The Incredible Octopus

Dr. Erin Spencer has done it again. Her recently released book “The Incredible Octopus: Meet the Eight-Armed Wonder of the Sea” is a beautiful book with lots to learn and colorful photos. Did you know that octopuses have three hearts? They can change color, are very smart, and play with toys. Would you like to take on an octopus at Jeopardy? They have 9 brains compared to your one. Each arm has an independent brain that can function on it’s own.

This is a great book for parents and teachers alike. Erin corrects the idea that the plural of octopus is not octopi, but actually is octopuses, “like how bus becomes buses”. This is Erin’s second book. If you read my blogs (I know I don’t post often) you know that her first book “The World of Coral Reefs” is equally as beautiful and filled with facts.

If you get a chance to watch the PBS special on hammerhead sharks, you will see her bravely swimming with the sharks. You wouldn’t catch me anywhere near a shark, let along studying them in the wild.

Erin has her PhD in marine ecology and is living in southern Florida where she can continue her research. She received her PhD from Florida International University. She also graduated from William and Mary as well as University of North Carolina. Congratulations, Erin, on your many successes.

Elizabeth “Betty” Spencer Druesdum Last of the Cousins

It is with much sadness that I share the passing of Elizabeth “Betty” Spencer Drusedum on Christmas Day, 2023. She was the last of the Howard and Mary (White) Spencer children and probably the last of her generation of Alex and Mary Ella (Hess) White’s grandchildren.

Elizabeth S. Drusedum

Elizabeth S. Drusedum

November 11, 1930 – December 25, 2023

Elizabeth “Betty” Drusedum was a remarkable woman. The matriarch of the Drusedum family, she was an exceptional artist, teacher, musician, and business woman who graced our lives with unconditional love, creativity, and kindness. She passed away peacefully on Christmas Day 2023 with her beloved husband of 69 years by her side. Betty was the loving wife of Walter Drusedum and a treasured mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt and friend who will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Passionate about art from a young age, she attended Penn State College graduating with a degree in Art Education. A proud Nittany Lion alumna, she moved to Lansdale after graduation where she taught Art to grades 1- 8. She met her husband, Walter, her first year in Lansdale and they celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary in 2023. She was a founding member of the North Penn Symphony Orchestra for 33 years and an active member of First Baptist Church of Lansdale. In 1988, she opened the Lamb’s
Wool yarn shop with her daughter that they ran for 25 years.

Betty touched the lives of so many. A born educator, she always knew her calling was teaching, which manifested itself in many forms. Over the years she taught art, painting, knitting, crocheting, weaving, spinning, and dying to countless students. She believed that everyone was creative. Her legacy lives on not only through her impressive works, but also through the trove of cherished memories from the individuals she inspired to embrace their own creativity and the memories of her warmth and encouragement she offered all who had the privilege of knowing her.

Betty enjoyed making art, watercolors, ceramics, knitting, playing the violin, her local sports teams, traveling and most of all, spending time with friends and family. We are eternally grateful to have known her, to have loved her, and to have been loved by her.

A Life Celebration will be held at Foulkeways at Gwynned on March 30, 2024, 11:00AM in the Community Center. In lieu of flowers, we kindly ask you to channel your creativity and create a piece of art that would have made Betty smile.

Memorial donations can be made to Foulkeways at Gwynned Stewardship Fund or to
The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Obituary | Elizabeth S. Drusedum | Huff & Lakjer Funeral Home, Inc. (

William and Hannah (Milliken) White Tombstone Reset

My husband and I traveled West to visit relatives and friends and our route went very close to Pana, IL. I knew my three times great grandparents were buried there in the Linwood Cemetery. We found the stone and I was able to photograph, scrape off a few lichens and vowed to come back to clean the stone sometime.

William White Tombstone Linwood Cemetery, Pana, IL
Hannah Milliken White Tombstone Linwood Cemetery Pana, IL

This past May (2023) we found ourselves near Pana, IL again and located the stone. I had taken D2 (recommended tombstone cleaning solution) along just in case we got near the cemetery and could clean the stone. It didn’t look too bad when we left and the rain would clean it further, over time. The above photos are shortly after I cleaned them as best I could with the lack of water.

I got the name of a company who could straighten and reinforce the base of the stone, as it was leaning. Pyramid Marble and Granite located in Pana and Effingham, IL were nearby and very helpful. They inspected the tombstone and by the time I got around to calling them to look at the stone, it had fallen. It looks nice and clean, lying on the ground, but now it really needed some help.

Pyramid Marble and Granite sent me a quote and had the job done within a week. It is straight and on a solid base now, hopefully, for another 50 years. If you are trying to locate the stone, it is in the old section along side the road.

William White 1803 – 1882

Hannah M White cleaned tombstone
Hannah M White cleaned tombstone

Philip Howard Spencer dies at 96 years old

Yesterday I attended the memorial service for cousin Philip (with one L like the disciple- he says) Howard Spencer at the Media Presbyterian Church in Media, PA. It was a wonderful celebration of his life with many of his paintings, photos and great stories told by his sons and grandchildren. Cousin Phil, born 24 Jan 1927, died 10 Jun 2023 at Maris Grove Retirement Village, in Glen Mills, PA, was the son of Howard and Mary (White) Spencer.

“He is survived by a sister, Eizabeth Drusedum and three sons, Blake Spencer (Jennifer Brown) of Strafford, VT; Scott Spencer (Barbara) of Rehoboth, MA and Stuart Spencer (Leslie) of Moorestown, NJ. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Christopher McGrath (Catherine), Robin Spencer, Katies Spencer, Annik Spencer Allen (Danny), Samuel Spencer, and Miles Spencer, and one great grandchild, Thomas McGrath. He spent his career as a partner of Spencer Stationary Company in Chester, PA and was a Navy veteran of World War II.

A man of deep faith, Philip was a longtime Elder and Bible teacher at Media Presbyterian Church where he fostered his love of music by singing tenor in the choir. He also volunteered with the Salvation Army for more than five decades. Always charming and quick with a joke, Philip loved to be around people and people loved to be around him. Anyone who met him couldn’t help but feel the warmth of his open heart, curious nature, honorable character, and compassion for others. He loved jazz music, had a nearly encyclopedic memory for song lyrics and could always be found spinning people around the dance floor at weddings and family gatherings, eye twinkling in his signature bow tie. A self-taught, talented watercolorist, many have Philip’s paintings proudly displayed in their homes. Philip will be profoundly missed, but his spirit will live on in the impact that he has left on so many.” ( From memorial program)

His many likes and talents were incorporated in his service, with the City Brass band playing jazzy songs, finalizing with “As The Saints Go Marching In” sung by those in attendance and Rev. Rose Sparrow lifting her glorious voice above all.

I love catching up with the cousins and they were there in multiples. It was a chance to find out who has gotten married, had babies and extended the family, since we were together for Phil’s brother’s memorial service (Robert White Spencer). I will be one of the many who will greatly miss having lunch with Phil and hearing his stories. RIP, Phil

William and Hannah (Milliken) White Tombstones in Pana, IL

Al and I went on another adventure to visit friends and relatives in our motorhome. We visited with Cousins Mark and Colleen Myers in Cleveland, TN. Always fun to hear about Marks latest birding trips. He has been all over the World banding birds and taking wonderful pictures.

Our next stop was Plano, TX to visit Nephews Jeff and Rob. We stayed in a RV park nearby and had the pleasure to meet a group of Venezuelans who were celebrating their friend’s birthday. We talked with one of the couples who gave us a dining suggestion, Hola Cafe. It is in nearby Carrollton, TX. They were absolutely correct that their country’s cuisine is delicious.

On to Tucumcari, New Mexico then heading home. Since we were going across the upper corner of TX and OK then through Kansas we stopped in Kansas City, MO to visit my boss from Adria Laboratories, Karen and husband, Kevin. As far as boss’ go, she was the best. She always championed her employees plans for their career and would take the heat to see that everyone was fairly treated.

On our way through Illinois, we were very close to Pana, IL where three times great grandparents William and Hannah (Milliken) White are buried. I cleaned their stones as good as possible. The rain, if it comes, will help to further clean their stones. I will be contacting a local stone mason to right their stones.

William M. White Tombstone Linwood Cemetery, Pana, IL
Hannah Milliken White Tombstone Linwood Cemetery Pana, IL

I have DAR supplements for both of these ancestors. Thomas White is the grandfather of William and his brother, Thomas’ son, James great grandfather. James also married Sarah White, daughter of previously mentioned and pictured above William and Hannah White. Making two supplements for the same ancestor. Hannah Milliken’s grandfather was Samuel Milliken. I proved him as a new Ancestor.

Footprints: Two Brothers – One Family – The Whites

My White Family history in two volumes landed on my doorstep today. Wahoo! What a yeomen’s effort of Joyce Hughes and Marsha Pilger. Joyce worked on this history until her death and then the burden fell on Marsha. She has done a fine job and it looks great. I’ll be spending the weekend in Charlottesville, VA watching Sam’s American U. soccer game and reading my books.

I helped Joyce with my part of the family. She had a good start, however I have kept track of a lot of the White cousins through hosting a White Family reunion a number of years. I was able to locate descendants of Alexander Right and Mary Ella (Hess) White’s children. I found someone in each of the married children’s families. The children of Alex and Mary Ella include: Nettie (never married); Bess White Hosler (Gilbert); Sara White Myers (Melvin); Mary White Spencer (Howard); Grace White Hooker (James); William Walter White (my grandfather) (Effie); Charles A. White (Louise); and Earle White (Margaret). We are scattered to the four corners of the US and some of the great, great grands are living abroad.

I thought the Whites had not moved out of Pennsylvania until I was researching Thomas White as a Revolutionary War patriot for DAR. Alas, this is not true. William White who married Hannah Milliken moved West and died in Pana, Illinois. Last year, Al and I were traveling Route 30 west and stopped in Pana to find where they are buried. This story you can read in a previous blog posting. Anyway, if anyone is so inclined to travel there, let me know.

Thanks to Marsha Pilger for finishing Joyce’s work and publishing this wonderful history of our family.

Samuel Milliken Added as New Ancestor in DAR

What a struggle to get 5 x great grandfather Samuel Milliken proven as a Revolutionary War patriot, but it’s done. Samuel was born in Ireland c. 1727, married Sarah Jardine, sister to Mary Jardine the wife of Thomas White. They lived in Cumberland County, later Perry County that broke off of the former in 1820. Samuel and Sarah are buried in Bixler, Perry County PA

Their son, David Milliken moved west to Braddock Fields, Allegheny County, PA where he and some of his family are buried. The big question for DAR is how did Hannah, daughter of David Milliken marry William White if the family had moved west and William was still in Perry County. They were concerned about Hannah being only about 10 years old, must have stayed behind and not moved to Allegheny County with her family. Why would a 10-year-old not go with them? A lot of speculation, but probably to help with relatives’ children.

I thought that none of the Whites went west from PA, however Hannah Milliken married William White. They moved west through Indiana and finally settled in Pana, Illinois. Al and I took a trip on Route 30 west. Pana, IL is not far off of Rt 30, so we went on what I call “grave digging” looking for William and Hannah’s burial site.

We arrived in Pana, found the cemetery rather quickly and began the search. There was a caretaker working and I stopped to ask if he knew where they were buried. Since they were among the earlier people buried in the cemetery, he directed us to the older section. We parked the motorhome, and I began to look for their tombstone. I knew from FindAGrave what the stone looked like and started up and down the rows. No luck out the driver’s side door, going up and down the rows, so I crossed the road to go up and down that side. After about a half hour, I was back at the motorhome and you guessed it, the tombstone was right beside the RV. AHHHHHHHHHHHH! I figured Hannah and William must have had a great sense of humor to let me do all that walking when they were right there.

Their stone is not in bad shape; however, it needs to be cleaned and reset to be in good shape for many more years. I am calling a local tombstone company to see if they can fix the stone.

Erin Spencer on National Geographic

It was a big surprise when I turned on National Geographic station this week to see our cousin, Erin Spencer, swimming with the sharks on Shark Fest. If you have On Demand you might want to catch the show.

Erin is a PhD student, in marine ecology, at Florida International University, studying sharks, specifically hammer head sharks. I wouldn’t get in the water any place with a shark, let alone a hammer head. They are quite large. Erin and her research group actually spend many hours on the water looking for them.

She is a very courageous person to put herself in that kind of danger to help an apex predator to survive in the ocean. She bravely takes laser measurements while the shark swims around her, looking for a meal, hopefully, something a other than the researchers.

Author of award winning “Explore and Protect the Natural wonders of the Sea: The World of Coral Reefs”, Erin is also an accomplished writer. If you would like a very colorfully illustrated, down to earth, kids book (even adults can learn from it), I would suggest you order one of her books from

It is wonderful to see what our next generation cousins are doing to impact the world. Catch her blog by googling her or go on her Facebook page.

Sargent William Walter White (1894-1953)

Co. H, 314 Infantry World War I Taken April 1918

List of men, not necessarily in order: Eister, Stipler, B.Brown, Bolle, Longo, Laux, Kocher, Decker, C. Smith, Cleon Smith, Sgt. Culver, Ferrera, Brady, Hackenburger, J. Kelly, Krocto, Corp. White, Hartzel, Burns, Corp Sally, Heims, Corp. Reed, Howley, Gardner, Fritz, Cathers, Murphy, Edwards, Barefoot, Booker, Crozier

The picture above was sent to me after Christmas, 2021, by Cousins Bill and Kathy McCord. Our grandfather is pictured third row up on the right, peaking around the soldier standing in the second row. This is Company H, 314 Infantry group at Camp Mead, MD in 1918.

Grandpa White enlisted in the Army Nov. 2, 1917 and was discharged Mar. 13, 1919. At the time of the photo he was a Corporal, however on discharge was a Sargent in Co. 35 153 Depot Brigade (formerly 191 Hoboken Casual Co. ). He served overseas for seven months. He participated in the Battle of Montfaucon (France) that was part of the Meuse-Argonne Champaign. This was the first battle to use chemical warfare and was considered one of the most significant of the campaign.

Corp. White also fought in the Malancourt and Nantillious, France battles before returning to the United States for discharge at Camp Dix, New Jersey. His discharge states that he did not have any wounds, however my mom (Martha White) stated that he had burn scares on his arm from the chemicals that were released in the battle of Montfaucon.

According to the CSI Battlebook for the Battle of Montfaucon, “the sector (304) facing north toward Malancourt, Montfaucon and Nantillious , covered not only the most impossible terrain in all the Meuse-Argonne area, but was also placed in front of the greatest obstacle in the sector – the village and area around Montfaucon…. Sector 304 was part of the battlefield of Verdun, fought over by the armies of France and Germany for four years. ” “Within the Avocourt-Malancourt sector, the Germans held on to their most formidable positions on the entire Western Front.

I hope descendants of the 314th Infantry find this photo and can identify their relative. If you would like to share that information feel free to contact me.

Is David Milligan the father of Hannah Milliken/Milligan White?

I am looking for any information that proves the connection between Hannah Milliken White and her father, David Milligan, son of Samuel Milligan. 

According to History of the Families Millingas and Millanges of Saxony and Normandy Comprising Genealogies and Biographies of their Posterity Surnamed Milliken, Millikin, Millikan, Millican, Milligan, Mulliken and Mullikin A.D. 800-A.D.- 1907, Lewiston, ME, Journal Press, 1907, “Hannah, second daughter of David, b. in Swissvale, Perry Co., Penn., Aug 28, 1805; was m. in her 21st year to William White, and settled in Perry Co., Penn., where she united with the Associate Church. Subsequently the family removed to Indiana, and in 1866 removed to Pana, Ill., where she and her husband united with the U.P. Church and she died in 1872. 

David Milligan, son of Samuel Milligan, was born in Swissvale, Perry Co., PA, married Sarah Wallace and about 1814 moved west, where they settled near Pittsburgh (Braddock Fields), PA.  His wife died in 1818-1819, and his children went westward. He dies in 1834. The above book names his children: Samuel died in childhood; Sallie marries John Swisshelm; Robert marries Mary Ann Shortess; John marries Lucinda Elmore; James died young; Hannah marries William White; Peggy marries Robert Graham; Eleanor marries Dr. Joseph Faulkner; Hon. Joseph Milligan marries Janie M. Hawkins, then Harriet N. Fullenwider; and Rev. Thomas Stuart Milligan marries Louisa Frances Warren.

It appears that Hannah may have stayed in Perry County when the remainder of the family moved to Braddock Fields. She would have been about 10 years old at this time. Did she stay with other family who remained in Perry County?