Inspirational Message

Inspirational Message

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!

No comments:

Post a Comment