Well, for a variety of excellent reasons, I haven’t been able to accomplish much this week and was looking out my window while trying to think of what to do next. I noticed something white across the river and took up my binoculars to investigate. White pelicans. There were never any such birds around these parts when I was young, but now there is a healthy breeding population.
They are beautiful to watch in flight, particularly when in flocks. (I looked it up, groups of pelicans aren’t flocks, they’re pods…) The birds’ moves are coordinated, mostly, and are slow and elegant. Not as exciting to watch hunt as their grey cousins however. When fishing, the former sort of just bob. The latter, collapse their wings upon spying quarry, point their beaks at dinner, and crash through the water’s surface in pursuit.
They don’t live around here though and I soon bored watching the white ones lounge about and began to scan upstream. Came to the house you see above. It was built by Colonel George Davenport in about 1833 near the site of his first residence, a double wood cabin. Davenport, after whom the largest city in our metro area is named, had an interesting method of organizing a family.
He was about twenty-two in 1805 when he married the widow Margaret Lewis who was seventeen years his senior and had two children, William who died shortly thereafter, and Susan who had been born in 1800. In 1817 Davenport and Susan had their first child, George Jr and in 1823 their second son, Bailey. Colonel Davenport was also blessed with a daughter, Elizabeth, born to him in 1835 by, uh, one of the family’s indentured servants.
Like I said, interesting. Next time I get distracted and look out the window I’ll have to imagine what might have been the nature of dinnertime conversation over there. Would have been a confusing eight plus place table, with Dad, four children, and everyone else named Mom.