because it doesn’t include a card for the time period in which she was with the J. B. Craighead family. A search of images not unexpectedly found no photos taken at Craighead Station or of Craighead family members. I would have been surprised if any had been in the school’s files.

A search of Carlisle Indian School publications on “Craighead” found no occurrences. I knew this was misleading because I had previously found references to Craigheads as supporters of the school in the school’s newspapers. I had also read an article in one of the school’s newspapers that mentioned Emma Strong being with Agnes Craighead but her Student File could not be found. A complete manual scan of the Carlisle Indian School newspapers and literary magazines would be necessary to identify the names of all the Carlisle Indian School students who stayed with Craigheads on their outings.

To access the Dickinson College site, key in or click on http://carlisleindian.dickinson.edu/student-files.

 

Searching Scanned Carlisle Files

April 19, 2016

Something not previously mentioned is that people’s names were not always spelled uniformly or correctly. It’s always a good idea to also search on common misspellings of the name. A simple example is Lone Star Dietz whose father spelled the family name Deitz. Something to keep in mind is that some students went by more than one name, such as Charles Guyon aka Wahoo. If you are looking for information on a woman, make sure you also have her maiden name if she was ever married as her records are likely to be under that name. Also search on her married name because some of her  items might be associated with that name.

Student files aren’t the only things that can be retrieved. Links to photographs are not uncommon as are inclusions on lists that have been scanned. Mentions of the person in Carlisle Indian School publications, such as The Morning Star, The Red Man, The Carlisle Arrow, etc. are often found but are generally incomplete.

Emma Strong 1902Sometimes information can be found for students whose student files have been lost .  Emma Strong is an example. Her name appears in the student file for Frank DeFoe, whom she married after leaving the school. Her name also appears on some lists, however those entries are for other people named Strong or Armstrong or for students not strong (healthy) enough to remain at Carlisle. Emma Strong’s name appears several times in Carlisle Indian School publications but none of those articles are found by this search.

Sometimes, such as in the case of long family names, using just the first five or six letters may return results where spelling it completely won’t. That is because searching on scanned documents is an imperfect process at best.

To access the Dickinson College site, key in or click on http://carlisleindian.dickinson.edu/student-files.

 

The Real Ruth Craighead

August 8, 2015

On Monday, I sent a listing of the pieces of artwork on the north wall of the Craighead House to family members and friends who might have information about one or more pieces of the artwork. I soon received an email from Ruth Craighead Muir, who is known to her extended family as Ruth Ann, that she hadn’t done a piece I had attributed to her. The drawing in question looks to me like the front view of a long-winged bird in flight. It is signed “Ruth Craighead Malden, Mass.” I was only aware of two Ruth Craigheads. The older one married Harold Gawthrop shortly after WWI and had gone by her married name almost a decade before the rats first appeared on the kitchen wall. So, I eliminated her, leaving Ruth Ann as the only possibility. Wrong!

A quick search on Ancestry.com uncovered several Ruth Craigheads, one of whom, Ruth H. Craighead, lived in Malden, Massachusetts. Searches of censuses revealed that a John Craighead migrated from Scotland in 1856 when he was two years old. His family settled in Rochester, New York where he attended public schools. Afterwards, he operated a music store and served as chief of the volunteer fire department for a number of years. When he was about 40, he moved to Malden, Massachusetts. He married Susie Brooks, with whom he had three daughters and a son. In Malden, he worked for the Home Savings Bank where he was a stock man. He was also active in the Mystic Side Congregational Church, possibly due to a lack of Presbyterian churches in the Boston area.

After John died in 1934, Susie and unmarried daughters Mildred J. (called M. Joy) and Ruth H. continued to live in the family home at 18 Hancock Street. Both Mildred and Ruth took jobs as stenographers after leaving school. In 1910, Mildred worked for a bank and Ruth for a shoe company. Her children grown, Susie worked as a magazine solicitor. By 1920, Ruth worked as a private secretary for a company involved in federal sales. She later joined a bank, possibly the same one where her sister worked. When Ruth became a lawyer isn’t clear yet but the sometime writer of letters to the editor was practicing law by 1944, probably before. She also traveled abroad. How she happened to come to Craighead Station isn’t known but, due to the twins’ articles in National Geographic, she could easily have known about them.

N2-Bird in Flight