Inspirational Message

Inspirational Message

Monday, June 11, 2018

52 Ancestors 52 Weeks - Father's Day

He was born on the farm nearly 80 years ago, the first child born to Lester L and Leota J (Hedrick) Louthan, homesteaded by his grandparents, Samuel O and Emma J. (Hurt) Louthan.  Named Gerald Ray by his parents but nicknamed Bud by his grandpa. Throughout his lifetime he has been known as Bud to all who know him.  Most don't know his legal name, he is just Bud. 

Bud was a teenager of the 1950s; drag racing cars, chasing girls, drinking beer. Except when he was working.  He picked cotton when he wasn't in school. His grandpa had a few cows and horses and his mother milked a Jersey cow. His dad worked for the county road and bridge department. He graduated from high school in 1956 and married my mother a few weeks later. Together they reared five children and lived in three states. Bud was always a hard worker. He worked for Pigley Wigley in 1956 in Enid, Oklahoma and then transferred to the Lubbock, Texas store as a manager. They moved back to Oklahoma a few years later and Bud worked three part-time jobs: running a route for Coca Cola, working the sale ring at the local stock yards and selling 33 rpm records. He began selling H&B items to small mom and pop stores in Oklahoma and Kansas.  Making quite an impression on his supervisor and those on up the chain. After a couple of years, he moved his family to Kansas while still working for the same H&B company. Bud was offered a promotion with the H&B company that required moving to Kansas City. He turned it down because he didn't think it would be good for his kids. He went to work in the local wire manufacturing plant during the Vietnam War.  The plant made concertina wire (barbed wire) that the military used to keep the enemy at bay. I am sure you've all seen those photos of coiled barbed wire. After the war he went on to work construction; building homes. He followed this trade for many years. In the late 1970s he bought a piece of property on which an old school house sat.  He remodeled it into a hamburger joint complete with an awning and us girls worked as carhops.  A few years later he bought more property across the road and built a car wash and a gas station/convenience store. In 1995 he retired, after selling the gas station/convenience store to me, and traveled between Kansas and Texas with Mom. He always enjoyed hunting and fishing. He hunted Elk in Colorado, deer in Kansas and Oklahoma as well as game birds. He fished in the Gulf of Mexico with his own boat. He and Mom lived in Texas until this past year after a hurricane hit the area where they had purchased a home. There home was not damaged by the winds and rain but they no longer loved South Texas so they moved back to Oklahoma to live close to their daughters. 

I would say my dad has lived a very interesting life.  He never met a stranger and has many stories to tell anyone who takes time to listen. He may not always be able to finish the story these days...his memory is not what it once was. He dreams of hunting and fishing again like he did on the farm as a kid and in the mountains of Colorado as an adult. 

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Long Distance Relatives - Holly and Graves

My daughter and her family are preparing to move to Hawaii in late July. They have seven children ages 4 to 15 and I am very close to all of them. I enjoy watching their sporting events and celebrating their special occasions. This move is really touching my heart and it got me to thinking about my great great grandmother leaving Jefferson County, New York to homestead on the wide open prairies in Kansas and Oklahoma.

Sarah (Holly) Graves was living in Jefferson County in 1880 with her husband, Gilbert A Graves and their children Burleigh and Florence. Sarah had lost one child by 1870, a daughter named Adella born 1860/5.  They moved to Barber County, Kansas where their daughter, Florence, married Jared Hoag on the 25th of January in 1888. The 1900 census revealed that Sarah had lost two children, the second child is still a mystery. 

Sarah and Gilbert went on to Oklahoma in the 1893 Land Rush.  Thanks to Old Fulton Postcards, I have been able to follow Sarah's family until the death of each individual. Sarah outlived all but her brother Anson N Holly.

I have no knowledge of Sarah traveling back to New York, but there were several estate notices in which she and her siblings were named. Newspapers are a very valuable resource for tracing the activities of our ancestors. 

I will be visiting my daughter and her family in person annually and via a video link on the Internet as often as possible.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Oklahoma Wildifires - Hoag Genealogy

This passed two weeks has  been a nightmare for the residents of Dewey County, Oklahoma as the Rhea fire raged across from the west to the east. My elderly aunt has a farm in Dewey County and lost her home of 73 years. 
She is the eldest of seven children and was the original family genealogist.  For many years her attic was filled with her research and memorabilia she kept after her parents passed away. She also used chest freezers that no longer worked to keep her research safe from the elements.  Several years ago at a family reunion, my cousin and I visited with her about all these records.  She wanted them to go to the only male Hoag in the family.  Fortunately, not long afterwards she gave it all to him. I am eternally grateful, for if she had not, all would be lost.  
The house as it caught on fire.
All that remains are ashes.
Dewey County, Oklahoma after the fires.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Remembering Grandma Hoag

This weekend I will be celebrating a milestone birthday. This day always brings to mind the memories of my Grandma Hoag. She lived on a farm in Oklahoma with her husband, Mitchell William Hoag and her seven children. They raised chickens, hogs and cattle and grew wheat and hay crops. My mother was the youngest of the seven and didn't like farm chores; "slopping through the muck to the barn" was the least thing she wanted to do.

Her name was Mary Steinmetz and she was born in Pond Creek, Oklahoma in 1899. Her parents were immigrants from Russia. I have always wanted to learn more about the land and customs of her parents, my great grandparents.   Her eldest brother, John, was the only child to come to America from Russia. They buried several other children in their ancestral homeland.
Mary's parents were John (Sr.) and Anna Catherine (nee Hergert) Steinmetz. They enter the United States through the Port of Baltimore in September of 1892. In 1970 Mary wrote a narrative of her family history. This is an excerpt from her story:

This is a family history of John Steinmetz (Sr.). His parents were Adam and Marie Elizabeth (nee Kester) Steinmetz. There were farmers and lived near Saratov, Russia near the Volga River. They lived in villages but went outside the village to farm the land which the Czar had issued to them for their use. Their capitol was Moscow. Their ancestors had migrated from Germany; therefore, their language was German although the Russian language was spoken in various places. Only the Catholics and Lutherans were allowed to build churches; however, prayer meetings were allowed in the village homes.  Through these meeting and Bible reading, people became Christians and later adopted other faiths 
 The Steinmetz and Kister families were probably among the original founders of the mother Colony of Walter which was established August 25, 1767.
My aunt inserted the italic statements into her mother's story after her death. My aunt was the first family genealogist and researched her lineage to join NSDAR and Mayflower Descendants.

Adam and Marie's son John was born on July 13, 1863 at Bruenendale (sic), Russia. His fiance' was Anna Katherine Hergert who was born Jan. 11, 1865 at Bruenendale (sic). They were married in Dec. 26, 1882 at Moore Village, Russia. Their minister was Rev. Julius Holtz. In Russia the parents did the match-making. Weddings always meant celebrations and most of them were performed during the long winters because there was time for leisure and sleigh rides.
Brunendale is a reference to the daughter colony of Brunnental founded in 1855. It was centrally located in the Volga Colonies approximately 18 kilometers east of the Volga River.
John and Anna's first child was a son who was born on Oct. 17, 1883. Since it was the custom to name the first son after the father, he was named John. Later in life he added an H for Henry to distinguish himself from his father, John. 
Soon after the birth of John (H). John (Sr) entered the armed services. He served there for five years in the Russian army without any compensation. His duties were cook and housekeeper for an officer.  The Czar did not think it was necessary under their laws to compensate or pension soldiers.  After completing his term of service, he was released in the summer of 1888 
 A daughter, Katherine, was born on June 24, 1889. There was quite an epidemic of smallpox at this time and consequently Katherine died Jan. 24, 1890. However, John H survived. Amelia was born prematurely on February 16 of that same year (1890).  She died two days later, Feb 18. A son Jacob was born on Dec. 21.1891. He died six days later on Dec 27.  
 Mother Anna Katherine had two brothers, Jake and George Hergert, who had come to the USA prior to 1891. George lived a Woodbine, Kansas from 1877 to 1894 when he moved to Pond Creek, Oklahoma. His older brother Jake joined him at Woodbine in 1886 and then moved to Albert, Kansas about 1890. She also had a brother who was farming with his father in Russia. George sent him the passage money to come with his family to Woodbine, Kansas. He refused to come so John and Anna Steinmetz decided to come to America because they had read in letters that there was an opportunity to become a land owner there. After several weeks sailing the stormy Atlantic Ocean they landed in Baltimore, Maryland on Sept 16, 1892. They lived in an empty box car for several weeks because they were quarantined.  The had to be vaccinated for cholera and stay long enough to see the reaction. Since no illness nor side effects developed, the box car was coupled to a through train to Woodbine, Kansas near where George Hergert lived.
In all the records I could find, Katherine was always written as Catherine. John Steinmetz filed on a claim in Oklahoma and was able to realize his dream of land ownership.

My grandpa Hoag passed away when my mom was twelve years old on a cold snowy night coming home from a school board meeting. The doctor presumed he had a heart attack before getting stuck in the snow. Grandma Hoag passed away on my thirteenth birthday, so she always comes to mind as the annual day approaches.

You can learn more about the Volga Germans through the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia and The Center for Volga German Studies at Concordia University in Portland, OR. You can also find them on Facebook.

I have never been able to determine which part of Germany they lived in prior to their migration to Russia.

I love genealogy, there is always something more to find!