February 17th, 2017

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Ebeneezer Allen

I live in Allen, Texas. Allen shares the same history as a lot of Texas towns. It sprang up as a farm-to-market town when the railroad laid tracks here in 1872. In those days, towns tended to get named for railroad executives. The railroad executive that gave Allen its name was Ebeneezer Allen. Unlike many similar inspirations, he passed away nearly a decade before he lent his name to the town.

I read a bit about Ebeneezer Allen. He grew up in Maine and New Hampshire. He served as Texas' first Attorney General. He never lived in Allen, of course, since Allen postdated him by nearly a decade.

The records I reviewed indicate that he was a staunch secessionist, who joined the Confederate Army in Virginia. Reports agree that he died in Richmond, Virginia in 1863 but differ on the reason he died. One article states "he died in the service of the South", but a newspaper report of the time suggests "apoplexy", the old-fashioned word for a stroke.

Allen stayed small until the 1990s. Today it has 80,000 or so residents. There are no statues to Ebeneezer Allen, but we do revere the old railroad bridge that still stands. The first train robbery in Texas was in Allen. As close to nobody as close could be favors secession now.

I had forbears on either side in the Civil War, just as this part of Texas had folks who served on one side or the other. But none of my ancestors served with Ebeneezer Allen, to my knowledge. None of my Civil War relatives, to my knowledge, experienced apoplexy during the war years, either.

I want to learn more about Ebeneezer Allen, who was on the wrong side of history, but ended up inspiring the name of a small town.
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seed on a pedestal

In the morning I walked in the shopping center next to my office building. I like the stillness of the not-yet-active buildings.

I made a reservation on a shuttle for tomorrow morning. I like when shuttles allow me to tip in advance.

In the afternoon, emails slowed a bit at work. But by day's end they were back on pace.

In the early evening I walked in Salmon Park and watched the Eastern Bluebirds.

At home tonight, I updated my smaller, travel laptop. I had had problems with updating from the graphical user interface, but a command line update worked like a charm. Ever since I switched my laptops to Q4OS, a Debian derivative, when I encounter issues, they tend to be solvable more or less easily with a little patience.

A huge troupe of House Sparrows is hanging out in our back yard bushes. They seem to share the space with our usual Winter Dark-Eyed Juncos. Some mornings, I put bird seed on the little concrete bench our neighbors got us in honor of our beloved dog Scout. I like spreading seeds on that small platform because it seems to me to avoid the problems like House Finches spreading infection to one another that bird feeders create. So far beyond the sparrows I have seen a Carolina Chickadee and a female Northern Cardinal feeding on the seeds. My favorite part of the seed bag is that it is resealable, which makes for less muss and fuss.

Social media has its downsides, but I like that I can flip a twitter message to a friend battling illness and make a moment of contact to make sure my friend is all right.

Breakfast: two packets of instant oatmeal
Lunch: a Potbelly's TKY sandwich on wheat, with a cup of chicken noodle soup and baked potato chips
Dinner: 2 chicken breasts, a chicken leg, a small fries and 1/4 of a biscuit at Church's Chicken.
I resisted the temptation to buy lots of bananas.