Thomas Jefferson, Natural Bridge, & My Great-Grandfather

I. Thomas Jefferson was smitten with the rugged beauty of the Natural Bridge deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia. He visited this geographic wonder 120 miles from Monticello at least six times, describing its sturdy limestone arch 250 feet above Cedar Creek, as “the most sublime of nature’s works.”  Natural Bridge, May 2022  (Barry D. Wood photo) Jefferson was enthralled both by the … Continue reading Thomas Jefferson, Natural Bridge, & My Great-Grandfather

Dangerous Life of Michigan Lumberjacks

MESICK, MI: In the 1880s Michigan was America’s biggest producer of lumber.  Magnificent stands of hard wood and white pine had been purchased on the cheap by timber barons who made great fortunes clear cutting Michigan forests. By 1930 it was gone.  But the hard-living men who sweated sawing and hauling giant trees became the stuff of legend like cowboys in the American west.   Lumberjacks (they called … Continue reading Dangerous Life of Michigan Lumberjacks

Thomas Edison: Character Forged in Ohio and Michigan

MILAN, OHIO: There are surprises when visiting Thomas Edison’s birthplace in northern Ohio. The great inventor was born in this pleasant village between Cleveland Toledo in 1847, the 7th and youngest child in a family with roots in Canada. The Edisons’ sturdy two-story brick home was a cut above the neighbors, revealing their relative prosperity. Thomas’s father made roofing shingles. A further surprise is that … Continue reading Thomas Edison: Character Forged in Ohio and Michigan