Funky Math and Long-Lost Ancestors

Vine Bolero Progress #1Now I know that I’m not a mathematician but here’s the deal.  If you cast on 155 stitches and are told to knit 3 initial stitches and then knit one chart five times (and that chart has 17 stitches) and then you are told to switch to a different chart and knit that five times (and THAT chart also has 17 stitches) and then end with 2 knitted stitches and you are to do this in one row, how many stitches does that make?  Let’s do the math, folks.  17 x 5 = 85 stitches.  85 x 2 = 170 stitches .  Now add to that the 3 beginning stitches and the 2 ending stitches and what do we end up with as total stitches in the row?  I get 175 stitches.  No way in you know what will it come out to 155 stitches.  You don’t want to know how many times I have frogged this project, believe me.  And it’s not the first time that I’ve found it to be inaccurate.  Suffice it to say, I have parted company with this project.  I am taking my yummy silky malabrigo (which is surprisingly still in one piece and not shredded or felted by now) and I’m moving it to another pattern.  I had hubby drive me to a local yarn shop and I found another pattern that I am confident is pretty foolproof.  The new pattern is no where near as pretty as the former pattern might have ended up BUT at least it will be wearable.  And I might finish my vacation without strangling my yarn or whatever person is sitting next to me.

Diversity Sculture ProfilesOn the ancestral trail, yesterday we worked at the Minnesota Historical Society.  Well, hubby worked and I knitted.  On the way out, I snapped a picture of these sculptures which I thought were pretty different.  They are supposed to represent the diversity of the people of Minnesota.  If you look closely at the grooved sides of the pillars, you can begin to make out different profiles.  Inside the building, they had actually cut a slice out of the middle part of the pillar and then you could easily see the profile of a person’s face but outside, you have to use your imagination a little more.  anyway, thought I’d share these with you.

Historic Courthouse in StillwaterToday we headed up to Stillwater, Minnesota and first stopped at the Washington County Historical Society’s Library.  The Executive Director, Brent Peterson, was really helpful in showing us different references on my great-grandfather, Emil Graf who was an early settler in the Stillwater/Marine on St. Croix area.  Emil’s big claim to fame in these parts was two-fold:  He was a Civil War veteran of the First Minnesota Regiment AND he was a brewer here.  He originally migrated from Switzerland as a boy with his parents.  They disembarked in New Orleans, came up the Mississippi River, and made it to this neck of the woods.

Civil War MonumentSide View of Civil War SoldierBrent gave us some tips on places to find more information on Emil and also alerted us to the fact that Emil was listed on a Civil War monument in front of the courthouse.  We headed over there and sure enough, we found the statue of the soldier and beneath him, there was my great-grandfather’s name.  It’s always a thrill to find traces of family when you are on a heritage quest.  Emil Graf was quite the self-made man.  He ended up helping to found the town of Lismore, Minnesota (more on that from our next stop on the heritage quest), was one of the early presidents of the bank in Lismore, was a county commissioner, and was one of the last members of the Last Man’s Club comprised of surviving members of the 1st Minnesota Regiment.  He supplied a rather colorful memoir to a newspaper many years ago and in it, he makes it sound like he was right there at the Battle of Gettysburg.  However, lucky for us, he actually had been injured enroute to the battle and had been sent to Philadelphia where he was recuperating when most of the men of the 1st Minnesota lost their lives at Gettysburg.  It seems one of the wagons transporting the artillery pieces ran over his foot as they were marching towards Gettysburg and that was how he was injured.

Dee with CannonIn the spirit of the occasion, I did a little reenacting of the infamous ancestral injury, borrowing the services of a handily-placed Civil War howitzer cannon.  (Sorry, Gr.Grandpa Graf, I couldn’t resist!)  I’m sure he wouldn’t have been amused.  My 95-year-old mother recalls traveling down to Florida with her parents when she was about 5 to visit him (I guess you could say that he was a pioneer snowbird, too) and she confessed to me that she never liked him much.  She said that he just didn’t seem to enjoy small children.

From Stillwater, we headed up along the St. Croix River towards the town of Marine on the St. Croix.  This is where Emil’s parents had their brewery.   My hubby had found some cemetary records that indicated there were Grafs buriGraf and His Descendented in a cemetary outside of town and with the directions that Brent gave us, we found the cemetary with no problem.  Finding the Graf tombstones was another matter.  Hubby took one side of the cemetary and I took the other and we began walking, checking out the stones as we went.  We finally got lucky near the end.  There was an obelisk with my Great-Great Grandfather John Jacob Graf on one side and his wife, his sister, and his brother-in-law all inscribed on the other 3 sides.  We’d located the final resting place of Emil’s parents.   Wow, that was really something.  Tomorrow huby will do some more sleuthing at the county courthouse and I’ll probably head to the library in town and look through the old newspapers on microfilm.  We found out that John Jacob and his wife also lived for a time across the river on the Wisconsin side so maybe we’ll drive over there for a bit, too.  We’ve got one more day here before we trace Emil’s path down to the southwestern part of Minnesota, down to my old stomping grounds.

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