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My Geology Board on Pinterest now stands at 2000 Pins and 666 followers. The world didn't end.   Here's a screen-shot to commemorate that moment in time - at about 9:30 EST.

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I originally wrote this for our local genealogical society column in the local newspaper in the early 1990s.
An Ancestral April Fools

By Lynn David Recker

The first of April, some do say, Is set apart for All Fools' Day. But why the people call it so, nor I, nor they themselves do know. But on this day are people sent On purpose for pure merriment.
From Poor Robin's Almanac (1790)

"The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year."
American humorist Mark Twain

Playing tricks or jokes on our fellow man is truly universal. Although it has been observed for centuries in several countries, the establishment of April Fools Day (aka All Fools Day) on the first day of April and the origin of the custom may only be speculated upon. It resembles other festivals, such as the Hilaria of ancient Rome (commemorating the god, Attis, on March 25) and the Holi festival of India (ending March 31). Its timing seems related to the vernal equinox (March 21), when nature "fools" mankind with sudden changes in the weather.

April Fools Day may have gained impetus when the Gregorian Calendar was instituted. In 16th-century France and other Christian countries, New Year's Day was celebrated on March 25, the advent of spring, with parties until the first of April. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII reformed this Julian calendar and New Year's Day was proclaimed to be on January 1 instead of in the spring. Many persons, either through ignorance or by choice continued to celebrate New Year's from March 25 to April 1. During this period of spring festivity, the more flexible French began to mock the traditionalists by sending them foolish gifts and invitations to non-existent parties. The victim of an April Fools Day prank in France was called a "Poisson d'Avril," or "April Fish." Perhaps this is a reference to the gullibility of a fish to be attracted to bait or the zodiacal sign of Pisces through which the sun passes at this time of year.

The new calendar was not universally accepted, especially in the Protestant areas of Europe. The regions of Alsace and Lorraine did not accept the Gregorian calendar until 1682 and 1760, respectively. Prussia accepted the calendar in 1610 and most of the rest of Protestant Germany in 1700. England and the American colonies accepted the calendar in 1752 and with it the widespread observance of April Fools Day in England may have gained momentum. The English, Scotch and French introduced their customs to their colonies in America.

Francois Mougin, his wife, Catherine Becheter and their infant daughter, Barbe, left their French home in Ancerville southeast of Metz in Moselle and came to America in June of 1850 (it is uncertain, but a son, Jean, may have died in transit to America, if not before). They purchased a farm of 95 acres in the southern-most section of the Vincennes Commons of Knox County, Indiana, where two more daughters were born, Honorine in 1851 and Catherine in 1854.

Joseph Orleans was also from France and a neighbor of the Mougin family in the Vincennes Commons. He had married Anna Simon, the widow of Nicolas Francois Grandjean, in 1861 (the Grandjean/Simon marriage had occurred on 17 March 1851 in Aube). Anna Simon was the sister of Julia Simon, the wife of Francois Mouzin. The Simon and Mouzin families were both from the commune of Aube in the French department of Moselle in Lorraine. Aube is about 3.5 kilometers west of Ancerville and 4.5 kilometers west-northwest of Remilly, the birthplace of Francois Mougin. In another relationship between these families, a third Simon sister from Aube, Marie Simon, had married Francois Nicholas Becheter, the brother of Catherine Becheter. Thus the siblings of the Simon family were brothers- & sisters-in-law of Catherine Becheter.

It is not known if there was any animosity between the families in France or at the time in the United States. The Mougin and Mouzin descendants have always considered themselves cousins, although as yet I have been unable to prove such a relationship (there are some surnames in common, including Mouzin). But the Mougin family appears to have been intending to leave the country. They had completed the sale of their land on 2 April 1863. The Civil War was the likely factor; but possibly it was due to what happened on that April Fools Day in 1863.

The only record of the events of that day is represented by the words of the plaintiff, Joseph Orleans:

"On the first day of April, 1863, Katherine, wife of the defendant Francis Mougin, did unlawfully and purposely frighten the horses of this plaintiff by throwing brush and other things at and under the horses and striking them, caused the horses by said acts to run away. The plow of the plaintiff was broken and damaged to the amount of $3 and the horses were crippled and injured to the amount of $90 and were unservicible and useless for the space of a month. The sum of $100… which the plaintiff demands judgement."

The first trial was held in the court of the Justice of the Peace of Vincennes Township, James S. Mayes, on 18 May 1863. Witnesses included many neighbors of Orleans and the Mougins, including the young Mougin daughters and members of the Vacelet family, who were in-laws of the Mougin family (members of a second Vacelet family would later be brutally murdered near Vincennes in 1878). The jury consisted of a slice of the American pie. It included persons of English-American descent (Chandler, Bishop, Smith), German descent (Kuhn, Amlin, Stanglin), but half were of French descent (Delisle, Laplante, Barrois. Racine, Soulignee, Bey). Their judgment was for the defendants and ordered Joseph Orleans to pay the Mougins’ cost of $24.

Joseph Orleans then appealed the case to the Knox County Court of Common Pleas. Records show that most of the same witnesses testified in this new case on 15 October 1863. The jury that heard this case was primarily English-American and included names well known in Knox County, such as, Montgomery, McClure, Reel, Scott, and Westfall. Their judgment was perhaps fairer and ordered Francois and Catherine Mougin to pay $20 to Joseph Orleans (much less than the $100 that he sought); it was further ordered that the Francois Mougin pay Orleans’ costs of $101.50. But it did not end there, evidently Francois Mougin refused to pay the judgment and Joseph Orleans sought his arrest. In the Order of Arrest, Orleans complained that:

"Francis and Catherine Mougin have sold all their Real and personal property and have converted the same into money, the sum of $2000, and Francis Mougin is about to leave the State of Indiana without satisfying said judgment."

Francis Mougin was arrested, but posted a bond to satisfy the judgment and Orleans had the case dismissed on 5 January 1864.

Indeed the Mougin family did return to their home in France. Catherine Becheter-Mougin signed the parish register of Remilly (nearby Ancerville) as the godmother of her niece, Marie Anne Vacelet (daughter of Jules Alexandre Vacelet & Anne Marie Mougin), just 19 days after the case was dismissed. The Mougin family would return to Vincennes by April of 1865, but by then the plaintiff in this case, Joseph Orleans, was dead. He had enlisted as a soldier in the Union Army, but died of a disease in Indianapolis on 20 February 1865. Did some Mougin-Orleans feud between the neighbors spark this confrontation? Or was it just a foolhardy April Fools Day prank on the part of Catherine Becheter-Mougin? We likely may never know.

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Despite Supreme Court Decision, Homeschooling Family That Fled Germany For U.S. Is Allowed To Stay

Does German school policy violate a person's right to freedom of religion.  Evidently not, or the US Supreme Court would not have declined to even hear the case.  So why is the Romeike family still in the United States?   Just how far from reality does the world have to go in kow-towing to the delusions that religions foster?
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Let alone has them blown up to near full size and then matted and framed to boot!
And would it be Angel or Spike?  Find out here.

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The Milk Carton Kids play "Michigan."   And a bonus, "Hope of a Lifetime" and "Snake Eyes:"  Download their first two albums for free at:

Sarah Jarosz sings "Over the Edge."

And Wait's "Come on up to the house."

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SHERLOCK Creator Steven Moffat and Producer Sue Vertue Talk Plans for Seasons 4 and 5, Juggling Schedules with DOCTOR WHO, and More

Even though Sherlock hasn’t quite finished its Season 3 run on Masterpiece on PBS, fans of the popular series are already anxious to know when it will return with new episodes. Thanks to the increasing work schedules for show stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, who have very busy acting careers, and Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, who write the episodes, the gap between seasons doesn’t seem as though it will shorten, anytime soon.

But the good news is that there are plans for a Season 4 and 5, which show creator Steven Moffat and producer Sue Vertue spoke to Collider about. During this exclusive interview, they discussed how the waiting period isn’t ideal but hasn’t hurt their viewership, that the scheduling needs to be juggled with Moffat’s other series, Doctor Who, how fans will get more episodes, in the long run, because they make shorter seasons and work around the actors’ availability, that it’s not likely they’ll have another season ready by Christmas (which had been previously rumored), and that they have ideas for Season 4 that will lead to a terrifying Season 5. Check out what they had to say at the link above.
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