Vive Dunkirk, Vive Dunkerque

Vive Dunkirk, Vive Dunkerque

On October 23, 1946, the city of Dunkirk "expressed the humble spirit of Thanksgiving" in the greatest demonstration of its history; the local newspaper described the night's conversation as "A Great Meeting," and emphasized that, "If you had attended the meeting in the high school auditorium the other night you could not have avoided a [...]

The Haunting of Dunkirk Lighthouse

The Haunting of Dunkirk Lighthouse

When my maternal ancestors left Poland around the turn-of-the-century, they all made their way to the Fourth Ward of Dunkirk, New York. The city has a rich history: it was home to Brooks Locomotive Works during the latter half of the nineteenth century; provided steel for John Augustus Roebling's civil engineering projects, including the Brooklyn [...]

A Picnic for Two Hundred

A Picnic for Two Hundred

I'm not sure what compelled me to research my 5th great-grandfather, Silas Ephraim Nelson, last weekend, but here we are--and I'm very glad I did. It's strange, now that I think about it: I'm always ricocheting back-and-forth between the Hawkins family's schoolhouse, the Kuznicki family's bar and the Merrill family's military service, and the Nelson [...]

Merrill’s Barn Dance

Merrill’s Barn Dance

When I asked my grandfather how his parents met, he told me it was at a barn dance--but he couldn't remember where or when or how or why. I've always kept that barn dance in the back of my mind; I know my parents met at my dad's twenty-first birthday party, my dad's parents were [...]