In the Woods – Part Five

The summer Ella turned sixteen she fell in love with Rueben Alan Stiles. He had a smile that warmed her heart, a sense of humor that made her laugh, often, and a kindness that touched her very soul. She had known Rueben since she was a child. They attended the same one-room school house although he was four years older. Ella completed her education when she was in eighth grade. That same year, Rueben left for college, for he wanted to be a journalist and travel the world. She really never gave him a second thought until he came home for a visit. Continue reading “In the Woods – Part Five”

In the Woods – Part Four

Mariah quickly marched through the woods, racing to find solitude in her own home.  The girls had a hard time keeping up with their mother.  Although the two girls had many questions about their great-grandmother, they also knew that now wasn’t the proper time to question their mother, for they could observe their mother’s inner turmoil.  Once their home came into view, Mariah raced to her home to find the necessary seclusion of her bedroom.  Esther and Sally watched their mother as she sprinted across the field.  They never witnessed their mother in such a state, and it frightened them. Continue reading “In the Woods – Part Four”

The Royal Gorge Bridge

Near Canon City, Colorado, the Royal Gorge Bridge sits on a 360 acre parcel of land that attracts tourists from around the world.  This bridge crosses a gorge that is over 950 feet above the Arkansas River.  Until 2001, this bridge was the highest bridge in the world.  Continue reading “The Royal Gorge Bridge”

Motherhood — All for Family

“How dare he! Marvayle at my weaknesse, does he?” She fumed once she fled to the safety of her room. “Men call it a weaknesse when a woman uses common sense to measure what is best for a family.”

Amidst rolling hills, Dorset, England appeared to be a tranquil village in the middle years of the seventeenth century. Sheep grazed on green landscapes, and fields of flax and hemp blew softly along the countryside. Fisherman journeyed to open waters along the Dorset Coast, looking for a day’s catch of cod. Shipbuilders created vessels to use on the open seas. Around the village, production took place as crafters made rope and cloth.

Still, uncertainty bubbled about this small community.  As religious arguments emerged between churchgoers, villagers longed to escape religious doctrine. Others desired new lands as the hamlet’s population increased, and as crops failed, for now, work was hard to find.

And then there was Christobel’s husband, John Gallup. Here was a daring man, a man who longed for new lands and new possibilities. This adventurer simply wanted new adventures.

Her heart still cried as she remembered that March day in 1630 when he boarded the ship at Plymouth. She watched the John and Mary sail out of the harbor as tears streamed down her face. She was angry! How dare he leave her and the children, especially before their youngest child was yet to be born!  Her heart sank as the ship grew smaller and smaller in the distance. Quietly, the women bowed her head, laid her hands on her growing belly, and prayed that she would see her husband once again.

After her husband’s departure, the lonely wife struggled through her daily activities while trying to keep up appearances so she would not alarm her children. She made small talk with the neighbors but danced around the questions asked about her husband, and a time frame of his return.

More than once she wished she had her parents or siblings to help her fight the daily loneliness and her feelings of abandonment. Her parents died when she was young, and she longed for the support of family.


One early July morning, she knew her time had arrived. The beginning pains of childbirth had begun. Her husband was an ocean away when she gave birth to their tiny son, John, baptized on July 11, just over a month after her husband left her. As she held the little one close to her heart, she wondered if she would ever see her husband again. This wife and mother feared for the uncertainty of her family’s future and hoped this child would one day know his father.

While Christobel longed for her husband, she was quite content to remain in her home. After all, the colonies sounded rather unpleasant. She heard the whispers of savage attacks. Through others from the provinces, her husband sent word of wars and the threat of pirates. “Dear me,” she whispered as she recalled the story of her husband chasing a rogue swashbuckler by the name of Dixy Bull, who escaped her husband and his men. As John and his crew chased the devilish bandits, a storm landed, and the blizzard made it impossible for them to follow the pirate and his band.

Although she missed her husband, she was uncertain about traveling to Massachusetts Bay. She was fearful of what this new land had to offer, and the mother worried about the safety of her children. Then there was John; she missed her husband although she was still angry that he left. How could he uproot their lives? Surely, he would return to his family. She was thankful that her children remained. Although it was comforting to have little ones with her, the mother longed for her family to be reunited.

It had been nearly three years since she laid eyes on her husband. She knew the man loved her and missed her; she also knew he loved the open sea and his life as a trader and fisherman along the coastal shores of the colonies.   She knew he fretted that thousands of miles of ocean separated his family.  This wife longed to see him and finally have her family together once more. But dare she go? Her fears took over as she worried about her the uncertainty of her family’s future.

Her anger rose once again when she recalled the visit she received from Reverend White in the middle of summer. The Governor of Massachusetts Bay was upset that he might lose John and his invaluable navigational skills and his generous service and loyalty to the blasted colonies. Winthrop had taken it upon himself to interfere in their separation. The minister explained that her husband missed her and the family and wanted to come home until that man had to interfere.

“How dare he!  Marvayle at my weaknesse, does he?” She fumed once she fled to the safety of her room. “Men call it a weaknesse when a woman uses common sense to measure what is best for a family.” And then that man’s final insult; money sent for passage for the children with or without her!  As if she would lose another family member, especially her children! “Well, we will see about that!” The mother countered.

The loving mother knew what had to do as she prepared for her family’s voyage to an uncertain new world.   Even if the thrill of adventure had clouded her husband’s judgment and also if she felt this uncertain wilderness held dangers, this mother would not lose her children. She slowly began conquering each fear as she started to plan for a future in Massachusetts Bay.




Note:  A short story based on the life of my 12x great grandmother, Cristobel Brushett




Family Tree

Cristobel Brushett (1592 – 1655)
12th great-grandmother
John Gallup (1619 – 1675)
son of Cristobel Brushett
John Gallup (1646 – 1733)
son of John Gallup
Capt. John Gallup (1675 – 1755)
son of John Gallup
Elizabeth Gallup (1714 – 1777)
daughter of Capt. John Gallup
Zachariah Frink (1731 – 1804)
son of Elizabeth Gallup
Daniel Frink (1754 – 1811)
son of Zachariah Frink
Zachariah Frink (1775 – 1804)
son of Daniel Frink
Elias Frink (1796 – 1855)
son of Zachariah Frink
Clarissa Amelia Frink (1830 – 1892)
daughter of Elias Frink
Ellsa LaDuke (1862 – 1898)
daughter of Clarissa Amelia Frink
Anna Strassburg (1892 – 1913)
daughter of Ellsa LaDuke
Elva Marie Bryant (1908 – 1983)
daughter of Anna Strassburg
Dorothy Marie Allen (1934 – 2006)
daughter of Elva Marie Bryant




  • Gallup Family Association. Gallup Genealogy: Gallop, Galloup, Galloupe, Gallupe, Gollop. 2nd ed., Brigham Young University, Family History and Genealogy Services, 1987.
  • Jordan, John W. Colonial Families of Philadelphia, Vol. 1, New York, NY, The Lewis Publishing Co., 1911.
  • Lineage Book of the National Society of Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America. Vol. 40, Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America, 2006.
  • Mandrell, Regina Moreno Kirchoff. Our Family, Facts and Fancies: The Crary and Related Families. Patagonia Press, 1993.
  • New England, The Great Migration and The Great Migration Begins, 1620-1635, Operations, Inc., 2013, search. /db.aspx?dbid =2496.
  • North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000, Operations, Inc., 2016,
  • Radune, Richard A. Pequot Plantation: The Story of an Early Colonial Settlement. Branord, CT, Research in Time Publications, 2005.
  • “Relative Map.”, Brigham Young University Family History Technology Lab,



Singing with Mama

“I’m a lonely little petunia in an onion patch….

When I was a little girl, my room was off the kitchen, so I often heard my mom bustling around the kitchen in the early hours before she would wake us up for school.  While she was making the morning coffee and preparing for the day, she would often sing her favorite childhood songs.  Her humming and her singing were such a great start to my day.  It was like burrowing under a favorite comforter while knowing some time remained to enjoy its soothing warmth.  It was comforting and cozy. Continue reading “Singing with Mama”

The Ghost on Lincoln Avenue

Laughter behind closed doors sent shivers, and when explored, opened doors would not always close, no matter how hard we pushed on them.


While living on the small island nestled in the San Francisco Bay, I often overheard bizarre tales of supernatural events that took place in some of the Victorian homes around Alameda.  As a skeptical teenager, I would listen politely but believed such events only transpired in the overactive imagination of the “storyteller,” that is until strange things began happening in my own home. Continue reading “The Ghost on Lincoln Avenue”

Spinning Yarns

Mama would often tell stories about family. One person she would often talk about was her great grandfather, William (Wilhelm) Strassburg. William was born in Prussia on January 9, 1861 to August Fredrick Strassburg and Mary Eva Mudth.

1 copy
SS Weser

According to the tales, William told his grand daughter, he came to this country when he was just a small boy. He told my mom that he snuck on board a ship and traveled alone. According to mama, he had a broken arm that did not heal correctly; he told her that he received this injury in World War I while fighting for his new country that he loved so very much. Continue reading “Spinning Yarns”