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Thursday, March 5. 2015
Growing up, my Grandmother, Linnie Ross Sanders Wallace, told me several times (in no uncertain terms) that the Sanders were SCOTS-Irish, with the emphasis on "Scots". I heard her and remembered it, but like all youth, I didn’t realize the importance of it later.
Digging through the Sanders’ family’s genealogy, I’ve come across a mystery of sorts. The mystery being was William and/or Lewis Sanders involved in the capture and slaying of Edward Teach, better known as, Black Beard the Pirate. Lewis Sanders was my 6G Grandfather and William was my 6G Uncle.
The plot started when I read an old letter, written in 1895 by Thomas Bailey Saunders and sent to one of his nephews. The letter was posted on Gary B. Sanders website, “Sanders, of Randolph and Montgomery Counties, North Carolina, and Jackson County, Alabama, and other counties in Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas”, and I quote,
"There were two Saunders brothers who came from England long before the Revolutionary war. At that time the pirates were very bad on the North Carolina coast. The governor of Virginia outfitted a vessel to catch them, and in making up the crew he took one of these brothers, and they caught old Black Beard, the pirate, and hung him to the mast arm. The crew got a good deal of money, and when that brother came back he left the U out of his name. This is the reason so many spell their names Sanders”.
Spending a good deal of time researching the events, I was surprised that, actually, the Governor of North Carolina was in league with Black Beard. In fact his Secretary was captured and convicted of accepting funds from the pirate. In reality, the Governor of Virginia gave two unarmed sloops, Ranger and Jane, to Lt. Maynard of the Royal Navy.
On November 22, 1718, Black Beard engaged the two, unarmed sloops in Oracoke Inlet off the coast of North Carolina and opening fire on them with his cannons, he almost destroyed both ships. Teach closed in on Maynard's ship, Ranger, boarded it and engaged Maynard personally in combat. Maynard shot him and both men swung their cutlasses, Teach's shattering Maynard’s and as Teach was going to deliver the death blow, according to an Autumn, 1992 article in the "Colonial Williamsburg", magazine, now online, his throat was slashed by a stout Scot among Maynard's crew.
To claim the reward Maynard cut off Teach's head. Returning to his home port of Hampton, as a warning to other pirates, Teach's head was placed on a stake near the mouth of the Hampton River.
Another quote from Gary B. Sanders website, further whetted my appetite for intrigue, “… I think it's likely that William Sanders of Anson County, North Carolina may be the brother of Lewis Sanders of Fairfax County, Virginia. William and Lewis appear to be of the same generation. DNA tests show William was related to Lewis. These two may well be the two emigrant brothers described in a somewhat jokingly fashion in the 1890's letter of Thomas Bailey Saunders."
Being left with questions that, in all probability, will never be answered, I can only make some assumptions and ask a few more questions. Both brothers were of Scots-Irish ancestry. Both brothers also took the "U" out of Saunders. Was one of the Saunders boy’s a part of Maynard’s crew? Was one of them the “stout, Scot”?
What if the old story is really true?
Posted by Jon Bryan in Ancestry at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, February 28. 2015
It was the second day of our hunt and we had collected only one hog. It was late February and the cold front, ‘norther’ in Texan, hit just before sun up with the wind howling from the north and the temperature dropping like a rock. We had been dressed and eating breakfast when it hit so this required a quick addition of long johns to our apparel.
Out into the teeth of the storm we went and set up our ambush and waited for the hogs. Our wait was a short one and the hogs, probably 10 or more, exploded from the bait and scattered, headed toward the northwest, except for one that was headed our way.
Brad and I were about 5 yards apart and here came a hog, a 200 pounder, right at me and I was square in the middle of his path of escape. Brad couldn’t swing on it for fear of hitting me and all I could do was get ready. The hog charged closer and I put the sight on its nose, tracked down with its movement and the .223 cal., Boomed and the hog rolled right at my feet! The shot hit right above the hog’s eyes and thinking back, I would have gotten “rolled up” by him if I had missed!
After another chase, Brad collected a nice one out of the bunch and we called it a day. With the “norther” howling, we cleaned the 2 and then loaded all three on to the luggage rack of the Suburban, tied them down securely for the almost 300 mile drive to Houston, bid Rick a fond good bye and headed out.
We had a tail wind all the way home, but the cold followed us and turned into sleet and rain by the time we arrived at my northwest Houston home and found to our surprise that our hogs were frozen solid. Hopefully, we’d process them the next day.
I even had a water pipe freeze that night!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, February 18. 2015
Putting together a collection of my stories about all of the storms and natural disasters I have been in, one comes to the fore and shows how conditions can quickly move past hazardous and become deadly!
In the early spring of 2005, several months before I retired, I had planned to get an early start on a Saturday morning and drive to Goldthwaite and arrive before lunch. Living in Bayou Vista, Texas, right on the Gulf Coast, I had a 4 plus, hour drive awaiting me.
Setting my clock for 5:30 AM, I awoke with a start at 6:00 AM. I hadn’t turned “On” the alarm. So much for a real early start! Rushing and getting dressed I looked outside toward my boat dock and notice that it was foggy, not unusual for this time of the year.
Nothing to load up so I climbed into my 4WD, Suburban and headed out noticing that there was about 200 yards of visibility, again not strange. I surmised that the farther I went inland, the lighter the fog will be.
Heading north on I-45 the traffic, yes traffic at 6:20 AM on a Saturday was moving along about 45 MPH and the farther inland I got, it seemed the fog was getting thicker. Seventeen miles from downtown Houston, Beltway 8, a toll road, runs east and west. As I was exiting, going toward the toll road, it seemed that the fog almost touched the Suburban”s top!
Clicking on my blinkers, the traffic report came on, every 20 minutes on weekends, instead of the 10 minutes on workdays, and reports of heavy fog on Beltway 8 around Texas 288, The Nolan Ryan Expressway, 5 miles ahead, was daunting Slow going for a ways!
On the “Raceway”, er Beltway, posted speed is 65 MPH, which is ignored, and most motorist clip along a 75 or 80, but today we’re down to 40 and nearing 288, traffic slowed dramatically, red lights glaring, hazard lights blinking and we entered a white world. The radio blared, “There has been a series of major accident on Beltway 8 between Hillcroft and Cullen, and reports from the scene say the Beltway was closed.”
Closed it was and the fog was so thick I could barely make out the reflections of the car’s lights to my front. I have never seen, or even imagined, that fog could be so heavy! Behind me I heard a grinding CRASH, and braced for a hit that never came.
We’re stopped and nothing to do but listen to the radio, that is now getting a better report from the authorities. The Beltway is closed both ways and at least 100 cars are involved in the chain reaction accident on the inbound side and around 1,000 cars are stuck and fogged in. Deaths and injuries are reported and we are still 2 to 3 miles from the accident site.
Sirens were blaring from every direction as police and sheriff’s officers begin to arrive all along the Beltway. They begin moving cars off of the Beltway and soon I’m on the access road, still heading west, but stopped. We creepped along and in some places the fog seems so thick that it must be impenetrable.
After about an hour, we begin creeping along side the scene of the most deadly accidents and then, the fog lifted, just like that! Cars are piled into each other and resemble accordions, reminding me of scenes from “The Highway Of Death” in Kuwait; some cars are upside down on the grades leading up the overpasses, with radiator fluid, gasoline and oil pooled on the road surface, people are milling around stunned and law officers are everywhere. We continued our creep for 600 or 700 yards and up ahead I saw the law directing us back on to the Beltway, in bright sunshine!
We couldn’t get out of our vehicles and help since we were being herded along. All I could do was say a prayer for those involved and thank the Lord that I was 15 minutes late. If I had been on time, I would have been right in the middle of it.
Final tally was 110, cars and trucks involved, with 7 deaths and a myriad of injured.
I was in Houston last year and traveled along this stretch of the Beltway (at 75 MPH) and there are still skid marks on the road surface and on the median attesting to the speed and violence of the crashes!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Weather at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, February 12. 2015
The fishing in El Golfo out from Mazatlan was terrific and a fall trip yielded dorado, sailfish and a white marlin, but the truly memorable event was the most unusual duck hunt I had ever been on. I had been hunting ducks for over 25 years, sneaking stock tanks, decoying them in flooded rice fields and timber, pass shooting and shooting them over goose spreads, but I never imagined a hunt like this one.
Norman Shelter, a Houston friend of mine, and I were standing on the bank of a tidal lagoon north of Mazatlan, as our guide and his two helpers loaded our guns and shells into 2 flat bottomed, aluminum boats with no visible means of propulsion. Across the lagoon, probably 600 yards away was our objective, where we could see ducks coming in, some landing on the water and some landing in the trees! Hard to sneak up on!
Our guide told us to each to get into a boat and his helpers started pushing us into the lagoon. More instructions from the guide, “Load your guns and lay down in the bottom of the boat and be still and they will push both of you into shooting range and the rest is up to you.” Our helpers didn’t “habla Englais”, but each got behind the boat and hid his head behind the gunnels and started pushing.
Soon we were across the lagoon and both of us rose up and commenced firing at the ducks getting up off the water and the ones coming out of the trees. Ducks flushed wildly as we reloaded and shot some more. The ducks then circled and flew right back over us and we unloaded on them again, which chased them off for good.
As one helper retrieved the ducks the other held the boat and soon we were looking a very different kind of duck. Long neck and webfeet with toenail like things on each foot. A beige breast, black back and a white stripe down the side led to our tentative identification, fulvous tree ducks, fulvous whistling ducks or Mexican squealers, but officially they are, Dendrocygna Bicolor. We took 4 home for supper and gave the rest to the helpers along with a generous tip to which they replied, almost in unison, “Muchas gracias, Jefe!”
Norman and I were a sight when we strolled through the lobby of the El Cid Hotel, muddy, wet and carrying the ducks. We weren’t sure if the Chef would cook them for us, but later at supper, the Duck L’Orange, which we never expected in Mazatlan, was a fitting close to a different kind of duck hunt.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, February 7. 2015
Quota achievement with my company was rewarded each year with an event at a very fashionable location and this quota year’s was in Miami Beach. Ample free time allowed us to choose from several prepaid options, offshore fishing, sightseeing, golf, tennis and, of course, I picked fishing, however there was one drawback.
High pressure was dominating the area causing the wind to really be blowing in from the ocean, 30steady gusting to 40. This, in turn, built up the normally moderate seas to 8 to 10 feet and most charter Captains were reluctant to even venture out, citing boat safety. One Captain finally agreed to take his boat out, but he said to us, “If anyone gets seasick, don’t blame me”.
The 4 of us on the charter loaded up our gear on the, 36 footer and the Captain took the boat down the channel, turned left (to port) and headed toward the ocean. Before we cleared the jetties the seas were already building and once we cleared them, the seas were almost monstrous. Up, down, the boat was shuddering, we were already wet from the wind and spray and, frankly, I was concerned for our safety and how the Captain was going to come about and head back in.
We hadn’t even covered a mile, a mile of a lot of ups and downs, when the first case of seasickness hit us. A female salesman from Chicago rushed to the side, then a salesman from Oklahoma City followed suit, but both of them, even though they were sick, soldiered on. Both my friend from Houston and I, being experienced boaters, were starting to get a little “green” feeling, even the mate was turning pale and the Captain laughed and looked down at all of us and said, “You all asked for it!”
The Mate said to me, “We’re less than 2 miles out and I hate to think about putting the lines out and I’m even getting sick.” Hearing that, I climbed up to the upper cockpit and sat down beside the Captain, leaned over and said, “Calf rope, we’ve had enough! Take us back in.” The Captain replied, “Me Too”, skillfully topped a wave, cut the wheel to the right, powered up, slid into the trough, and climbed up the backside of the next wave! My earlier worries were unfounded.
At a faster clip, we rode the waves back in, cleared the jetties, picked up speed and turned to starboard (right) back up the channel to the marina. With the seas smoothing out and our boat picking up speed, everyone was feeling better. By the time we docked the boat and the saleslady from Chicago and the salesman from Ok City, touched the dock, they we’re miraculously healed! As we got out of the boat, both of the guy’s from Houston, and all of us, of us felt much better too!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Weather at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, February 2. 2015
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, January 28. 2015
This unnamed backup off of the Trinity River was a natural spot for wood ducks, really thick with assorted varieties of trees, mostly cypress, knees and all. Phil, still in college, had accepted an offer to go and “shoot some woodies” from Howie, a friend of a friend. Most of this was because Howie had a nice looking daughter and she had shown a little interest in him this past week when they’d discussed the hunt.
They met at the entrance to the road leading down to the slough, the 15, minute drive in was bumpy and sloppy, but the Jeep’s 4-wheel drive, along with big tires, insured they hadn’t gotten stuck. They donned their waders and walked in around 5:00 PM (before daylight saving), the weather was sloppy, a foggy mist and both hunters hoped that woodies and some big ducks would choose this particular slough to roost up in. Howie was using a 12, gauge auto with an improved cylinder barrel and Phil had his old 12 pump with its modified barrel. Howie told Phil that the modified would be OK, but that he’d better use 7-1/2 shot, like he was, because the shooting would be fast with the ducks in close, the longest shots being at tree top height.
Both hunters waded out in the knee-deep water, Howie going about a hundred yards farther in, they had no decoys, just leaned against a tree and waited. Within 10 minutes here came two big ducks zipping in, yellow feet meant mallards, at tree top height. Phil’s 12 boomed twice and one tumbled into the water. Earlier, Howie mentioned, don’t worry about retrieving because the action would be too fast, so backing up against the tree Phil waited for the next ones. Howie’s auto boomed 3 times, a short time later boomed 3 more, as a woodie came slamming down through the tree branches, Phil’s 12 boomed, splashing the duck, all the time wondering why the high speed crash into the limbs hadn’t broken the ducks neck!
Having only a little over an hours shooting time, both hunters settled in, their guns booming. The duck limit then was one wood duck or 5 drake mallards, not over 5 in possession, Phil stopped shooting having his 4 big ones and the woodie and sloshed out towards Howie’s spot, he was still grinding away, and that late in the afternoon, flame was coming out of his barrel!
Howie said that he had shot a lot of ducks and not seeming to be concerned about a game wardens presence, kept pounding away, the area around him covered with floating, paper hull shells. While Phil was standing beside him, he calmly knocked down 2 more, then saying, they’d better pick up the ducks, left his spot and began gathering them up.
Phil had his 5, but was afraid Howie had way over the limit, which he did, as the count up on the shore showed 41 ducks, mostly woodies! Howie said don’t worry about cleaning them now, that his wife and daughter would help, so they began the drive out, then Phil followed him for the 1, hour drive to the cleaning session.
Phil had never cleaned so many ducks, he and the daughter did the picking, Howie doing the gutting and his wife the singeing, he was particular with the cleaning, saying his customers wouldn’t buy them if sloppily done. So that was it, a market hunter and later Phil learned that Howie also had 2 other spots on Galveston Island, one just outside the city limits that he’d driven past many times on fishing trips, plus the slough on the Trinity.
Phil never went duck hunting with him again, besides he found out the daughter, over pickin' of the ducks, was engaged to a paratrooper.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, January 22. 2015
James Walton and I returned from our Saturday hunt near Thomaston and then, the following Monday, got real lucky, being tipped off and apparently being given permission to hunt quail in the soon to be, very exclusive, Chattahoochee Plantation Subdivision, just north of The Atlanta Country Club in Cobb County. Our luck was compounded because this spot was within a 7 minute, drive of both of our houses
Once across the Johnson Ferry Road Bridge over the slowly flowing, Chattahoochee River, during the last week of bird season in 1979, the first left turn was into the Chattahoochee Plantation Subdivision. The Plantation, just being developed, was outside of any municipal area, the roads were in, one custom home was being finished and lots were sold by appointment only.
James had been tipped off by a friendly real estate agent that he’d better hurry out to the Plantation and get some of the birds before the building project kicked into gear. We took this as permission to hunt there and late the next afternoon, Tuesday, found us meeting at the front gate and entering the spacious grounds.
A half-mile into the subdivision, out of sight from the main road, we stopped and let out my 2 Brittany’s. It was different hunting along paved streets, and soon Rooster was locked down on a hard point. Gus had, like a young dog, run off to explore the area. James and I walked in on the point and a dozen birds came whirring up, we banged, twice and two birds fell and were quickly retrieved by Rooster. Gus came charging up, alerted by the banging, as we marked the remaining birds down in some heavy brush ahead.
Rooster and James swung wide right, Gus and I to the left and I was moving along with my head down, an old trick I picked up in Arizona while looking for arrowheads and at the same time trying to avoid rattlers, I spotted, what had to be, the bill imprints of a woodcock and before I could alert James, whirr, tweep, tweep and up jumped one and I leveled him before he could level off. Gus ran over, again wouldn’t pick up the bird, so I fetched it. James yelled, “We’re changing your nickname from Beechnut” to “Woodcock!” Not 100 feet later this scene was repeated and I folded another timberdoodle as James yelled, “That settles it!”
As dark rushed in on us, being excited over my success, I promptly banged twice at a single quail, successfully putting holes in the overcast sky. We each picked up another quail and called it quits.
This was a good tip! Too bad we didn’t find out about it until almost too late. We agreed to meet here on Thursday afternoon, but when I went into work the next morning I was sent to Chicago to provide some remedial training for a couple of managers not making their numbers. Funny thing, 4 years later I went to work for one of them! This was the end of the 78/79 hunting season for me, but not the end of the woodcocks and me!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 16:10 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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