John Marcus Rector

[this obituary has also been printed in the Reno Gazette-Journal, on Friday, November 11th, 2022]

John Marcus Rector died peacefully in his home in Reno on Sunday, November 6th; he was 84. He is survived by his wife Carol of 62 years, brother Tom, sister Amy, sons Eric and Brian and their families. He was generally known as “Marcus” or “Marc” to his friends and colleagues.

Born on his grandparents’ farm in Logan, OH, Marc was the first son of Martha and Wendell Rector. He grew up in Columbus, attended West High School, and then Ohio State University on a Navy ROTC scholarship. He served on the USS Tulare and USS Henley as a communications officer. Upon leaving the US Navy he pursued his professional career as an architect in Roanoke, VA, Cambridge, MA, and Jerusalem, Israel.

His seminal work was as project architect for Faneuil Hall Marketplace (FHM) in downtown Boston for Benjamin Thompson and Associates (BTA). This was one of the first, and one of the most influential, of many “festival marketplaces” that revitalized urban centers around the US, and then around the world. In 2009 FHM won the American Institute of Architecture 25 Year Award for “buildings that set a precedent.”

Marc worked on other similar projects — South Street Seaport in New York, Harborplace in Baltimore, and the San Antonio River Walk — before beginning work on the Ordway Theater for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, MN, his last project at BTA.

In 1987 architect Moshe Safdie asked Marc to help move forward a massive project in Jerusalem, Israel called “Mamilla.” He then split time between the Boston area and Jerusalem until the project was put on hold during first Gulf War in 1991.

In 1992 Marc and Carol moved to San Francisco, and Marc opened and operated the Builders Booksource store in Ghiradelli Square. He was also an enthusiastic volunteer for the San Francisco International Film Festival, Foodwise, and Slow Food. Besides his architectural work he was a passionate foodie who wrote a cookbook for friends and family at age 50, then published a food blog — eatsforone.com — from age 65 until recently. He loved to dance and to sing karaoke at the drop of a hat.

In 2012 they retired to the Sierra Canyon planned community in Reno, NV where Marc participated in the architectural review committee as well as neighborhood classes and numerous social events. He loved his family, Ohio State, Boston, San Francisco, Reno, and the many friends he met along the way. Marc simply loved life.

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Maidstone Ordinary

A 1994 listing for what is presented as a tavern built by early Rectors in Rectortown, VA

The article in the Fauquier County Times-Democrat includes most of the history that I know about this, however the statement about the origin of the name differs from my research. I found that the original German settlers joined up in the town of Maidstone, near the mouth of the Thames River in England, after leaving their homes in 1713. When they discovered that their sponsor was broke they were forced to live and work in and around Maidstone (then a papermaking center) for a year to save their own funding for their eventual trip to the Newe Worlde in 1714. The Richters/Rectors must have had fond memories of that year to name their commercial business after the city that took them in.

The fellow who helped us at the Fauquier County Historical Society — Seth –took me up to an office not open to the public specifically to show me this article, which was all that he knew about the Rectors in Rectortown.

From the Oxford English Dictionary:
A closer look at the many definitions of “Ordinary” including a Virginia specific item!

A look on Google Maps Street View just now reveals a *similar* looking structure at a similar looking intersection in the village called “Rectortown” now — Rt. 710 is also called “Rectortown Rd.” but it’s on the corner of Routes 710 and 624? Perhaps the State has adjusted the Route numbers in the past 30 years. Sure looks a lot like it with the double chimneys!

Oddly, just last night, I watched a 60 Minutes story about a family that “accidently” purchased the house where their ancestors lived. I recommend checking it out…

Did Any Rectors Own Slaves?

John Jacob Rector 1773 Estate (partial) from Fauquier Co. Courthouse records

It was with great interest that I pulled Book 1 of over 100 bound records in the Fauquier (“It’s pronounced “Faw-KEER”) County, VA courthouse after placing all my electronic devices (including my fone) into a locker once I passed through the metal detectors in the lobby of the courthouse. Unfortunately I arrived with only 30 minutes until closing time on a Friday in May of 2022 so I had to dive in quickly. I had started with the Index book for all wills and estates recorded before 1925, and when I reached the “R” section, there were Rectors galore. I chose the earliest record I could find, which was for John Jacob Rector who died in 1773. Bingo!

And there it was in brown and white (the image I ordered and eventually received is from microfilm that is a negative of the actual image for greater contrast, I suspect):

  • Rector Inventory
    • Negro Jack
    • Negro Jude
    • Negro Sambo
    • Negro Cate(?)
    • Negro James
    • Negro Anthony
    • Negro Manuel
    • Negro Homer
    • 1 Bay Gelding … 1 Bay Stallion …

To the right of each listing is a numerical value, and because this will was moved through probate in 1773, all those figures are in Pounds Sterling, Shillings, and Pennies. I’m not sure whether it’s comforting or horrifying that a man is worth more than two horses? Two men each are worth almost twice the gelding and the stallion’s total value.

Because I had to conclude my research in 30 minutes, resulting in a slip of specific pages to have them digitize and email to me, I wasn’t able to closely correlate each document with a specific member of the Rector family, specifically my personal family tree. For example, I quickly assumed that the John Jacob Rector will and estate listing I found in Book 1 represented our First Generation descendant who immigrated from Germany. However, now that I’ve been able to link it to other records, it is clearly the will and estate of JJR’s firstborn and namesake. JJR prime died in 1728/29, and those records, primarily processed as British documents before most of Virginia was organized into the counties that administrate things like this, it’s unlikely that I will find that document. On the plus side (for me) we are descended from JJR prime’s second born, Henry. I did NOT find Henry’s will and estate listing in my 30 minutes, but I continue to do research online through the VA Archives. I did find the will for Harmon Rector, JJR prime’s third born, whose will left “…to my son Harmon Rector one negro named Peter.”

As you can see in The Begats, Spenser Rector, Henry’s youngest son, appears to have moved at some point to Ohio with his British wife before he died in 1785 (back in Fauquier Co.), which is very early in the settlement of that new “Northwest Territory.” Spenser’s last born — Marcus Clay Rector — was born in Pickaway Co., OH after all, in 1788! Offhand I know that the Continental Congress was BROKE after the Revolutionary War, and decided to offer many of its unpaid soldiers land in the new states instead of their back-pay. Rectortown is located very near the trails along the upper Potomac River that would eventually become the National Road, and then the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and then the Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad. I will be researching further into when/how Spenser’s family left VA and arrived in OH, though it is interesting to know that our branch of Rectors then stayed in Ohio until Amy left for the Oregon Territory(!) in the 1970s. Speaking of Amy:

To Corn & Nubbins . . . . 20 .14 —

I was FASCINATED to note one entry in JJR2’s estate, listing “Nubbins” as an asset — they have played an important and positive part of recent Rector history…but maybe they actually tie us back to old times?

I can also now add that not only did Spenser Rector move our line to Ohio shortly after the Revolutionary War, but his grandson — Marcus Clay Rector — was drafted into the Union Army in 1863 to fight against…his family, in some cases!

In fact, in my first foray to poke around Ancestry.com on my local library’s computer (CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT Ancestry.com OWNS AND SELLS OUR COUNTRY’S OLDEST PUBLIC RECORDS?!?!?!?) I found a record for a contemporary of Marcus Clay Rector — C.P. Rector of Fauquier Co., VA — who fought in F Company of the 6th Virginia Cavalry of the Confederate Army! Who, at the age of 87, applied to the state of Virginia for a military pension because he could no longer work. Amazing.

Summer’s Over

IMG_20160820_145215020

In Maine we say that summer has peaked and is now coasting downhill toward the dark valley of winter when the goldenrod heads erupt in a spray of gold the sun’s light that has blanketed our fields and pastures since the end of Spring’s rain.

 

Plantation Pundit

Plantation Trails Woshully Bungalow

Our last “foodie” stop on our trip was in another mountain area, north west of Coonoor and back in Karnataka state but right on the Kerela border, referred to as “Coorg” although that seems to be a colonial era term and is not found on any maps. Significantly we would be entering a dense chunk of the Tata Empire as guests of their hospitality division surrounded by tens of thousands of acres of their agricultural division which they proudly announced that they sold most of their coffee production to Starbucks.
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Acres Wild


The view from the upper bungalow at Acres Wild Farmstay, Coonoor, Tamil Nadu

Our journey after Melkote began with being picked up by a driver and his car as we said our goodbyes to the Kouragi family and thanked them for hosting us. We had arranged through a travel agent that specialized in culinary focused travel to visit a cheese maker, and to visit a coffee plantation before we had to leave India. We had four nights left, and two of them would be spent at Acres Wild, a “22 acre, family-run organic cheesemaking farm and farmstay” according to their website. First we had to get there.
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Everybody: SAMBAR!


Sambar in the cup, pepper pickle, mint coconut chutney, and a stir-fry veg main dish surround a Finger Millet cake (Ragi Roti) on my plate at one dinner.

Some of you may know that the title is NOT an invitation to dance (though, feel free…) but to eat a lentil-ish soup/stew that is served throughout the South India areas we visited on our trip. In fact it seems to be a central dish to the local cuisines, served all day in a little (often metal) cup beside your roti (bread) and/or rice, and the main dish (vegetable or meat). I found Sambar SO satisfying that I was often tempted to consume multiple cups of it in one sitting, though the local consumers appeared to treat it as a complement to the main dish and primarily for moistening and flavoring your bites of bread and rice in combination with the main dish.
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