Showing posts from May, 2020

Josiah Jackson Dinkins

The beautiful place called Dinkins Bayou is named for a little man who lived a big life.  Josiah Jackson Dinkins was born in 1849 and grew up in the “Magnolia Midlands” region, in Tattnall County, Georgia, the son of Martha and Joshia Jenkins.   As a teenager, Josiah worked as a machinist – most likely, an apprentice -- on the Central of Georgia Railroad during the Civil War.   In that job, his small stature may have served him well.   After the war, in 1868, he moved to Florida and became a steamboat engineer, licensed in Apalachicola.   He was then addressed as Captain Josiah Dinkins. By 1870, he’d moved on down to Tampa, and then on to Fort Myers in 1873.   He eventually met a charming young woman who was said to have worked as a “Fat Lady” in the circus.   Her name was Susan Roxann Jeffries Langford.   She was 9 years younger than Josiah.   Although a couple of Sanibel historical accounts say that Captain Dinkins’ wife had worked for the circus, I honestly don’t

The Third Army of the American Civil War

Uncontrolled infectious diseases – including epidemics – killed two thirds of the 660,000 soldiers who died during the American Civil War. [1]   Two thirds!  I was astounded by this number until I read the Civil War letters written by my great-great-grandfather, William McAdams. [2] Just as the novel coronavirus epidemic has cancelled and delayed many events, these Civil War-era epidemics stopped or delayed a number of major campaigns, thus making the Civil War last perhaps two years longer than it would have otherwise.   Pneumonia, typhoid, dysentery, yellow fever, and malaria were the predominant diseases that plagued the soldiers.   Historians sometimes call this collection of Civil War era diseases “the third army.” William McAdams, a 25-year-old farmer and leader of his community near the town of Kansas, Illinois, was bright and optimistic as he enlisted in the 59 th Illinois Volunteer Infantry of the Union Army in late 1861.   He was elected by his peers to be their

Bread with Patience

In the summer, I am accustomed to having really good, simple bread from the bakery around the corner.  We’ve spent summer in Paris since 1998, but my husband Tom and I will not be going to Paris this year because of the pandemic.  We are self-isolating at home due to his underlying medical condition. So now I bake bread – a fresh loaf every other day.   I use Jim Lahey’s No Knead Bread recipe , which gives us a simple bread with a taste, a crunchy crust, and a chew like the breads made in the best bakeries in Paris.   Even though the very first loaf I made weeks ago was really fine, I experiment with different flours in different proportions, trying to achieve even more bread perfection.    Try 2 cups of bread flour and one cup of spelt flour if you like a light, country-style bread. To make a loaf of Lahey’s No Knead bread, you need approximately 3 cups, 385 grams, or almost 1 pound of flour.  I say “approximately” because, as I have learned, bread flour is heavier tha

My Orders Tell a Story

A week or so before The Isolation, I was thinking about a month of March with warm, sunny Sunday afternoons, when we would give Island Jazz concerts on the patio in front of BIG ARTS.   I needed a sun umbrella that I could clip onto my beach chair, so that I wouldn’t fry to a crisp during those concerts, I thought.   So I ordered one from Amazon. I haven’t used it because of The Isolation.   Within a couple days after the March 8 concert, my husband Tom and I knew enough about the corona virus that we decided to cancel all seven of the remaining concerts for the season. This No-Knead Bread tastes like something we would buy in a bakery in Paris. Then came a stream of orders from that tell one aspect of the story of our isolation.    Each week of The Isolation, we have ordered everything from the local Bailey’s General Store that we can – but there are perturbations in the supply chains, and sometimes Bailey’s cannot deliver certain items.   The first pro