Tag Archives: P.W. Kaser

From the Wayside Inn: Maple-Bourbon Pork Roast Recipe

Longfellow's Wayside InnWhen we visited Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury Massachusetts recently for a mini-family reunion and to learn more about the Howe family who built the Inn–my brother picked up a copy of Longfellow’s Wayside Inn Cookbook.

The book, like the Inn’s kitchen, makes no attempt to recreate the Howe Tavern food of the 18th and 19th century, but rather focuses on the more modern cuisine that draws crowds to the several dining rooms at today’s Wayside Inn.

Wayside Inn Old Kitchen Dining Room

The Old Kitchen at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn. Dining hearthside.

While we were there, we ate in the Main dining room, the small dining room, the Inn Keeper’s Room, and others. My favorite of all the dining spaces was “the Old Kitchen.” There you can sit near the fire and contemplate the labor involved in cooking over the open hearth.  This contraption was meant to be wound up and then as it slowly unwound, it would turn a roast on a spit.  The Inn has had to remove the handle because kids (and adults, too, we suspect) had a tendency to play with it.


Wayside Inn Old Kitchn Dining Room

The Old Kitchen Roast Turner

When my brother’s family delved into their new cookbook, and chose a roast pork recipe, they did not roast their pork over the hearth using a roast turner. But that might be a possibility.  Since the recipe is copyrighted, we give you his notes. Consult your own, or your library’s copy for the entire instructions for making Pork with Maple-Bourbon Glaze.

Contributed by P.W. Kaser

Drunken PigHere are  some personal notes  on the Longfellow’s Wayside Inn Cookbook‘s roast pork recipe which is a version of what we call out here in the West “Drunken Pig.”

Maple-Bourbon Pork Glaze for the roast pork recipe requires 2 cups of water, 2 cups of sugar, one tablespoon of Vermont Maple syrup, one teaspoon of maple extract, a stingy one fourth cup of Bourbon, and one tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in cold water.

(Set enough Bourbon aside so guests can use it to toast the cook.)

Sugar and water are mixed and brought to a boil. Cornstarch is added for thickener and cooked for a few minutes. Maple syrup, maple extract, and bourbon are stirred in.

(Watch carefully not to overcook unless you want to have strange candy form in your pot.)

It is best for the cook not to consume excess mix while cooking the pork but to baste the roast judiciously and soberly as it is roasted. We used a two pound roast and it came out golden brown and delicious.

pork roast

Notes and Speculations: I don’t know why in the  book, Vermont maple syrup is specified. Perhaps it’s just regional loyalty. As instructed we “gilded the lily” by adding maple flavoring extract to the real maple syrup. I can’t see that this would make much difference.

And why is the whiskey not identified as Kentucky bourbon? I haven’t seen any record of Bourbon being commonly quaffed in the Inn’s early decades, and as a broadly distributed commercial product it doesn’t seem to have achieved fame as a uniquely Kentucky delight until the mid-to-late 19th century, but the book claims to present a blend of new and old so maple-Bourbon pork may serve as an example of the best of both eras.

The Mysteries of ’49er Jesse Morgan: 52 Ancestors #25

Jesse Morgan ( 1805-1850)

By P. W. Kaser

This entry is a guest post by my brother, who followed Jesse to California. But my brother’s journey was more than one hundred years after the Gold Rush, and hopefully transpired without leaving a deserted wife and children behind and dead bodies in his wake.

Sutter's Fort as Jesse Morgan saw it.

Sutter’s Fort  near Sacramentofrom Gleason’s Pictorial Drawing Room Companion 1840’s.

When Great-Great Grandpa Jesse Morgan was felled by a bullet through the neck during the Sacramento Squatters Riot of August 14, 1850, the family was left with many unanswered questions about his life. It hasn’t all been cleared up yet. Was Jesse a bold pioneer on the Oregon Trail? a horse-trading wanderer? a morally certified Ohio school teacher? a successful gold miner and hotel keeper in old Sacramento? a murderer and bigamist? Could he have been, to some degree, all of the above?

He enters American journalistic history as one of the crowd of squatters who shot down Mayor Bigelow. But did he just threaten the Mayor and never get a shot off? The real story of what happened and why that day at the corner of 4th and J Streets in Sacramento has yet to be fully revealed.

Sacramento where Jesse was shot

Sacramento Foot of J Street C. Parsons ; drawn Dec. 20th 1849 by G.V. Cooper ; lith. of Wm. Endicott & Co., N. York from worldmapsonline.com

Jesse Morgan, originally of New York State, was Grandma Vera Stout Anderson’s grandfather, thanks to his marriage in 1840 to widow Mary Morgan of Killbuck, Ohio. When he married Mary, Jesse was a widower with four children from his former mating. He and Mary had a daughter “Hattie,” still a very young child, when he began making frequent business trips throughout the Midwest.

Eventually and inevitably he succumbed to the pandemic (pun intended) of gold fever of 1849. Mary, back in Killbuck, was left, like so many “California Widows” of the time, with her husband’s optimistic letters and promises, until she received a letter from a New York Cousin of Jesse’s.  The letter enclosed a clipping from a New York newspaper with a notice of his death in Sacaramento.

The story of his earlier horse-trading and other business doings in the Midwest, along with a review of a detailed journal of adventures along the Oregon/California Trail that is attributed to him, will be the subjects of flashback features of this blog site.

When I was ten or eleven I told my Grandma Vera I intended to get to California as soon as I could. She warned, “Be careful not to get shot out there like old Jesse did.” This hardly discouraged me and I wanted to know all the gory details, but my mother and grandmother would say only that Grandpa Jesse was an innocent bystanding victim of a Gold Rush shoot out.

Jesse Morgan on plaque

Squatters Riot Plaque, Sacramento, listing Jesse Morgan, squatter. From Roadside America.com

Judging by all the western movies I had seen, I concluded that claim jumpers must have intentionally shot him to get his rich diggings. It was not until I came to California in 1970 that I began my research into details of this story. Various histories of Sacramento and sensationalizing newspapers reported that one Jesse Morgan lately in from “Millersville [Millersburg], Ohio” had tried to shoot or succeeded in (depending on the account) gunning down the Mayor in a riot perpetrated by a mob of squatters on August 14, 1850.

One of the reports even had a lithograph of the incident, showing Jesse or possibly the Squatter leader, fiery John Maloney, aiming at the hapless Mayor, who eventually died of his wounds. Also shown is Sheriff Joseph McKinney, a bold Wyatt Earp type (he ran a gambling establishment in the city), who was dedicated to the persecution of the Squatters as they tried to fight a gang of greedy local land speculators.

Jesse was one of four squatters killed in the August 14th riot. Five of the Sheriff’s posse were wounded, stats that recall those of the famous O. K. Coral bang up. Later, to an extent, the Squatters were justified in their claims if not their methods. They drew to their cause local businessmen and lawyers, newspaper editor James McClatchy (founder of today’s powerful McClatchy chain), and Dr. Charles Robinson, who, while in jail was nominated and elected to the State Assembly and eventually became Governor of Kansas.

Jesse, of course, did not live to see the outcome of the Squatters’ struggle. But there is much more to his story… Some accounts of the riot included claims that Jesse had a wife and child in Sacramento and had been proprietor of the Oak Grove House, one of several prospering inns that served the freighters to and from the gold diggings. These revelations only deepened the mysteries about Jesse Morgan, the most colorful of our 19th century ancestors.

How We are Related

  • PWK and Vera Marie Badertscher, the son and daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser, the daughter of
  • Vera Stout Anderson, the daughter of
  • Harriet (Hattie) Morgan Stout, the daughter of
  • Jesse Morgan

Research notes:

  • Research on Jesse Morgan is complicated by the common name Morgan; and more so by lack of official records In California during the chaotic Gold Rush years.  Sacramento only became a city in the fall of 1849, and even then few legal systems were in effect, so records around the time he was there are sketchy.
  • See an image of the Squatters’ Riot plaque bearing Jesse’s Name at Roadside America.
  • Jesse Morgan’s letters to Mary Morgan in author’s possession.
  • Information on birth, marriage and family from family Bibles and memoirs of Harriette Anderson Kaser.
  • An Illustrated history of Sacramento County, California: Containing a History of Sacramento County, by Win. J. Davis (1890) Available on line.

Family Photos “Pick at Time”

When I am not in the kitchen, I’m at the computer or looking at a family photo.  When I started Ancestors in Aprons, I also added to my first blog, A Traveler’s Library.  As I was reviewing a novel called A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar on A Traveler’s Library, I discovered some lines by author Suzanne Joinson that definitely struck a chord with this family historian–and maybe with you as well.

Freida, a character in the book, has inherited a whole apartment full of a woman’s life-long accumulation. There she discovers a picture of her mother who has been out of her life for a long time. She says at the beginning of a chapter, “A photograph can do this, unpick at time.” On the next page:

Looking again at the picture she almost physically fell backwards: Family photographs are slips of time, trap-doors to the past…

Family Photo of Brother in Kaser gardent

Brother in garden at Loretta Avenue house in Columbus, Ohio (Circa 1950)

That seems so right to me.  One look at an old family photo sends me spiraling back to summer on Loretta Avenue in Columbus, Ohio. I smell the wet grass. I recall sitting on the steps of the back porch watching fireflies blink. I smell the garlicky tomato sauce cooking next door. I hear kids calling each other up and down the block, taking advantage of the last shreds of light on a summer day. All those things  are not in the photograph, but are in my memory–picked loose by the picture.

Family Photo of Garden

Paul Kaser’s carefully planned garden in Columbus Ohio, Circa 1950.

The garden on this, what I believe was an Easter family photo, shows mostly flowers, but there were vegetables, too, and one of the memories is Daddy (Paul Kaser) sitting at the kitchen table with graph paper, plotting out the arrangement of flowers and vegetables, taking into account the height, the time of blooming and the color.  As I pondered the time he spent on that garden, it suddenly occurred to me that this was the very first house he ever owned. No wonder he put so much of himself into it.

Alas, we only lived in the Loretta Avenue house slightly over two years until Daddy decided that the city was not a healthy place to raise children, and we moved back to the small town of Killbuck. There he got out the graph paper and planned another glorious vegetable garden in the yard that supplied salads all summer long.

Do you spiral back in time when you look at family photos?