Monday, June 25, 2012

Thoughts On Immigration... From Someone Who Has Experienced It Firsthand

Having in my lifetime, experience America's immigration system first hand, I thought I might offer a few comments about yesterday's immigration ruling by the Supreme Court.

I agree with the one provision that they kept requiring local law enforcement officials to verify immigration status of those whom they have caught breaking a law. It is a simple procedure of requiring some sort of identification which all law abiding citizens have and those that are here illegally don't have. I do disagree with Justice Kennedy's assertion that great care must be taken when enforcing this to prevent racial profiling. We must remember that these are criminals in the first place. Can you racially profile a criminal whom as standard police procedure you must identify?

I also agree with the courts decision to turn down the part of the law that would allow law officials to arrest without warrant based on 'probable cause' of being an illegal alien. We are a country founded on the belief that we are innocent until proven guilty and as soon as we start believing people guilty before proof, we are no better than countries ruled by the most ruthless of dictators. I would rather ten guilty people go free than one innocent person wrongly incarcerated. Even O.J. Simpson.

I also agree with the court striking down the part of the law requiring those illegally here to carry registration papers and other government identification. Unless I am required by law to carry those things and in certain instances such as when driving a car, I am, then they shouldn't be forced to carry them either. My wife who is a legal immigrant would be forced to carry her passport around with her at all times simply because she doesn't look American and despite the fact that she speaks better English than most native U.S. citizens. In the case of driving a vehicle and being stopped, in this state we are given a period of time to produce a valid license before being charged. That law should apply to all people.

I disagree with the court on turning down the part of the law forbidding those who are here illegally from soliciting or applying for work. Those working illegally only do one thing, prevent those here legally from getting the same job. The argument of those in favor of allowing illegals to work here is that they do jobs that legal citizens won't do. My argument is that we should allow legalized slavery? No. If legal citizens won't do the work then those that want the work done will have to pay more money until legal citizens are willing to do it. It is simple supply and demand economics. We should not subsidize fruit with the brows of illegal aliens because they are willing to do such work at meager wages.

I also disagree with the court on turning down the criminalization of being illegal in this country. They committed a crime by entering our country without proper documents. They are criminals and should be punished as such which at bare minimum means thrown in jail until they legally complete requirements or deported, which ever we desire. By allowing them to remain here and not be prosecuted, and this applies to Obama's move saying we won't deport children of those who illegally enter our country, we cheapen and toughen immigration for all those who do so legally. We cheapen it because why work five years to earn it legally when all you have to do is sneak through our borders once and you're good. We toughen legal immigration because our immigration quotas will be cranked down to reflect those who illegally entered our country meaning those who legally want to immigrate, a process that can take upwards of 20 years for some people, will not have to wait even longer.

Overall, I agreed with the court on three of the five issues but think the two that they 'missed' were some of the more important ones in solving our immigration problem. I think everyone would admit we do have an immigration problem and it needs to be solved before we become horrible over crowded and impoverished like so many other countries. Obamacare is up this Thursday. I'm sure it will contain a mixed bag of results for me too.

Friday, June 22, 2012


After nearly three years or 155 weeks to be more precise, my wife is graduating this weekend from her residency program. Also for the first time in longer than three years, I have to dress up and actually wear a tie for some swanky dinner they give to the new graduates and their spouses. I was slated for a full suit but since I don't own one, I played the its-too-much-money-to-buy-a suit-just-for-one-meal card and reduced my sentence down to dress pants and shirt with a tie. I'm not sure if I can continue to play that card much longer.

If you noticed though, I said the word nearly and only plugged in 155 weeks instead of 156 weeks which equates to three full years. Just like so many other things in life, they evidently expect my wife to work another week beyond graduation and help the new crop of wet-behind-the-ear-residents who will be officially starting their three year residency program in one more week. I wish those married residents with children lots of luck. It ain't easy.

I think we survived this period in our life fairly easy due to our past. We dated for several years across an ocean on entirely different continents which meant lots of focus on our communication skills. Back then we called each other nearly every night and during the past three years, we called each other EVERY night. We also made it a point no matter how busy our schedules were to see each other for at least three of every seven days in a week. It was tough. We used more than our fair share of natural resources in the way of gasoline. But it was worth it.

So I think I am going to take a blogging vacation next week. I have a graduation to attend too, an apartment to pack up and move home, a home to pack up for a move to a different town, a genealogy trip planned and my wife's aunt and uncle from London, (my wife was living with them when I met her almost 13 years ago) who are stopping by for a couple week visit. Busy is putting it mildly.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


My beloved custom built-in bookcases
After getting several quotes and with one quote left to go, I've most likely decided that I will do some sort of hybrid move. Rather than pay someone to pack up all my stuff and move it for me, the quickest and easiest route, we will do most of the packing and just hire someone to move it for us. The drawback is that it takes us longer to box everything up so it ends up being a headache living among a mountain of boxes and not having anything you need. The advantage is that the moving part gets done in one day. Because I elect not to maintain a large pickup truck and trailer for a once in eight year event, it would take me many dozens of trips spaced over a couple weeks probably to move myself and then I would still need to borrow a pickup and trailer to haul most of the bigger items anyway. So the premium I pay for hiring the moving part done is probably offset by the savings of not owning a truck or having to borrow/rent one from someone else. I'm okay with that especially since I consider my free time valuable.

So this past weekend, I drove to the local truck/equipment rental place which also sells boxes and bought a van load of boxes, some bubble wrap and other packaging supplies. They are really good about giving refunds for any packaging material you don't need so I tried to get more than I needed so that I only have to make two trips to the place. I started in on the easiest part of my life by packing up my library. Egads! I ended up with a dozen large boxes of books that way a ton each full of books. Most of them are reference books that I refer to from time to time and loan out to others from time to time. Others are my pile of books to read in the future that I have collected over the years. I love having a selection of books when it comes time to chose my next victim so that I never get tire of a particular genre.

Last night as I was packing up some of my books, it was kind of a bittersweet moment. Here I was emptying my custom built-in bookcases so that we could move to a house with none. Sure, I can and will someday build new built-in bookcases over there but I have a feeling that it may be quite awhile before I conquer the list of things-to-do-first which means that I will probably not see these books for quite some time. I derive great pleasure from looking over a huge bookcase full of books that I have read and another equal sized bookcase of books yet to read. Now those bookcases look so bare, empty and sad. About the only bright side to this whole affair is that like any completed project, there are things that I would do a bit differently and now I will have the opportunity to do just that. I can't wait.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Deep Genealogy

After much research and thought, I have decided to take the plunge and begin the next phase of my genealogical hunt for my ancestors. I am going to participate in a DNA test that will among other things, help determine distant relatives outside what records can show and provide me with a deeper understanding of where my ancestors came from.

I have wanted to do this for some time but the prices were just too high and as more and more genealogists succumb to the temptation, the prices have dropped. In fact, they are about a third of what they were just a couple years ago. I also wanted to advance my family tree to the end of written records as far back as I can go before taking the test so that I have something to compare with distant cousins I am matched up with in hopes of perhaps identifying a common ancestor. I haven't 100% done this but I have more than picked the lowest fruit. The remaining ancestors that I assume I will be able to identify in this lifetime will come at a much slower pace due to the massive amount of research and time traveling to far parts of the country to search through non-digitized records at the place they lived their lives. It is a process that I enjoy and intend to do but due to time constraints, just not all this year or maybe even this decade.

The test which just arrived was easy to take. You simply spit into a plastic tube until your saliva filled it up to the line, closed the lid which punctured a container of DNA preservative, shake the tube to mix and mail it back. I'm not sure how long it will take for a result but I'm guessing I might be lucky to receive it by the end of summer. I'm certainly looking forward to the results and I'm sure it will provide me with some blogging fodder to post on here.

On a slightly related note, one of those journeys for researching a particular ancestor is going to take place next week so if this blog stops functioning for a few days longer than normal, that is why. I am researching my hardest brick wall, my third great grandfather Joseph Baker whom I have blogged about extensively if anyone cares to search for past posts using his name. My plan is to spend a few days retracing his short life on this earth and poking through old records. I hope my trip will turn up a clue or two but if not, it will be exciting just walking this earth in his footsteps and imagining a life that I never met but which I am intimately connected too.

Friday, June 15, 2012

This and That

Home inspections... check.
Septic inspections... check
Contingencies released... check
Appraisals... on deck

Things are progressing on the home front quite nicely I guess. The house I am buying was slated for inspection this week and the house I am selling next week. Once both the appraisals have been completed and the bank, the same one in both cases, determines the loans a good risk, then there really is nothing left except the closing.

That is still up in the air on the house we are buying. I contacted the owner of that house and he has made an offer on a foreclosed house and is waiting to hear back. Depending on that answer will determine whether or not he will try to move up the closing date to two weeks from now. If that is the case, then I will probably be moving sooner rather than later and doing more of the move myself, if not all of it since I will have the time. Even if we stick to the original date, I'll still probably do a fair share of the moving myself since I will have some help in packing.

The help comes in the form of my mother-in-law who arrived from the Philippines earlier this week and will be staying for the summer. Towards the end of summer she will retire from her job which mandates that she must retire by next summer anyway, and then will probably come back over for another extended stay to spend time with her daughter and granddaughter. Whatever that outcome, she will be here all of July and isn't mobile, i.e. can't drive and it is too far for her to walk to many places, so I plan on obtaining a van load of boxes and setting her to work. Isn't that what any responsible son-in-law does?

This year was the year of the birthday parties for Little Abbey who turned six earlier this month. My wife had to be out of state on her actual birthday so Little Abbey and myself celebrated by ourselves on her actual birthday. Since her birthday happened after school let out for the summer and all the other students had celebrations during school, she also had one a couple weeks earlier at school. Birthday party number three came after my wife came home and we went down to my parent's farm. Still Little Abbey wanted some of her peers to attend a birthday party at home and so party number four takes place this evening. I've been working on the pinata all week with Little Abbey.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I sit next to Norman up to eight hours a day if I am not down in the lab. Between us is a five foot panel of cloth covered cubicle wall which does nothing but allow us to work without having the other watching you. I'm okay with this. I'm not okay with Norman.

Norman is unlike anyone I have ever met in my life. He was born with out a single ounce of social graces. He is that proverbial fish out of water. He has never had a girlfriend in his life and is a self affirmed virgin at age 45. After years of gentle suggestion, I got him to try internet dating and he actually found someone who would email him back! I was shocked until I remembered the old internet dating rule that 'the odds are good but the goods are odd.' Norman and the girl communicated via email for several months and then when the girl finally told Norman that he needed to call her or she would leave, he went out and got a cellphone so that she couldn't trace it back to where he lived in case she was a rapist... his words not mine. The calling went on for only a couple weeks when she finally asked Norman out on his first date ever at age 42. They went out and she broke up with him the next day. Norman just doesn't have any social graces which is a hard fact to cover up on a date. That was the last date he ever went on.

Norman walks by the break room three times a day to scout for food left on the table. If he finds some, he will immediately load up a plate with a huge portion and then make two or three trips back during the day with no feelings that perhaps he should let some of the other people have a portion. I'm guessing part of this behavior is due to his diet at home. He eats three squares of frozen TV dinners a day, seven days a week. I've seen him in the grocery store many a time with about twenty frozen dinners stacked up in his cart and maybe a gallon of milk. That's it!

Once Norman asked me and a couple other people to help him carry a pool table down to his basement. He said that we could grill out later as payback. (This seems like someone with social graces but wait until I finish.) We stopped by after work and moved his table down and got it set up in good order by about five o'clock. By 7:30, Norman was still not picking up on our suggestions that we were hungry and so we started making excuses that we needed to go home and left. As I was leaving, Norman was just taking a package of hamburger out of the freezer.

Because I sit right next to Norman, I hear his phone conversations. He begins every one by asking What? instead of saying Hello. He loudly sighs whenever the person asks him for something on the phone and says 'I suppose' in response. If you ask him a question, you have to ask him exactly the right question if you want the right answer. A sample conversation:

Me: Norman, will this wiring harness work for my application?

Norman: (Loud sigh) Yes

Me: I can just go down and plug it between point A and point B and it will work?

Norman: Yes

Me: Point B has this connector on it?

Norman: No, point B has a different kind of connector on it.

Me: So this won't work for my application then?

Norman: Well it would with the right connector.

Me: Do you have the right connector?

Norman: No.

Me: Does anyone here have the right connector?

Norman: No

Me: So I have to order one?

Norman: Yes

Me: So this wiring harness won't work for my application unless I find someone with the right connector, order it, wait until it is delivered, rewire the connector?

Norman: I suppose but it might not be long enough.

At that point I just usually walk away and cry. Pulling the correct answer from him takes a lot of skill and I have seen many a person fooled by him by accepting his first answer.

But the whole reason I began this post is because a week and a half ago, Norman came to work hacking and looking like hell had done him a number. He was obviously sick and sounded an octave lower in voice than James Earl Jones. From across the cubicle wall, I asked him why he didn't stay home today since he was obviously sick and we have two weeks of paid sick leave a year. He said he didn't have anything better to do so he came to work, totally missing the point that he may be infecting many other people who do have better things to do in their lives than to be sick at home. I washed my hands dozens of times that day but to no avail. Last week, I caught his pestilence, along with about a third of the office in his immediate vicinity and we all misses a couple days of work each.

Did I tell you that Norman just doesn't have an ounce of social graces?

Monday, June 11, 2012

When the Doorbell Rings In the Middle of the Night

When the doorbell rings in the middle of the night is a post that I wrote two years ago and is by far the most visited post that I have ever written according to the statcounter feature of blogger. I'm fairly certain that I have written much better posts both before and after that post so if baffles me as to why it is so popular. My second most popular post is the one I wrote about building a dollhouse for my daughter and that one I understand. Everyone I suppose looks for how to make something on the internet at one time or the other.

Back to the subject at hand, I don't know why the doorbell post is so popular but it is. What I theorized on that post as the reason for the doorbell ringing in the middle of the night turned out to be incorrect and so I thought I would take a moment to correct things with anyone wondering. I had theorized that it was most likely teenagers out having a good time. It was a good theory and still could be true but the problem still kept happening every now and then over the three years since I wrote that post. I would guess it happened another two or three times.

Then something else started happening. I would come home to find that the doorbell was buzzing like the button was stuck. This usually coincided with a package waiting on my doorstep from the UPS guy. I would press the button a couple times and it would unstick and the buzzing would go away. But as time passed the sticking would become more of a problem and wouldn't go away. So one weekend, I took the doorbell apart and discovered the problem, actually two of them. Problem one was that the cheap plastic housing around the button was broken (no doubt mass produced somewhere in China) and that caused the button to get hung up now and then causing the buzzing sound. Also a problem, perhaps caused by the plastic body breaking or perhaps just due to time, the screw holding one of the wires had come slightly loose so that the wire was not tightly contained anymore. Since my doorbell always seemed to ring in the early morning hours when the temperatures were at its coolest, I now theorize that the temperature changes on the plastic housing caused shrinking and expansion and thus intermittent contact with the wire which would then ring my doorbell. In fact, I think my doorbell was not making contact the majority of the time and only due to someone pressing the button in a broken doorbell housing was contact being made and why my doorbell continued to 'work.'

So I went to the hardware store and picked up another doorbell, all made with cheap plastic housings around the button. I installed it and have never had a problem since. I also now have a doorbell that lights up which also confirms that the old doorbell was not making contact the majority of the time since it never lit up even though it is exactly the same as the one I ended up buying. So to anyone out there that has a doorbell ringing in the middle of the night and finds this post, check your doorbell. It may have a cheap plastic housing manufactured in the bowels of China that is now broken.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Just When You Begin to Breath Easier

Just when you get to breath easier about all the things going on in your life, a kink comes along. With the home inspection completed on my current house and the appraisals going on for both the current and new house, I was beginning to focus my attention elsewhere, namely trying to decide if I want to take the time/money off and move myself or pay someone to move me. I've done it both ways and honestly, having someone move you is just the greatest thing. Lots less stress involved in the whole ordeal. You just sit on the couch with your favorite beverage answering the occasional question as a small team packs up all your worldly possessions and carries them out to the truck. Then you drive over to the new place to meet the truck and with your favorite beverage in hand, direct them to place each box in whatever room you have decided and even watch as they set up your beds. Of course, all this comes at a slight premium. The other way involved borrowing trucks and trailers, packing everything myself after scrounging for weeks for materials, making repeated trips over the course of a week or two, never having anything you need because it is always at the "other" place not to mention the wear and tear my body feels after horsing around all my worldly possessions not once but twice. But then, I save some money.

So while placing some calls for some quotes to make my decision easier, I get a call from the owner of the house we are buying. He told me he found a house for him to buy but in order for him to close on it, he needed the cash from us closing on his current house. Could we close a month sooner and keep the date of possession the same?

Our contract was not contingent on him finding new housing so I don't think contractually, he has any legal way to force us to meet his demands. On one hand, I have my house sold, or so I hope, and I would like nothing better than to get this move over sooner rather than later and get started on fixing up the place while there is still summer and fall to work on it. But there are all kinds of problems. First, at the end of this month when he wants to close, my wife will be graduating from her residency and we will be hosting guests from both sides of the world for a couple weeks. Second, it elevates my risk level or my costs associated with the closing. I can either put 20% down on the new house but now instead of a few days until I close on our existing house and get my equity out of that, I have over a month. Which means if I close on the new house and the deal on my old house goes south, I have two mortgages and a small amount of cash. The alternative is that I put less than 20% down on the new house and pay mortgage insurance until I get the equity out of my current house to put the 20% down I need to not pay the mortgage insurance. This costs me extra money that I really didn't need to consider paying until this situation came up.

The other big problem is that even though the house will be owned by me a month sooner, the seller wants to still live there another month until our original and contractually agreed upon closing date. I can't think of any benefit to me in this situation but I can think of tons of heartache that could come from it. Best case, I still have to worry about renters insurance with liability and come up with some way to prorate taxes, insurance, etc on a house that I own but can't live in. Worst case, something catastrophic happens and I end up with a destroyed house on my insurance. Then there is always the middle of the two extremes case where significant damage occurs to it and now I have to try to get a settlement out of this guy.

So after thinking it over, I told him that we can work with him on the closing date but that the date of possession will be on the same date as the closing. If he wants this other house bad enough, he can figure out where he wants to live as long as it isn't in my new house. He said he would make some calls to see if he could figure out a place to live and if his wife was agreeable to moving yet this month and I have yet to hear back from him. I suppose now there is a real possibility that he could try backing out of the contract now which would really throw a hitch in everything. To add irony to this whole situation, he originally wanted a closing date well into August to give him time to find another place to live and we ended up compromising by choosing the end of July. I guess I'll just wait and see for now.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hearing an Assault From 150 Miles Away

So I'm talking on my land line phone when my cellphone rings. It was my wife so I just muted it since I was almost done with the land line conversation and I could call her right back. Thirty second later as I hung up the land line I did just that.

When the line was connected, I heard lots of screaming, sobbing, gasping and what sounded like a full on fight going on in the background. The hairs on my neck immediately stood up and I kept shouting my wife's name into the phone with no response from her. After what seemed like forever but was probably 30 seconds or so, the banging subsided and I could here my wife gasping for air from what seemed like across the room. That went on for about ten seconds or so and then stopped. I could hear nothing. I was still calling my wife's name on the phone when the land line phone rang again. So with the cellphone to one ear, I picked up the land line phone and put it to the other ear.

I had thought that maybe it was my wife calling the land line but it turned out to be someone else wanting some information from me. Just then my wife's cell phone hung up. So here I am trying to answer a question from an home insurance agent while thinking my wife has just been assaulted and was lying dead on her apartment floor. I pulled up an app that lets you track the location of a phone if you know their password and started punching in my wife's phone number and password to get a location of her body before calling the police. Meanwhile I satisfactorily answered the insurance agents questions and hung up on him. I was holding my phone and mentally wishing for it to speed up in the tracking process.

My cellphone rang again with my wife's name on the ID.

I answered again and there was more gasping and sobbing but it was reducing in intensity. I switched to Facetime which is another app that allows you to video conference with someone else who has the same phone and my wife's face appeared on the screen. Only she wasn't looking at the screen. She was instead spinning around looking this way and that obviously agitated. I thought she was looking for her attacker.

Finally I got her to explain what was the problem. There had been a cat in her apartment.

Evidently she had got home from work and found a cat on her sofa asleep. My wife is scared of cats and to find one asleep in your locked apartment is obviously a bit disconcerting to the average Joe and to my wife down right terrifying. The fight had been her attempt to chase it out of her apartment while it growled and hissed at her.

One of her neighbors has cats and I've heard them many times when I've been up there put the cat out in the hallway for hours on end leaving the cat to meow and scratch at his door. I'm assuming he doesn't have a litter box and that was his version of taking the cat for a potty break. It only started a couple months ago so I have ignored it since our days of renting that apartment are rapidly dwindling. After calming down when I learned that my wife wasn't being assaulted, I rationalized that the cat had been in the hall and snuck into the apartment as my wife was leaving for work. I told her to call the landlord and explain the whole thing. The landlord came over and of course the guy denied that the cat wasn't his and so the cat got thrown outside. I'm not sure if I buy the guy's story since he has several cats and I have only seen that cat scratching at his door but whatever. If I see that cat in the hallway again, it is going across town for a ride in my car.

So that's the story. It was the second day in a row I had heard my wife on the phone and thought she was being assaulted. Yes I did say second day in a row. But that is a story for a later date.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Eating Humble Pie

There is nothing like sitting at your dining room table while a home inspector who just spent the last two hours of his life crawling over inch of my home explain his findings to the couple who gave me some money and signed a contract saying they will buy it. Pretty much it was like eating a big slice of humble pie.

 Over the last eight years, we have worked to fix up our house piece by piece. A lot of blood sweat and tears. But there were some things that we just never did, mostly because it didn't make sense to do them until we also did a larger project or because though ugly, it was functional and since we weren't thinking of moving anytime soon, we were comfortable waiting until we could do it right. Things changed and we found ourselves moving and then our thought was why invest thousands of dollars into a house when we probably won't get it out in a down market.

 So I got to listen to the inspector talk about sticky doors, bad gutters, a roof with issues and many other things. The sticky doors are just a product of older houses that swell and contract with heat and humidity. Currently things have swelled just a bit and they stick slightly. In the spring and fall they are perfect and in the winter just a touch loose. The gutters are bad, no doubt about that. They don't drain water well and need some work. But there was no sense doing them until the roof was taken care of first. When we bought the place, the owners had just put a steel roof over two layers of shingles. Not something I would ever do. They also did a horseshit job of it. Sure it didn't leak but it because it was over two layers of shingles (which shrink and expand too), it meant that once every couple years I had to spend an afternoon up on the roof tightening screws down. They also did a terrible job around the chimney pipe with the tin job so it required a new caulk job every couple years to prevent leaking. The thing that bugged me most was that they joined two different roofs with two different slopes with one long piece of tin which meant that there was an air space between the two different slopes that caused the tin to bow down in that area. To top it off, the roof installers lapped the tin most of the way over the gutters rendering the non-functional.  None of these problems were critical, none caused any functional problems but all didn't sit well with the anal retentive side of my personality. If I had tons of money, I would have torn it all off and done it properly but I fought it off with the cheaper side of me that said well lets just wait until the roof needs work and do it all of once. Well that hadn't happened yet and so here I am eating my humble pie feeling like a complete jerk trying to pawn off a sorry excuse for a house.

 Fortunately, the buyers seem to take it all in stride and I have propped up my bruised ego by telling myself that it is still the best house in its price range around town despite all its flaws. I suppose I'll know how it all plays out in a few more days after they have a chance to talk with the realtor. All this has reawakened my desire to someday build my own house where I am in control of my destiny instead of inheriting other peoples problems. Until then, I'm just going to have to learn to like some humble pie now and then.

(Post addendum: The realtor called back and said the home buyers were okay with the inspection and the last hurdle is the home appraisal which I am sure will come in more than the loan. I am beginning to breath much easier.)

Friday, June 1, 2012

John Henry Wemple

My 3rd great grandfather John Henry Wemple is somewhat of a mystery to me and he really should be since his family is readily traceable to early colonial America times of the mid 17th century. Some even have traced his line back to his immigrant ancestor who came from the Netherlands and if that is true, they would be my first such ancestor from that country.

John was born in Elbridge, New York in 1839 and soon after moved with his family to Turtle, Wisconsin in search of better lands. As soon as he was of age, John set off by himself to Mission Creek in the then Kansas Territory where he bought $100 worth of land and set up his own farm. What became of the farm I know not but less than four years later, he enlisted in the U.S. Army on February 24, 2864 from his old stomping grounds in Wisconsin and set off with the Company F of the 35th Wisconsin Infantry to fight in the Civil War.

The regiment left Milwaukee on April 18th and after stopping in St. Louis to get outfitted, arrived at the mouth of the Red River on May 1rst where they were supposed to get transportation elsewhere. They couldn't and so headed on south to New Orleans. They were ordered back north and once again arrived at the mouth of the Red River on May 7th where they remained until June 26th doing guard duty.

For the next several months they moved north towards Missouri mostly on scouting missions and doing guard duty. I imagine life in camp was pretty dull. Finally on October 1, 1964, the regiments was sent to Simmsport on the Atchafalya River where they got to participate in several skirmishes. But that excitement was short lived and they soon went into winter quarters and there my 3rd great grandfather entered the hospital for dysentery during what was called the "sickly season" along with 200 other men from the regiment and remained until late spring of 1865. There he missed several notable battles that his regiment fought in such as the siege of Spanish Fort. After he left the hospital in late May and reentered service, John Wemple's regiment headed south to the Gulf where it was reported that the men "sported upon the coast gathering sea shells and salt water curiosities." It is nice to know that the war wasn't all a matter of life and death.

The 35th was then sent to Texas where they spent the rest of their time around Brownsville pulling guard duty until they were discharged on March 15th, 1866. Ten days later they were on their way to Wisconsin and disbanded. My 3rd great grandfather evidently didn't stick around for a year and a half later he was married to my 3rd great grandmother Melissa R. Pritchard in Parkersburg, Iowa on Christmas day 1867. Nine months later their first daughter Winnie was born.

Most of this information so far is from census records and military regiment records and very little of it is personal to John Henry Wemple. On my other Civil War ancestors, I was able to piece together lots of information from their subsequent pension and/or disability records but this isn't the case of John. A decade after he was married, and less than a year after his second and last daughter and also my 2nd great grandmother Maude Wemple was born, he died of pneumonia which he got from a severe case of bronchitis. He was only 37 years old and the first of my Civil War ancestors to die. His disability records only list that he had a severe cough after returning from the war and that he wasn't able to work fully because of it. The pension records are also very brief and I suspect that is because my 3rd great grandmother Melissa remarried a couple years later after John's death and thus was ineligible.

Some side notes for thoughts.

After John's death, my 3rd great grandmother married a man with the first name of Wells. Her daughter with John Wemple, Maude, would marry my 2nd great grandfather William Wells. Though born in Iowa, they are only one of two sets of my 2nd great grandparents who weren't buried in Iowa. Maude and William Wells would end up planted out west in Colorado. William Wells's father Leander Wells is another one of my Civil War ancestors whom I have yet to research yet but whom eventually deserted the army while his brother Philander would go on to obtain the rank of Captain and was a hero of sorts.

John Henry Wemple was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Parkersburg, Iowa. A month before a planned trip up to that area to try and find John's gravestone, an F-5 tornado wiped it out along with half the town. It is reported that the tornado ripped up gravestones and hurled them up to a half mile away. Although I have heard that the cemetery has been 'fixed', I haven't heard if all the gravestones have been returned and I haven't been back up in that direction. I am planning a trip next month up to that area to research another Civil War ancestor and genealogical brick wall in my family tree whom I've blogged much about over the years so if I have time, I may swing out to the cemetery to see if I can find John's grave. I may see if I can uncover more information on John.