Monday, September 27, 2010

John Hutchinson Powrie - The Son

John Hutchinson Powre was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin n 1875. Following in his father’s footsteps, he began working with color in lithography. He traveled to Germany and studied the color process in the early 1900's. He returned to the United States to advance his research in the laboratory of Thomas A. Edison until the destruction of the laboratory by fire in 1914. His first color patent was issued in 1906.

At first, he was interested in prints on glass for projection, but after working with Edison, he turned to the possibilities of colored film. The prints on glass were called lantern slides and became a way to illustrate using screen projection.

Thanks to Norman Nelson, we have 75 of the lantern slides made by John Powrie. They consist of pictures from Scotland and probably date from around the turn of the century. Lantern slide projectors are no longer available except in some museums. The lantern slides are now part of the Scottish American Museum and have been copied to computer dics. We will show some of those slides prior to our Scottish American History Club meeting on October 2, 2010. (

In 1926, the Warner Powrie color film process was patented. In May, 1928, John Powrie presented his color film to a national film makers convention in California. By 1930, the firm was incorporated and ready to make full-length movies, The Great Depression brought an end to those dreams. John Powrie died in Chicago about 1935 and is buried in Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois. A search of the Chicago Tribune did not produce an obiturary.

In Woodlawn Cemetery, New York City, there is a grave stone with his name on it, but he and his wife are buried in Forest Home. The cemetery is one mile north of the Scottish Home on Des Plaines Avenue.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Robert Hutchinson Powrie - The Father

Mr. Powrie was born July 27, 1842, in Kinnoull, Perthshire, Scotland.  His family came to Wisconsin when he was 13 and settled near Sussex, Waukesha County.  Five years later when he was 18, Robert Powrie enlisted in the Northern Army and soon became the first musician of the 5th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, Regimental Band (Company F).  He served the entire four years of the war and wrote some 50 letters describing his experiences at Antietam, Fredericksburg and the Wilderness.  He often sketched military men, including General Grant.  He once met President Lincoln.

Throughout the war he carved bone and wood, sketched  in charcoal and painted.  He built a fiddle and learned the bugle and several other instruments.  This would become his twin lifelong passions,  art and music. In 1866, he married Elizabeth Powrie, his cousin, and they settled in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where Robert began a business as a monument sculptor.  He was naturally gifted as a sculptor and carved many exquisite monuments and tablets, including a monument for General John Gibbon which is at the Arlington National Cemetery.

He also executed tombstones for Fond du Lac's famous General Bragg and artist Mark Harrison. Both are located at Rienzi Cemetery. Many of his carvings are to be found in St. Paul's Cathedral and the First Presbyterian Church in Fond du Lac.  In the public library hall there is an oil painting of Abraham Lincoln and in the Circuit Court room a carved bust of General Edward S. Bragg.  He enjoyed art in all forms and began using glass slides made with a rudimentary camera.  This impressed his children, especially one son, John Hutchison Powrie.  More about him later.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Who Visits the Scottish-American Web site? Google Analytics provides the answer.

The Scottish-American History Club, a part of the Illinois St. Andrews Society in Chicago Illinois, maintains a web site at All of the work is a credit to Elaine Moore who donates her time. The Wayne Rethford blog can be reached from this site by pressing the blog button on the left side.

Who visits and how many is always an interesting question about web sites and blogs. Google Analytics keep track of our numbers and here are the latest results. The results can be broken down by day, week, month, or year.

For the web site,, 3,301 visits have been made since January 1, 2010. The name list had 1,291 visits, Events 341, and the History Club Newsletter 330. In total these 3,301 people read 6,679 pages.

The visits came from 66 countries, 2,400 from the United States. 324 from the United Kingdom; 143 from Canada, Australia 100, New Zealand 36, India 22 and France 13.

The Blog Site had 1,283 visits and these people read 2,337 pages. 96 came from United States, the United Kingdom had 165, Canada 36, Australia 11 and India 9. Visitors read the article about Philip Amour (85), Scottish Inventors (72), Patrick Valentine 50, and the Scottish Stone Cutters (34).

The blog has 23 followers and 239 have read the complete profile. The Blog contains 135 stories.

We have made contact with many interesting people as a result of the Web Site and Blog.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Good Man is Dead and Will Be Greatly Missed

Forlow, John “Ian” Kelly  of Rockford, Illinois died September 8th on the way home from a trip to Bermuda. He was born in Rotten Row Hospital, Glasgow, Scotland to Alexander and Euphemia (Gilmour) Forlow. Known as Ian, he was the oldest of 3 children. He was educated at St John’s Primary and St John’s Senior Secondary School in Glasgow before continuing his studies at Glasgow University.

Ian was raised in incredibly modest circumstances. During his early years he shared a tenement flat with just 2 rooms in the Bridgeton area of Glasgow with his parents, sister Elma, brother Joe and a widowed aunt. During World War II he was evacuated from Glasgow after German bombing raids and he lived for a while on a farm. He managed to rise above his difficult surroundings, forged a successful career and raised a family. He rose through a mechanical engineering training program at Babcock & Wilcox in Glasgow and eventually moved with wife Betty and two small children in tow to Canada after accepting a position with Fruehauf and Co. From there he emigrated to Detroit in 1966, registered for the US draft and took a position with ExCellO Corp in Howell, MI where he eventually was appointed Chief of Engineering. In 1978 the family moved to Rockford when he accepted a management position at Greenlee Brothers. He eventually became President and part owner of Roper Whitney Manufacturing.

Ian accomplished much in his career and was awarded several patents, including one which involved work on the tooling required to cut the tiles which were affixed to the outside of the Space Shuttle. He was a volunteer for several years with AYSO and while he served as President of the Rockford Area AYSO he helped convince the Rockford Park District to build the new Sports Core Soccer Complex.

Ian enjoyed travel. Work and vacations took him to all corners of the world. He loved literature and could quote passages from the Bible as well as works of the poet Robert Burns. He was a music lover. As a boy he found time to teach himself to play the piano and guitar. He earned pocket money playing in a wedding band as a teenager.

Although he left his homeland many years ago and was proud to eventually become a US citizen, all who knew him will tell you that he was intensely proud to be a Scot.

Special thanks to Dr Lim, Dr Khan, Dr Ryan and all of the wonderful staff at OSF.

Survivors include wife Elizabeth “Betty”; son John (Kathy) of Deerfield, son David (Molly) of Lake Bluff, daughter Andrea of Chicago (fiancĂ© Brad) and 5 grandchildren: Kayleigh, Emma, Andrew, Ian and Liam as well as brother Joe and sister Elma. His grandchildren were his pride and joy, he loved to spend time with his family and attend the various activities of his children and grandchildren. He will be sorely missed by all.

Friday, September 3, 2010

My Trip to Washington, D.C. - Part 3

Sunday, August 29, was my last free day in Washington, D.C. Saturday was a long day, so I slept-in on Sunday morning. Breakfast was about 9:00 a.m. and I had time to plan the day. The Yellow Line which goes to Reagan National ends at Fort Totten and that stop is only two away from Silver Spring on the Red line. Since I will have a suitcase tomorrow, I decided to do a practice run to the airport. Getting on at the end of the line will give me several choices of seats where I can get the suitcase out of the way. I saw a number of people heading to Reagan National that obviously had attended the rally on Saturday. It was a beautiful day, so I watched the planes land and take-off for awhile.

One of the things I always do in Washington is to visit DuPont Circle. Don’t ask we why because I don’t know. It’s a tradition. So, I transferred to the Red Line only to learn that DuPoint Circle was closed because of a power failure. Soon, it was back to Union Station and the double deck bus out to Arlington. There is something inspiring about Arlington and those young men who guard the Tomb of the Unknowns. (I noted that Unknowns was plural in some of the documents. I wonder if that is the correct term?)

From Arlington, I go to the Vietnam Wall. Hundreds of people are now milling around the site. Off to the side a Pipe Band is practicing for some reason. I am finally able to find the McDonough name. Sp4 George Watson McDonough was the young son of my wife’s brother. He was 19 years of age. In the Vietnam War, West Virginia had the highest casualty rate in the nation, Oklahoma was second. Names are still being added as veterans die from war related causes. Not sure about the total number but one source said 58,195 names, including several women.

Back on the bus, I continued riding across the Potomac river to the Crystal City shopping center and then back to Washington and the Willard Hotel. I walk over to the White House again and stand around with a few hundred people. It’s Sunday, so we all think the President is probably playing golf. The Rally people are still very much in evidence.

Chinese food sounded good for today, so I walked to Chinatown and went to 541 H. St. This is the former home of Mary Surratt and is now a Chinese restaurant. Mary Surratt was hanged as one of the conspirators in the murder of President Lincoln. Mrs. Surratt had operated a boarding house at this location and it is believed that meetings took place here as John Wilkes Booth planned the assassination of the President.

The sweet and sour pork was excellent.

The Navy Memorial is not far away on 7th Ave., so I walk in that direction. Across the street is the Starbucks. I skiped the iced coffee with milk in favor of a small decalf. The Navy Memorial is a round ceremonial amphitheater paved in granite with fountains and a large map of the world. Many people had their lunch around the low walls, so I returned with my coffee to sit for an hour..

I have enjoyed being in Washington, D.C. It makes one feel good about the Country to see the great, historic buildings. At my age, I have to wonder if this will be my last trip to Washington.

However, I have a balance of $3.95 on my Metro farecard. It would be a shame to waste the money.

I finally got the Red Line at the Archives Station and head back to Silver Spring.

Tomorrow, I will be home.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Trip to Washington, D.C. - Part 2

Saturday was 8/28 and the Glenn Beck- sponsored rally known as Restoring Honor is to be held at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. My alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m. and shortly thereafter I was in the restaurant for breakfast. I planned to eat a large breakfast because there would be nothing to eat until late afternoon. From the buffet I took a little of everything including the biscuits and gravy. Lots of liquids because it was to be 95 degrees with very little shade.

Down the hill to the Metro and off at Union Station. My plan was to ride the double-decker bus to the Lincoln Memorial and thus avoid the two mile walk, but 7th Avenue was already closed and no buses or automobile traffic would be allowed past the Washington Monument. I asked about the fare from a cabbie and he said $15.00 for one. Standing nearby was two people from New Orleans also going to the Rally, so we each paid five dollars. But, the Washington Monument was as close as we could get.

Thousands were already streaming down the Mall and it was just eight a.m.. I continued walking toward the stage until there were more people coming back than going. The area around the Reflecting Pool was already full to overflowing. I decided to get close to one of the large viewing screens and that was among the trees on the left side of the Reflecting Pool. Everyone was talking to everyone, so I asked an older man if I could sit next to his blanket. It turns out he was from Memphis and had come to the event with his daughter and 13 year-old grandson. For the next few hours, we were friends.

As we approached the starting time of 10:00 a.m., I looked back down the Mall toward the Capitol and as far as the Washington Monument there was just a mass of people. That is a distance of 1 mile - a great sea of men, women and children. Glenn Beck had encouraged families to attend and they did. I saw babies in arms, and in strollers. Wheelchairs were common. Nearby, was a young quadriplegic. His mother had brought him in one of those large electric wheelchairs. Families wore the Restoring Honor T-shirts and the younger kids pulled the ice chests and folding chairs. I was the only person who didn’t have a back pack! It was an amazing display of people helping people. Police made not a single arrest the entire day.

The organizers had asked for a flyover, but it was denied. In fact, not a single one of the Armed Forces would supply a military group to present the flag. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by a Boy Scout. At 9:59, a flock of geese, perhaps 20-25 flew over the crowd in a perfect V formation. The crowd cheered. Some said God provided His own flyover.

I don’t how to summarize the program. It started at 10 a.m. and stopped at 1:15 p.m.. The message from Alveda King was a crowd favorite. If you google her name, you can hear her comments, but it does not record the crowd reaction. An elderly black preacher was honored but his name escapes me at this moment, however, he brought the crowd to its feet and his sermon was one of the longest. There was no attempt to control the length of any comments. Tony LaRussa, manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, was presented and he talked briefly about his own personal relationship with God. He then introduced Albert Pujois who was to receive the “Badge of Merit” for “Hope”. Pujois gave his testimony as a born-again Christian and said that God was first in his life and everything else was second. There is information on the Internet about his family foundation, established to help down syndrome babies and strengthen families.

Sarah Palin was obviously a crowd favorite and she was given a standing ovation. Her role was to introduce the three veterans that were honored. One man had lost both arms in Iran, another was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam war and the third was a man whose face was terribly disfigured in Vietnam but he overcame and is now a pastor.

Perhaps the most touching moment was when the bagpipes began Amazing Grace and a lady with a magnificent voice began singing and thousands sang along. Glenn Beck had the final segment and he urged the crowd to find God, join a church and begin tithing 10% of their income to the church. The theme throughout the day was Faith, Hope and Charity. These, coupled with honesty, can make a difference. It’s hard to describe the Rally. It was like church, a southern revival meeting. There were tears, prayers and singing. People often stood with hands raised to Heaven, hearty amens echoed through the trees. There was no anger, no political signs and no harassment. Park officials reported that the grounds were totally clear of trash. I have no other words to describe the event.

NBC reported the attendance at 87,000 so their reporter must have been there before dawn. It is such a disappointment that the Press is unwilling to be truthful if it doesn’t fit their liberal views. The Washington Post said 300,000 were present. Glenn Beck, I believe, has accurately proven that at least 500,000 and perhaps more, were in attendance.

The official program ended about 1:15 but entertainment continued much longer. I began the long walk back to the Metro. The closest station was the Smithsonian but by the time I arrived a crowd had already formed which the news later reported was the length of two football fields. The next station was the Federal Triangle, but it was closed by police because the underground platforms were already filled to capacity. I was told that Metro Center was also closed and the underground waiting area was filled to capacity. These waiting areas are block long underground areas and they were filled with people waiting for trains. Go to “Metro DC” and you can see pictures of the waiting areas.

It was time to eat, so back to Harry’s for one of their famous hamburgers, but this time without the bun. There was a long line at the front entrance, but I had previously used a side door and there was no waiting. It took over an hour for service, but the iced tea was a welcome treat.

By 6:00 p.m., I was able to access the Metro station, got the Red line and headed for Silver Spring. A stop at McDonald’s, the long uphill walk and I am finally at the Hilton.

(The hostage situation and shooting yesterday occurred just across the street from the Metro station in Silver Spring.)

Tomorrow is Sunday.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Trip to Washington, D.C. - Part 1

I left for Washington, DC on Thursday, August 27th , flying American Airlines. The plane left on schedule and it took 1 hour and 28 minutes at 37,000 feet. The dome on the Capitol Building is clearly visible as we landed at Reagan International airport - a very impressive sight.

The Metro System in Washington is beginning to show its age but is still the most efficient way to travel around the City. I took the Yellow line to Metro Center and then transferred to the Red Line to Silver Spring, Maryland. (The natives will correct you if you say Silver Springs.) It was the evening rush hour, so thousands of people were on their way home. The system runs in the red, of course, so now there is an additional charge if you ride during rush hours. They only lost $195 million last year, which all of us helped to cover with our tax dollars, I am sure.

Years ago, we took my grandson to Washington and his favorite thing was to ride the Metro, so we daily rode to the end of all four lines. He was around 5 years of age then and the Metro was new and Silver Spring was the end of the Red Line. Now there are two more stops and there is also a new green line.

It is a long walk to the Hilton for an old man and it is uphill. All of the hotels were filled in downtown Washington, at least those I could afford, so it was necessary to move to the suburbs. The Hilton is an older building but it has all the Hilton features and the rate was $109. Spent the first evening in my room. The Hilton could definitely improve their choice of TV cable stations.

The next morning, I had breakfast at the hotel. The buffet actually included biscuits and gravy. Not quite as good as those made by Carolyn Klein for our church dinners but it was OK. Then it was downhill to the Metro and to Union Station. The old station has been restored and is beautiful with its statues and art work. Apparently many people on the East Coast use the trains to move around and it was obvious that many thousands who came to the Restore Honor rally passed through Union Station.

Now, I switched to the double deck bus for transportation, $35 for a two day pass. First stop was the Capitol Building. My original plan was to spend a day at the Library of Congress, but apparently a lot of people had the same idea.. Not willing to wait, I boarded the bus again and rode for awhile. I wanted to get a feel for the distance I would have to walk on Saturday, so I got off at the Washington Monument. There was a long line waiting to enter. From the Monument you can clearly see down the Mall in both directions. Tomorrow, the area from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial would be filled with people. It’s nearly a mile, past the new World War II monument, to the place of honor for Mr. Lincoln.

The WW II monument is relatively new, so I spent some time there. It is beautiful and well done. A large fountain in the middle with stone monuments around the exterior, it is a fitting tribute to those who served and those who died. Back on the bus again, I rode for awhile. We passed the large building for the Department of Education. Actually, its one of 6 buildings where 3,600 people work. That does not include the 10 regional offices which employs 1,400. Since the Constitution leaves education as a State responsibility, you have to wonder what those 5,000 people do all day. I thought about getting off and seeing Arne Duncan, but then I knew he was busy writing his speech for the Rev. Al Sharpton rally on Saturday. With his strong, independent Scottish heritage I wonder how he really enjoys Washington? But, of course, he gets to play basketball with the President.

My next stop was the Willard hotel. President Lincoln lived here when he first arrived in Washington and I always try to walk through the lobby whenever I visit. Glenn Beck stayed here and probably Sarah Palin, the nightly rate starts around $2,000.

Its now the middle of the afternoon, so I walk down to Harry’s bar for lunch. They have the best hamburgers and fries in all of Washington. After eating, I walk over to the White House to see if the President is home from his most recent vacation. Its always interesting to see who is protesting in the little park across the street. I swear the same guy who was protesting the war in Vietnam is still there protesting the war in Afghanistan. At the Federal Triangle, there is a Starbucks, so I order the iced milk and coffee. It’s a hot day, but I don’t think they sold much iced milk and coffee. I was the only one buying and soon discovered why.

Its now late in the afternoon and thousands are streaming out of the office buildings. Lots of well-dressed young people, carrying briefcases and computers heading home for the weekend. The streets are full, not only with people heading home from work, but the “rally people” have now arrived with patriotic t-shirts and carrying American flags.

I get the Yellow line to Gallery Place and transferred to the Red line out to Silver Spring. Half way up the long hill is a McDonald’s so I stopped for ice cream and coffee and then continued the long walk to the Hilton.

Tomorrow is the big event!