Monday, October 26, 2015

Austin History Center Donation

It's been a long time since our last meeting.  The weather has changed to a cool, crisp and breezy time  and there is something brewing at the Homestead.

On October 14, 2015, my husband Brian and I made an official Donation to the Austin History Center to increase the data on the large John McCain and Martha Gault Family.  The Gault Family file now includes:
The Well Branch Homestead current brochure,
2010 Memo of a Gault Gathering at Wells Branch Homestead with a history of Split Rail Fence Quilt; also, pictures taken by Claudia Keith and my understanding of the event,
Chapter V of Book on Gault Family from the Revolutionary War;
A file on the Gault Slaves with a Nelson Merrill Account; mention Martha Mays slave to J. M. Gault;
The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame file on Manny Gault; information on James A. Sikes; 
Gault School of Archaeological Research letter, brochure, business card; 2014 Austin-American Statesman newspaper article of Gault Artifacts
J.F. Gault 1818
W.A. Gault, MD
Thomas Smith Gault Family
Sons of Benjamin Taylor Gault
1900+ or- McNeil School Picture 1940
Edward Gault, owner of Owl Club

Processing Archivist, Molly Hults shared with us a new resource for research through the Austin-American Statesman  I found my grandfather Hayward Thompson, The Blindfold Wizard who demonstrated his strange skill in 1923 of driving blindfolded through the streets of Austin.


Derrick and Cindy Gault Jewel First Visit to Homestead

On Sunday, October 25th Brian and I gave Derrick and Cindy Gault Jewel their first tour of the old Gault Homestead on a cool and rainy day with Derrick's mother, Cindy is a descendant of Benjamin Taylor Gault.  We served a delicious remembrance of traditional, pioneer food.  Here it is for the making:  Start with the ingredients for Skillet Corn Bread below:

2 Cups Buttermilk
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
2 Cups Yellow Cornmeal
2 Tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 Teaspoon Salt
3-4 Tablespoons melted Butter
Drop of Vanilla

Combine the buttermilk, eggs and baking soda and beat well. In a separate bowl, sift together the cornmeal, sugar, if desired, and salt. Add the buttermilk mixture, butter and vanilla and mix well.  Thin this batter with an additional 1/2 to 3/4 cup of buttermilk,milk or water to make waffles. The waffle will be real thin and crispy and a great form of corn bread. It doesn't fall apart on you and it's got the little holes to hold the butter, beans or molasses. Pour into a well-greased waffle iron and watch carefully.  Serves 8 to 10.

If you want to make the Skillet Corn Bread,
use the above listed ingredients (without thinning) and put into a greased cast-iron skillet and bake at 450 degree until golden brown. Let cool slightly and slice like a pie.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Luminary Event 2014

LUMINARY EVENT at the Homestead, December 12th and 13th

  Families began arriving around 5:00 PM to get their pictures with Santa. Some little children at the front of the line who were waiting for a long time were greeted by "Mrs. Claus" (aka Virginia Almon) and allowed into the Homestead early to write letters to Santa, draw, or color. Others on the porch were happily working on the St. Nicholas Word Search. Then around 6 PM Santa Claus arrived to cheers by all. Into the Homestead came parents carrying little ones and holding onto toddlers or pushing strollers. Mrs. Claus greeted each personally and showed participants how pioneers used corncobs to make Christmas presents.  Her corncob basket held corncob checkers, pipe, doll, and darts.  Especially beautiful cornhusks ladies holding infants dressed in pink or blue flowing gowns were shown for all to appreciate. Many tried the corncob dart throw and tasted the ginger cake or Christmas cornbread. Mrs. Almon demonstrated the hand-carved honey bear (made with love) beating the drum and getting some honey or the trapeze toys.  The beat reminded participants of music and some volunteered to play the items at hand -rattles, bells, bones, spoons, washboard, tambourine, etc. and sing Christmas carols. Still other children were focused on coloring and drawing awaiting their turn for a session with Santa.  Those in line progressed slowly to the top table to watch the spinning tops or shoot the popgun. Mr. Almon showed how three pieces of wood could make a star.  Few could duplicate how to do it though.  Mr. and Mrs. Almon also demonstrated finger string art of making a tea cup that with three extra moves turned into a star. Older kids asked for the Jacob's Ladder demo, but it was not available on Friday.  Mrs. Almon made sure she did the Jacob Ladder Story on Saturday.

Overheard: people made the comments that they liked the mantel decoration that made the backdrop for their picture with Santa.  Also, many were pleased that the line went very quickly this year.

A few little ones snuck out of line to move the figures of the Nativity and recall The Christmas Story.
One special girl worked the shadow puppets and told The Christmas Story so clearly.

Our resident buffalo Elmo whose house has been somewhat neglected in the Christmas decorating scheme over the years will be decorated the week before Christmas with a vintage-paper chain made by patient participants. Those who made the paper chain were given a copy of the prayer "Whenever I Journey by Patrick Sayles, SSC
  Whenever I Journey
Send your Spirit to accompany me,
 So that whenever I journey,
 I journey with your blessing.

Send your Spirit to protect me,
 So that however I travel,
I travel with your peace.

Send your Spirit to guide me,
So that wherever I go,
I go with your inspiration.

Send your Spirit to uplift me,
So that whatever I do,
I do for your glory.
Amen.    Fr. Patrick Sayles, SSC

Las Posadas

What is a Posada?  This is a question that a lot of people ask as we prepare to celebrate Christmas.  

The tradition of the Posadas was brought to Mexico from Spain in the 1500's by Catholic Missionaries.  The Posadas commemorate Mary and Joseph's difficult journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a place for the Christ Child to be born.
Traditional Mexican Posada
In Spanish, the word means dwelling or lodging.  The Posadas begin on December 16 for nine evenings, culminating with the Posada on December 24 and Midnight Mass.  

The Posadas are not to be confused with a mere Christmas party.  Instead, the Posadas should be seen as a religious event.  

In many Catholic parishes and also in many Protestant churches and sometimes in neighborhoods, parishioners, neighbors  and anyone who wishes to join in meet at the church or home at a specific time during the early evening.  

The Posada often begins with the recitation of the Holy Rosary, a very beautiful prayer to Mary, the Mother of Jesus.  When a part of the Rosary is prayed by all those who have gathered for the 
Posada, the group begins to proceed from the church to the local neighborhood.