Category: BLUM

Louisville Nebraska and Recollections of Lawrence Duerr

Louisville, Nebraska was founded by Captain J T A Hoover in 1857. Our Blum Family settled in and around the Louisville area so I think it only fitting that I give a little insight on the area. Lawrence Duerr shared his recollections of early Louisville and much of what I share here is from his memories. He was 80 years old when he wrote down his memories and shared them with family.

A Bit of the Family Tree

Lawrence Duerr was the grandson of Christian Duerr and Mary Ann Huber. His grandmother Mary Ann was the daughter of Jacob Huber , and the sister of George John Huber the husband of Great Aunt Minnie Moessinger, our great grandmother Louise’s sister. George and Mary Ann Huber were children of Jacob  and Mary M Huber.

Christian Duerr was born May 7, 1841 in Wittenburg, Germany and came to America October 12, 1864. From there he went to Dayton, Ohio where his brother Gottleib lived.  Mary Ann was born Feb 2, 1846 in Greenville, Ohio and she married Christian in 1866. They migrated to Nebraska in 1869 arriving at Plattsmouth April 9, 1869. They settled a mile south of where the town of Louisville is situated. It was in the vicinity of where our Blum family eventually settled. As a mater of fact, Aunt Minnie was the one that told Grandpa Andrew about the land he eventually bought and settled on.  Next door lived Mary Ann’s uncle Captain J T A Hoover. Captain Hoover moved from Ohio to Nebraska around 1857 with an account of $325.

Jacob Huber and Captain Hoover were brothers, Jacob keeping the German spelling and Captain Hoover taking on the English spelling. Jacob and Captian Hoover owned the land where Louisville now sits. Captain Hoover played an instrumental role in bringing the B &O Railroad to the area and they gave the railroad 1/3 of the town lots to lay out a town and establish a station there. Captain Hoover built the first house in the city of Louisville, Nebraska.

Jacob Huber’s family consisted of two sons, George and Phillip, and four daughters, Mary Ann, Kate, Caroline, and Christina.

Christian and Mary Ann had four children, George born in Ohio, Philip, Lucy, and Anna, the latter three born in Louisville, Nebraska.

Philip married Anna Bell Leddy of South Bend. they had three children, John, Stella, and Charles.

Anna Duerr married John Leddy also of South Bend and they had one daughter, Della. They later divorced.

Lucy married Martin Zaar of South Bend and they had one adopted daughter, Florence. Florence was the first wife of our Great Uncle Martin Blum (grandmother Marie’s brother).

George Duerr married Rosanna Hartman of Chapman, Nebraska and they had two children, Lawrence and Ruth.

Lawrence Duerr first married Elsie Stulken of Selby, South Dakota. Elsie Frances Stulken (2nd cousin 1x removed)  was born Feb 2, 1911 in Gleichen, Alberta, Canada to Henry and Anna Marie Huber (1st cousin 2x removed) . Anna Marie was the daughter of our Great Aunt Minnie Moesinger and husband George Huber. ( Are you confused yet? ) After Elsie’s death Lawrence married Elda Thieman (1st cousin  1x removed.) Elda was the daughter of  Ida Blum (sister to Grandmother Marie)  and Herman Thieman.

Lawrence and Elsie had three children (third cousins), Marie Anne, Marlene, and Gail.

MEMORIES of LAWRENCE DUERR

BIRTH 15 OCT 1910  Louisville, Cass, Nebraska, United States

DEATH 16 JUL 1997  Riverview Cemetery, Cass Co, Louisville, NE

written in 1991

Elda and Lawrence Duerr
Elda and Lawrence Duerr

“My early recollections of Louisville are pretty fair, but not guaranteed one hundred percent.  On the East side of Main Street, the Drake Hotel, the Currier Newspaper print shop, Wm Keecklow’s Blacksmith Shop, next- a small building (probably a cream station). Ben Hoover’s Jewelry and Watch Repair. Another building housed a shoe repair shop, a restaurant, Wm. Dier’s General Store and Blake’s Drugstore. Across the street going North was Kraft’s Store, a Saloon, Pankonin’s Implement Store, Edgar Pankonin’s Repair Shop, another building that housed a sort of variety store, Frank Buckman’s Bakery and Bob McCarty’s home.

The West side of Main Street going South isn’t as clear. One building called the Ontario House, must have been a boarding house. It stood where the Laundromat stands today. There were 2 more building that I don’t know what was in them. The the old Joyland Theater, then a row of small frame building. Next a building that housed the Post Office after 1914, next was Ossenkop’s General Store and then the Bank of Commerce. Across the street North was a hardware store ran by a man named Dorsey. He also was Postmaster in 1913 and maybe 1914. Next was Stander and Stander Hardware and Furniture Store. Frank Nichol’s General Store, Frank Johnson’s Restaurant, Bob McCarty’s Saloon, Ed Twiss’ Meat Market, and the telephone office, and  Metz Saloon. I have no recollection of the next 2 building, Dr. Worthman’s office was on the corner. Across the street south was the Star Livery Barn.

Stander and Stander sold gasoline. It first was kept in a barrel in the back yard. It was carried out and poured in your car from a can and funnel. Later they installed the first gas pump in town. A bowser ratchet pump that put out a gallon at a stroke. Gas pumped increased fast in town. At one time there were 8 pumps in town. There were 7 left in 1950, now I guess one can’t even get a tire repaired in town.

The folks would go to town about once a week to get the mail and some groceries, such as flour , sugar, coffee, etc. At those times a farm was almost self sufficient. They produced their own meat, canned vegetable, fruit, milk and butter.

Louisville at that time had 3 general merchandise stores that sold groceries and dry goods and clothing. There was a meat market also, that sold meat and meat products. In those times, many people in town kept a mild cow. Some boys had the chore of taking the cows to pasture every morning and bringing them in again at night. More affluent fold kept a driving horse and buggy. Sometimes father and mother would go to Omaha to shop. We would drive the horse and buggy to the livery barn where they would take care of the horse, and take us to the train depot. When the train came back in late afternoon, the livery rig would be there to pick us up. When we got up town, the horse was hitched up and ready to go- all for about a dollar and sometimes less. A livery right could also be rented by the hour or day.

Life was simpler in those times. Everyone wasn’t running madly hither and yon. Oh yes, there were busy times, like harvest time, when getting the harvest done, like getting wheat and other small grain in the shock and then threshing time were a a few hectic days; but people helped one another, if it took a day or so longer at one place, the crew finished it up- no one thought of overtime or extra pay!

The farm ladies of the neighborhood all tried to out do one another feeding the crew. The usual crew was 15 or 20 men. As soon as I was big enough to spit over my bib, it seems I had my little chores to do, such as feeding and watering chickens and bring in corn cobs and wood for Mom’s cook stove. Didn’t seem to hurt me. At that time we were to start to school at seven years, but we had whooping cough that summer and the school board decided I was to stay home as I might give it to the other kids. Father bought me some books. Although I was already able to read and write, on stormy days my father would come in the house and he and mom would talk and I listened. He got a slate and pencil and taught me arithmetic and writing so by the time I was five years old, I could read and write. The first year I went to school, I took 3 grades and I took the 5th and 6th grades in one year- so I didn’t spend a lot of time in school- 8 grades in 5 years. In those days a high school education wasn’t considered necessary to farm, but who in the hell said I wanted to farm! That’s all water over the dam now. I fooled them all- I think that I got myself a fair education.

I have lived in a time of great change. I remember when an automobile was considered to be a well, to do man’s toy. There were few roads fit to drive them on and the fabric tires of that time were not too good. A thousand miles was considered good. After WWI they started to improve the roads and the cord tire appeared. Also anti freeze was unknown before 1927. the first gravel was put on the roads in this area in 1924. I can remember the special election to vote on Bonds to gravel the road out each way from Louisville, to the precinct line. A hue and cry went up it wouldn’t work and wasn’t worth the price. The bond issue carried and it wasn’t so bad after all, and more roads were graded and graveled. By 1932 or 1933 most main roads were graveled. Before 1914 not everyone had a telephone. It took years to get lines extended. The first electric lights appeared in Louisville in 1915. Before that, kerosene lamps were the source of light, except for a few gasoline lighting systems and a few carbide gas plants- really they were acetylene gas lights. By 1920, gasoline engine powered generators were beginning to appear. The generators kept a bank of large batteries charged, usually 32 volts. They furnished electricity for lights and motors to run washers and pump water. We even had a 32 volt iron. We would charge batteries at least once a week. I acquired a plant about 1937 and used it until the High Line came about, thanks to R.E.A.

Radio came into general use in the 1920’s. Some of the first ones were crystal sets. We listened with ear phones and had one that worked real well. They cost nothing to operate. By 1926 I had a 5 tube super- hetrodyne set with a loud speaker.  Television became the thing in the 1950’s. The early sets were quite cantankerous. Horse and mule power powered agriculture until the late thirties when the row crop tractors attained a degree of efficiency. For cultivating row crops, up until the 1920’s- steam traction engines were used mostly for powering threshers, corn sheller, etc. They were too ungainly for most field work. The first gas and oil burning tractors were awkward but they were improved rapidly, lighter and faster. I had a 1924 McCormick Deering 15-30 and a three bottom plow. I plowed several thousand acres with it as there weren’t any around. With a team and one row cultivator, one could cultivate 5 or 6 acres of corn a day. With the farm all row crop and 2 row cultivator, one could cultivate 20 or more acres a day.

When I got to be 21 years old, I got elected to the Dist. 86 School Board and served continuous for 21 years.Then in 1946 I was elected Justice of the Peace for 1 term. That’s where the nickname “Judge” came from.  My father told of the grasshopper plague of the 1880’s when they came it was like a cloud. When they left, they had eaten everything that was green and how everything had to be hauled from Plattsmouth before the railroad was built. When they got the first reaper, then they could raise more than 5 acres of grain. Before that, it was cut with a cradle. I don’t remember how long it took to cut an acre of grain with a cradle, but I bet it took more than one day. After the reaper came the binder that tied the grain into bundles with twine.  The first ones gave a lot of trouble. My father made an improvement on the Knotter that hasn’t been changed today. Knotters are still used on hay balers.  International Harvester paid him $25 for the idea. The corn was picked by hand and a good husker could pick 100 bushels a day and some could pick more. But I couldn’t do it. Seventy five bushels was my limit. As the corn picker was developed, a tractor mounted picker could pick 600 bushels an hour. However, they grind up the corn cobs.

Back to myself again…by and large, I had an enjoyable childhood. Even dangerous sometimes…for instance when when I was 6 1/2 years old I poured kerosene on a bed of live coals and blew up the stove and got fried GOOD! I out grew 995 of the scars but I still have a few. My father had a box of about a dozen new door locks. I got into them and took them apart…of course..I couldn’t put them back together again. Father told mother “that kid is like a grasshopper-into everything!”

I was always a curious brat, very few things escaped my attention. Like all boys, I wanted a gun, but no dice. Finally when I was old enough, father said ‘there’s the shot gun, go hunting”. I shot once, it kicked like a mule, I went back home and never took it again!

When I was 3 years old, my father bought a Model T Ford car. It was some treat to ride in an automobile. That one, like most cars of it’s time, had acetylene gas head lamps. Two carriage style lamps mounted on the cowl burned kerosene as did the tail lamp. When winter came, autos of that era were usually jacked up, partly because to drive in the cold weather boiling water was poured into the radiator to help in starting. On arrival of where ever you were going, the water was drained until you were ready to go home. Anti Freeze didn’t come on the market until the late twenties and that was alcohol based that evaporated badly. Some tried glycerin in the radiators before but it would seep out and also turn the consistency of spaghetti.  Father kept that car until 1922-an old gentleman, Noah Stafford always wanted to buy it. He finally must have mad an offer that Pop couldn’t turn down, as the man’s son-in-law came home from town with us and took the car back. By that time we had a telephone and father called the Ford dealer at Weeping Water and told him to bring a new car over. Needless to say, he was there in less than an hour. It was possibly one of the easiest sales ever made. That was a good car and an uptown job-electric lights, electric starter, demountable rims and a spare tire.

In 1913 Father also traded his Edison Cylinder Record Phonograph on a new new Victrola. I still have it and it plays as good as ever. Seventy seven years is a long time for something like that to la

st.

We had an eight acre orchard. Mostly summer apples. Once in a while father would ship a carload, but usually there wasn’t too much a market for summer apples. Wind falls that fell in deep grass were given away and picked off the tree, 10 cents per bushel. We had a large cider mill. People would come and make cider by the jug full. One neighbor would come every summer with the whole family and make 2 barrels of cider for vinegar. As I got older, I wondered at the amount of vinegar they used. I imagine some of it ended up as Hard Cider with a kick like a mule.

When I got big enough to run a walking plow, Pop didn’t hire a man for fall plowing. I thought, O Boy, I’m a man now! Running a walking plow isn’t hard work. Just walking and having a hold on the handles. We had 60 acres or so to plow every fall. With 2, 16 inch plows! In later years I figured how far one walks to plow 1 acres with a 16 inc plow-about 7 1/2 miles! To give the horses a rest, we would stop and put up prairie hay, fill the hay mow in the barn and make a couple of big stacks outside. Then came wheat seeding time and then corn picking. I never had to pick much corn. Everyone tried to get through by Thanksgiving. Also when I went to school, all of the big boys and some girls got at least 2 weeks off to pick corn. Wouldn’t that cause a consternation now!!

At Thanksgiving time a program of music, song and mabe a stage play ws put on at the school house. In those days the school house was more or less the center of social activity for the neighborhood. Sometimes we had a box supper at the school house. Ladies and girls would fix up a pretty box with lunch for two and they were auctioned off. Some of the fellow would pay a good price to get to eat with his girl. Then there were house parties once in a while, or maybe a dance. I played for dances but never learned to dance. Life was simpler then and entertainment was a lot cheaper too.

The late teens and early twenties was and era of good times. Sporty roadsters with rumble seats, girls bobbed their hair, put on lots of make up and work short skirts – it was called the Flapper Era. The general conduct was called scandalous by the more prim members of society – but everyone seemed to survive and most turned out as pretty good people.

 

On September 23, 1923, a flood hit Louisville and drowned 13 people.  One was never found. Water was counter deep in the stores, damage was extensive.  Surprisingly, a few people seemed to know about it.  I have a set of pictures of the flood.
October 1929 herald the start of the Great Depression.  Panic on Wall Street, bank failures, millions were out of work, farm prices dropped and in 1930 and 31, the depression deepened.  Some turned their pockets inside out and called them Hoover flags.  To make matters worse, the drought of the 1930’s set in- with dust storms-sometimes we lit lamps at noon.  The sky was dark with dust.  In 1932, Franklin Roosevelt was elected President.  he instituted some reforms – WPA, to make work.  The pay wasn’t much but it helped people to retain some dignity.  Prices remained low on what crops escaped the drought.  The Kellogg Co. was offering 13 cents a bushel for corn.  Hogs sold for as little as 2 cents per pound.  I sold 400 pound hogs for eight dollars each.  Twenty five dollars would buy a good milk cow, if you had twenty five dollars.  After 1936 it started raining again and conditions got better.  Corn got to 45 cents then WWII came along and there were plenty of things to fret about-food and gasoline rationing along with tire rationing!  They imposed a 35 MPH speed limit.  It was enforced.  If you were caught speeding you could lose your 3 gallon per week, gas or your tires, or both!  The war put thousands back to work making planes and munitions.  Of course, after the war, there was great demand for goods of all kinds.
By 1947, i was repairing things for others anyway, so went at it full time and stayed at it for 40 years.  I worked for Pankonin’s Implement Co. for five years and worked nights and weekends at home.  I still do some, but prefer wood work.
Just for old times sake, I have a Grocery ad of June 10, 1939.
Sugar 10# cloth bag………..49 cents
Four 49# bag………………..98 cents
peaches 2 1/2# can..two for 25 cents
corn flakes ..2 large boxes ..19 cents
pork chops ……………………10 cents per #
Candy bars…………………3 for 10 cents
Coffee………………………..17 cents
About that time we would take a case of eggs to town–12 cents a dozen.  Another thing I forgot to mention was early refrigerators and the winter ice harvest.  Jim Hoover had an ice house that supposedly held 100 tons.  He would peddle ice in town all summer.  father made an ice house and put up ice.  It usually lasted most of the summer.  An ice box as they were called, didn’t keep it too cold; about 40 degrees at best.  Folks that had a dug well would hang cream and butter down in the well.  Then there were ice-less coolers for sale.  A hole was dug 8 to 10 feet deep and this metal tube was set in it.  Containers were lowered into it with a rope on a crank.  We had a large refrigerator that held 100 pounds of ice and had a water cooler built in.
To beat the summer heat, some folks built summer kitchens to cook in and then carried the food into the house.
Those were the good old days that are talked about!  Some were not so good but people survived.  The only thing that can be said for them is that life was a lot simpler and probably people were just as happy then as they are now.  Would I live them over?  Sure thing, only I would want a few changes; although I can’t think of what they would be.  I have enjoyed life immensely.  While I am at it, I might as well mention that I did go to music school.  That is the only thing that I have the papers to prove that I learned!”
Lawrence Duerr
Special thank you to Lawrence for keeping us informed on what “history” really was.  I hope you enjoyed todays read and if so, please leave me a comment at the bottom of the page. If you have memories you would like to share…I’d love to hear it.
No copyright infringement intended.
Happy Hunting
The Pierce Family Historian

I Remember Grandma

Grandmothers are special. There is no doubt about that, and some take on the role with a heartwarming zeal. Grandmother’s have lived through hardships and arrive at old age with a wisdom that supercedes all others. No one can take a grandmother’s place in your heart. I love to remember Grandma and am sorry that I was not able to spend more time with her before she passed, to ask more questions, and to know her more deeply. One thing that is for sure, Grandma loved us, and there was never any doubt about that.

Before my Grandmother Marie (Blum) Pierce passed, she left us a little writing I would like to share with you. She titled it:

I RECALL

by Marie Pierce

I remember the day Mother was raking hay and the horses run away and she came with hair hanging down clothes all ragged.  She had been drug behind the rake sometime before she got loose, was bare foot, lost her shoes. Was all back and blue and how scared we were and cried.

I also remember the prairie fires. How Dad would have to plow a furrow guard. No wonder I have nightmares.

Grandma Mossinger

This is what stands out in my mind most of all. We were getting dinner. Had put on a big granite pan of potatoes on the stove to cook. It was one of those which was smaller at the bottom then and big around at the top, and didn’t set on the stove very good as we always took off the lid and set them down next to it so to get done faster.

She no doubt went to check to see if they were done and the kettle tipped and hot water poured out onto her leg. Don’t remember if both legs or just one and she was bedfast for sometime. It just didn’t heal so someone said a lamb manure poltice should be good.  Talbotts had lambs so we got some manure from them and tried it, but she then had a stroke and was sometime before she passed away.

Ida postponed her wedding until after she passed away. It seems Ernest was home. Maybe he was going to Taxidermist School in Omaha then and was just home a few days. It seems it was he who told of her being delirious and trying to climb the walls.

I just don’t seem to remember much about her prior to that. Have been trying to bring something back. That was such a tragic thing. I would have been 10 years. old.  We were bed pals.

GRANDMA’s PRAYER

Ich bin klein (I am small or little)

Nein Herz ist rein (My heart is clean or pure)

Sell Niemand darin wohnen (shall not therein dwell or live)

Als Jesus allein Amen (Save Jesus alone)

 

And we always said the Lord’s Prayer in German and I still do to this day.

 

 

Who will take care of Grandma?

A mother can make room for 10 children but not one of those 10 can make room for one mother.  God gave us his blessing and she lived to be 89.

THE KEEPER OF GRANDMA

Who will take care of Grandma. Who will it be?

All of us want her, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Lets call a meeting. Lets gather the clan:

in such a big family there’s certainly one.

Who’s willing to get her a place in the sun.

Strange how we thought she’d never give out,

But see how she walks, arthritic no doubt.

When people grow older- they become such a care.

She must have a home, the question is where?

Remember the days when she used to be spry.

Baked her own cookies and made her own pie’s?

Helped with our lessons, tended our seams,

Kissed away troubles, and mended our dreams.

Wonderful Grandma we all loved you so,

Isn’t it dreadful there’s no place to go?

Just one little corner is all she would need.

A shoulder to cry on, her Bible to read.

What nobody want her? Yes there is one,

where she won’t have to worry, wander or doubt,

and she won’t be our problem to worry about.

Pretty soon now the Lord will give her a bed,

But who’ll dry our tears, when Grandma is dead?

(I found this in a scrapbook of Grandma Marie’s after her death. I don’t know who wrote it.)

 

I REMEMBER GRANDMA

by Susan Pierce 2010

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Grandma, is the time we went to visit her in Omaha where she lived with her brother Martin. I recall that she had baked sticky pecan rolls that she had just taken from the oven in anticipation of our visit.

During this visit Daddy took us all to the big new mall for a shopping spree. Being a bunch of contry kids in the big city you might imagine our excitement. We split up, the girls were  to stay together and the boys were suspose to stay together. I imagine we had a meeting place and time though it doesn’t stand out. When we all got together we were missing my brother Cliff. He was about four or five at the time. Mom, Dad, Charline, and Jeff went in search with the help of the mall officers. Grandma and I took the rest of the kids to the car. In all the excitement Grandma accidently shut the babies fingers in the car door. After a two hour search and the malls closing, Clifford was found. His explanation was that he got into a big box that went up and down. During the search someone stole all the purchases that mother had made.

By the time the family all made it back to the car we had lost all day light. Grandma directed dad to the freeway and we got lost and drove for hours before we found our way back to Grandma’s. Once there we made up beds in the attic. There was all kinds of neat stuff up there.

I remember hearing sirens from ambulances nearby. Where we came from that was a rare thing.

Another memory perhaps one of my earliest memories of Grandma was when my mothers brothers were killed in a car accident in December of 1961, Grandma came to stay with us as my mother needed to be with her family. We lived on the farm south of Narka, Kansas. The weather was cold, Charline and Jeff were in school, and Grandma was trying to entertain Henry and I with coloring books. Henry and I were having a contest to see who could color Grandma the prettiest picture. I got my feelings hurt somehow and took mine to the upstairs determined to color Grandma the prettiest picture in the whole world. Grandma sent Henry to tell me to come downstairs saying it was too cold up there. I refused, and she finally came to get me. I resisted by sitting down on the top of the stairs and she pushed me one step at a time down the stairs with her foot. I remember being really mad at her, but we made up as she fixed my hair and tied the sash on my dress as we prepared for visitors.

I remember Grandma trying to get me to take a nap when I was about five. I didn’t want to so she’d say “Come and lay with me awhile, I need a nap.” I’d lay there and the next thing I know I’m waking up and she was gone.

When we lived in Byron, Nebraska Grandma would visit the neighbor women and talk to them in German. She always dressed up to go to the store. I never understood that as we were country kids and there wasn’t much to dress up for where we lived aside from church on Sunday.

One time while visiting, she took it upon herself to change all the beds. She couldn’t figure out how to run the washing machine so decided to wash the sheets by hand in the kitchen sink. Boy was my mom mad when she came home! There were nine of us and we all had our own beds. We didn’t wash all the sheets at once or we didn’t have enough to remake all the bed.s

Not too long before Grandma died she visited Mom and Dad in Missouri. Mom went to her shop and left Grandma at the house. When Mom came back several hours later she heard water running and she found the faucet in the bathroom had been left turned on full blast. When she told Grandma, her reply was “What a Woman!”  (this has become a family reply when we do something not so smart!)

When I had my first child, who only lived one short day, Grandma wrote me a letter of love, this still comes to mind, she apologized for not being able to be with me. Upon the arrival of my second son it was Grandma who commented “he has Venus` eyes.”

When Jack and I were married we made a special trip to Murdock, Nebraska to get Grandma for the wedding. On the way home a bird flew into the windshield of the car and out of reflex, Jack covered his face. Grandma laughed about it for miles.

The first time Grandma saw me smoking she exclaimed “Oh, you’ve learned to smoke.” I was about 16. She never said another word about it.

Grandma was my biggest help when it came to uncovering the family tree. She put me in touch with Uncle Martin who helped me a lot, and it was at her funeral that I met Herbert Blum, my dad’s cousin, we fast became friends and much of what I know from the Blum side of the family came from the two of them.

One time when Grandma was visiting Aunt Carol, Jack and I went to visit with her and took her out to dinner. I was so surprized when she said she wanted pizza and beer. (she was about 85). I told my mom and she said “Well, she is a German!”

Grandma always encouraged me when it came to my religious training and I recall how she voiced her pride in me when I was baptized and confirmed into the Lutheran church. Until her death, I did not know she was Lutheran.

She was very proud of her grand children and her great grand children.

 

I REMEMBER GRANDMA

by Mike McKenzie 2010

Dennis Pierce, Mike, Karen, Ellen McKenzie

My favorite story about Grandma involves a fishing trip. I don’t remember how old I was, probably 4 or 5. There is a picture in the family album…mom has it.

Grandma packed a lunch in a wicker basket and we headed back to the creek NW of her house on the farm near Reynolds. I remember it was a hot sticky day. We were there for hours with no luck. Grandma was using her cane pole. She lifted her bobber out of the water and said “Lets try one more place.” She lowered her line next to a log and almost immediately she hooked a fish. The cane pole was no match for the fish and broke. I can vividly remember her fighting the fish and pulling him in hand over hand talking to him as she did.

She knocked him in the head with a hatchet, pushed a stick through the gills and had me carry it back. At the time the fish seemed huge but the pictures show it to be about 5 lbs. The folks were waiting for us when we returned. They were wondering where we were but not worried because Grandma could always take care of herself.

This is how I remember Grandma: Tough self sufficient, caring, do anything for anybody, and make the best of a situation. She always looked for the good in people. I think of her often and have told Linda many stories about Grandma. Linda is the new woman in my life. She likes Oregon so we plan on making a trip out there in the next few months. Maybe we’ll stop and say HI.

 

Mike McKenzie

I REMEMBER GRANDMA 

by Dennis Pierce 2010

Grandma with great grandson Soan Snyder

Grandma Marie Pierce

After Grandpa Pierce died, he died too soon for me to see him, but he was a good worker and a good man from all the stories I heard.

Grandma Pierce was always busy doing and making things. She lived in her trailer for quite some time and always seemed happy making the best of each day. She stayed in pretty good health right up until when she died.

We all miss her.

Dennis and Loralie Pierce

 

I REMEMBER GRANDMA 

By  Karen McKenzie Lewis Lehr

I have so many lovely memories of Grandma: picking daisies, hot steaming rolls out of the oven, warm fuzzy slippers at Christmas time, listening to German lullibies, and her soft hands.

But the most touching memory I have of Grandma, which still brings tears to my eyes, occurred in January, 1974.  My first child, Melanie, was 2 weeks old. We drove to Belleville, Kansas to visit my parents and Grandma Pierce. Grandma hadn’t seen Melanie yet. Melanie was all bundled up as it was very cold.

When I carried her into the house, Grandma was sitting in the living room so I walked over and said “Here is your great-grandaughter, Melanie Marie.” Grandma took her gently, and slowly unwrapped the little bundle of blankets.  As she finished, she held Melanie up to her, gave her a hug and said quietly, almost reverently, “I never thought I’d live to see the day I’d hold my daughter’s daughter’s daughter.

The room was totally quiet as Grandma held Melanie. She counted her toes, smoothed down her wild red hair and spoke quietly, privately to her new great granddaughter.

Watching Grandma get acquainted with Melanie touched me in such a wonderful and emotional way, that it still holds a special place in my heart as one of my most special memories of Grandma Pierce.

 

Dear Susan,

Here is the article you requested about Grandma Pierce. Sorry that it took me so long to write it. It was a very difficult task for me because of the strong emotions behind it. I still cry when I think about Grandma. Having to write about my memories of her, forced me to get out of the denial stage that Grandma was actually gone.

Best of luck with your project. I’d really appreciate a copy of your finished memoirs.

Sincerely,

Karen McKenzie Lehr

THATS ALL FOLKS

Thanks for sharing this tribute to my Grandmother Marie Blum Pierce.

It’s amazing how we  we all have different memories, and things that come to mind when we start thinking of our grandparents. What kind of things do you remember about your grandparents? I’d love to hear your stories.  I wonder what will come to mind when my grandchildren think of me? One hundred years from now…what do you think your ancestors will want to know about you?

Tell your grandchildren stories…what it was like when you were growing up, how you feel about things, what is important to you. It is how you live on in the hearts of your grandchildren.

Happy Hunting!

The Pierce Family Historian

 

The ESCAPE? More on the Blum Family

Today I’m going to share with you a bit more info on the Blum Family.. If you remember from the previous post on the Blums there was mention of a Carl Schurz….that little bit of information will come into play in this post.

During the Baden Rebellion, my great grandmother, Louise Moesinger Blum closely followed all news about Carl Schurz. She told her son Martin (my great uncle) that her father, George “Carl” Moesinger (b 21 Mar 1826, Germany d. 8 Jul 1866 Baden Germany) had escaped to America or South America. All of the succeeding years, Martin researched for more information about his grandfather. He scanned Schurz’s auto biography (three volumes) in hope to find a trace of him.  He felt perhaps he might find him among the civil war veterans as he was a lieutenant in the Prussian Army.

In 1983 Martin visited Germany with his brother William resolved to continue his research. He visited kin of his mother. They too believed that Carl had escaped to America, and knew nothing of grandfather.  Carl had escaped the battle ground and returned to the native village of Kondringen. Mum was the word in the village. He could carry on the business of innkeeper. His father, Johann George Moesinger was innkeeper before him and stayed on as butcher. They were relatively well to do and prosperous.

The  Inn still stands. It was built in 1550 and Rebstock was it’s name. Within a stone’s throw was the Blum home. It was built in 1814 by Andreas  “Andrew”  Blum who was born Nov 28,  1782 in Kondringen, Germany. A.B. 1814 is carved above the door. His grave stone is in the wall around the cemetery though the year of his death, April 14 1847 was not legible.  The house at that time was occupied by Martin’s first cousin Fritz Blum, his son Alfred and Alfred’s wife Emmi.

While there, in Germany, Martin visited the parsonage next to the Rebstock. There all records were complete. The parson had adequate forewarning and Martin had made clear that he wanted to know what happened to his grandfather George “Carl ” Moesinger. He had met with the preacher early in his visit and found him fully prepared. This is the day Martin learned that his grandfather was buried July 8, 1866.

“Impossible!” he exploded

Many thoughts raced through his mind as the preacher reread from the church records. ” Carl Mossinger—Rebstock innkeeper was buried July 8, 1866.

Between 1866 and 1881 were very trying years for the Mossinger (pronounced Maysinger) family. That included Martin’s grandmother Caroline (Jenne) Mossinger (b 16 Aug 1822 Germany d. 4 Jun 1905 South Bend, Nebraska) , great grandfather, perhaps his uncle Adolf who was 18 years of age in 1866, and successively the younger children, Aunt Minnie, Aunt Caroline, Uncle Gustav, Uncle Emil and his mother , Louise, who was six years old.

The family was literally held hostage. The Rebstock was commandeered for the purpose of spreading the net for the capture of Carl. At Carl’s disappearance his wife  most fervently hoped and prayed for his successful escape. It would have been simple to escape into Switzerland as many other had escaped before including Carl Schurz of whom I have written earlier. It was even possible to escape into France which required crossing the Rhine River.

In 1866 Prussia was at war with Austria. Carl could have reached Austria through Wurttemberg whose provincial king sided with Austria.

The family hated and mistrusted the military people who occupied the whole second floor of the Inn. They made the second larger room upstairs a court room. It is reasonable to expect that the family may not have believed reports that Carl was slain.

Profits fell from the first floor of the inn and also from the slaughter house and meat market. This property was adjacent to the inn and operated by Carl’s father Johann. Taxes were immediately raised as the grand duke was out to confiscate the property obviously.

In 1867, foreclosure was begun. Naturally, court house records make the foreclosure appear like an ordinary foreclosure. Those records unmistakably reveal the occupation of the inn entrance and the second floor by the military.

In 1870, Prussia was at war with France. The proximity of the Rhine, the border between the two countries, caused all people on both sides constant fear and concern.

In 1881, a buyer was found for all the property including that of Johann Mossinger. Louise at the age of 21 emigrated from Germany.

The first chapter of our Blum/Mossinger family history may be concluded at this point.

However one point is missing…how did Andrew Blum get to America? He never dwelt on the past. His was a three word slogan, “ALWAYS STRAIGHT AHEAD.” Hence, he never dwelt on the past. Martin looked at records kept by the Mormon Church for clues.  All he could offer was a guess that his dad boarded a steamer in Europe and stoked coal in those fires that generated the steam for motors to propel the ship. We much recall that Andrew had a strong well muscled back.  Polk’s city directories list him as a maltster for breweries in Council Bluffs and Omaha. (since Martins visit to Germany ship records have been found)

He had worked in Cincinnati brewers and New York as he migrated westward. That he was physically able to fire steamer engines we are certain.

In 1900 Andrew saw an 80 acre farm near South Bend, Nebraska. The plentiful water, the fruit trees, the grape vinyard, even the hills were too much for him. Nostalgia and sentiment carried him back to his native Baden home. He had always claimed South Dakota was too like a soap bubble. You could have a bumper crop in the fields to be “burst” by hail, drought and grasshopper. He parted with his sheep, two 160 acre tracts in South Dakota, at a loss,  and brought his family to Nebraska.

In the summer of 1935, at the age of 84, he still hoed his vineyard. He used a nigger hoe which was heavier and larger than our common hoe. That hoe derived it’s name because purportedly slaves were forced to use them in cotton and tobacco fields.

The day that Martin and his brother William “Bill” were in the parsonage, Martin mentioned that according to legend Carl Schurz had frequently visited the Rebstock. The pastor instantly recognized that he had a newsworthy story. Carl Schurz is now propagandized as a heoic ‘freedom fighter.” We are told that military establishments are now named after him.

As a result, Bill and Martin were photographed on the steps to the parsonage. A newspaper article was written in the Freiburg newspaper with their pictures.

Blum Brothers in Germany

The paper reads:

In the years from 1852 till 1875 the population of Kondringen has dropped about 120 people. The miseries in the country , the people’s wishes of adventure, and political aspects were the reasons why many men and women left their home and went to the USA. Tow of the people who wanted to find a happines in the USA were Andreas Blum and Louise Mosinger. They went to the USA in 1876. Two of their sons were in Germany recently to visit their relations and to look for the home of their parent; William Blum, 85 years old (left side) farmer in Plattsmouth, Nebraska and Martin Blum, 78 years old, a trader of houses and fields in Omaha, Nebraska. In spite of being very old the two men have a very good health. During their holiday they visited the house of the Parson to look in the old books of the church to see if they can find some dates of their relations. Both are speaking more or less good German lanuage. As they told, their mother lived in the Rebstock. Their parent told them from the famous “fighter for liberty” Carl Schurz who visited the Rebstock very often. Carl Schurz was together with Hecker and Sturve one of the main famous people in the revolution of 1848/49.

(translation of Martina from Kondringen)

Martin Blum
1905–1989
BIRTH 8 MAR 1905 • South Bend, Nebraska
DEATH 7 JAN 1989 • Omaha, Nebraska

Special Thank You to my great uncle Martin Blum for having the foresight to save what he knew about the family and hand it down to someone who cares to keep the History alive for generations to come.

I hope you are all enjoying the history. If yes, leave me a message. If you have information that I’m not aware of please share with me as I share with you!

Thanks for reading!

Happy Hunting!

Your Pierce (and Blum) family Historian

Susan Pierce Holmes!

 

 

LOOKING FOR CLUES- Your Research

When you first get started in your search for family you will most like be going off word of mouth from other family relation, but as you get deeper into your lineage you will begin looking for clues in every thing you come across. I’m going to show you a few ways to become a detective when you are looking for clues.

BRINGING OUT THE DETECTIVE

Looking through old family letters just might give you tons of clues. Here is an example of one I have read over and over. Each time a new clue seems to pop out at me. It’s probably one of the most favorite in my collection as there is so much to question, also a perfect example as to things to look for.

Not only is it interesting to read…it is full of things to consider.

  • How many questions come up for you as you read through this?
  • What stands out especially?
  • Where would you go from here?

 

 

LOOKING FOR CLUES

Now is the time for the questions to hit you. I’m going to point out to you some of the clues I have gotten from this letter.

First take a look at the heading.

Translated from German in 1933 by a Lutheran minister. Does this give us a clue that the person writing it or perhaps the family is Lutheran?

We received the original letter from my husband’s Uncle Pius Bloom. 

Would you search for Pius Bloom in Fostoria, Ohio?

Her husbands uncle? So who was her husband?

We know from this he was the Grandson of William Blum.

Where and when did the name change from Blum to Bloom?

The letter was written in 1854.  This gives us a timeline to look for.  Fremont? Is there a Fremont, Ohio?

The Dear Parents, brothers, and sisters is another clue as to whom the letter was to. He apparently still had brothers and sisters as well as his parents in Germany.  So we search for William’s parents and siblings to find our answers.

Who was brother “WILL”? Further down in the paragraph is the reference to Uncle Will! Another clue that there is a brother Will, and an Uncle Will.

We also learn from this paragraph that he traveled from New York to Erie. Could this be a clue as to where to start our search?

Who is this Inn Keeper? Is it a friend or relative? Should it be something investigated? The Inn Keeper is in Baden…another clue as to location.

Now on page two we see that they are to travel to New York and stay at the German Inn. Too bad we don’t know the location of that, but one might be able to find it by searching directories.  Wouldn’t we love to see the telegraph with the name of the ship and captain.  Did you know they would be able to cook on the ship? We see here that Wilhelm will be picking them up. Is this Uncle Will? Who is Friedrich Keller? A friend? a relative?

Here it says brother Wilhelm.  Brother of the Father?

AHH a clue to where Fremont is…Sandusky County.

Rosina? a wife, a sister, a neighbor, a relative?

Friedrich Keller”s address. Lets check that out with a search. Remember we are searching in the year 1854. What were the conditions at that time?

Now this last paragraph on page 2  gives us all kinds of info to wonder about.  Are these people friends? or family? Many times family married neighbors…it’s always something to check out, and it greatly adds to your story.

Here we have more names to query. In my search I find that Pius Bloom was the son of Charles A Bloom who married Elizabeth Danker, and Charles was the son of William Blum.  Also now we have information that Elizabeth  was employed by Jacob Taur in Buschenfingen.

SAVE THE LETTER!

So, you can see just from reading through an old letter how much information can be gained. SAVE the letters as you never know when you might want to go back and read them.

I scan all of my letters and put them in the gallery in my tree under the names of who wrote them, who they were written too, and if anyone is mentioned in the letter I save it there also. Then I put them in a plastic sleeve and store them in three ring binder with the authors info.

I hope this gives you a bit of insight into where to look for clues, and perhaps it will stir up a bit of the detective in you also! If it helped you at all please leave me a comment and I’m open always for questions!

Happy Hunting!

The Pierce Family Historian

A Genealogy Trip to South Dakota: researching your family tree

When researching your family tree one of the most exciting things to do is to visit the places that your ancestors lived. To stand on the soil that they stood, travel the same roads that they traveled and imagine what how different those areas were while they were living.

South Lake SD 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I recently took a little genealogy trip to South Dakota to do a bit of exploring in the area that my grandmother Marie Blum Pierce was born. My goal was to search out the homestead where she was born. Though I’m pretty sure we were in the area we were unable to locate it from the old platt map that I had. I did take the opportunity to visit the cemetry at White Lake and located the graves of several ancestors, namely William Blum who was the brother to my Great Grandfather Andrew, and Caroline Moessinger (pronounce maysinger) Blum (Williams wife) and sister to Andrews wife, Louise Moessinger Blum.

 

Karl Wilhelm “William” Blum
1848–1922
BIRTH 22 MAR 1848 • Köndringen, Emmendingen, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany
DEATH 20 SEP 1922 • White Lake, South Dakota
Caroline Mossinger
1853–1928
BIRTH 13 SEP 1853 • Koendringen, Germany
DEATH 22 AUG 1928 • South Dakota

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Located in White Lake, South Dakota

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blum family history begins with the Baden Rebellion of 1848. Baden was ruled autocratically by an individual. Wurttemberg was ruled by a king. People had nothing to say about political appointees. Taxes were levied partially. There was unrest all over central Europe and real hardship in Baden.

The largest flow of German immigration to America occurred between 1820 and World War I, during which time nearly six million Germans immigrated to the United States. From 1840 to 1880, they were the largest group of immigrants.

German Immigration to America increased significantly following the European Revolutions of 1848 within the German states in which rebels fought for unification of the German people. The failure of the revolutionists led to a wave of political refugees who fled to the United States, who became known as the Forty-Eighters. The Forty-Eighters helped to developed the beer and wine making industries in the US.

 

Andrew Blum
1851–1936
BIRTH 13 AUG 1851 • Landeck, Emmendingen, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany
DEATH 11 MAR 1936 • Trinity Cemetery, Murdock, Cass, Nebraska
great-grandfather

 

ANDREW BLUM

Andrew was born August 18, 1851 in Kondringen, Baden, Germany, to Karl and Marie Barbra (Schiller).  He lived in the home of his parents and aided them in their struggles until the age of twenty.  He then obtained work in a brewery where he remained until the year 1876, when he secured passage on a frieghter at the French Port of LeHarve at the age of 25. He shoveled coal for the boilers to produce steam to propel the ship.  The ship traveled by way of Africa before landing in New York City. Polk’s city directories list Andrew as a maltster for breweries in Council Bluffs and Omaha.  Andrews well muscled back aided him in getting work as a maltster in breweries.  A maltster, as explained by Andrew, is one who observed one of the brewing processes. It meant that even at 2 or 3 in the morning on occasion to move by scoop brew to prevent it from getting too hot. Visualize mounds of barley mixed with hops and moisture to start the fermentation process.  Andrew worked in breweries in New York, and Cincinnati as he migrated westward.  He worked in the Anheuser-Bush breweries in St. Louis, Missouri from the years 1876-1880.  He then traveld to the Omaha-Council Bluff area where he worked in the breweries as a maltster.

In 1880, when Andrew arrived in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area, He stayed at a boarding house where he met a man by the name of Adolf Storz.  Andrew taught him the fundamentals of the brewing business, with the use of malt, hops, barley, yeast, and water. From this friendship and the advice of Andrew, Adolf Storz started his own brewery which was named after him, the Storz Brewing Company.

 

WILLIAM AND CAROLINE (MOESSINGER) BLUM

In 1880 Andrew  sent money to Germany for his brother, William and his wife, Caroline (Moessinger), and their four children, Charles, Mary, Fred, and Lena, to come to America. Andrew purchased them a home in Omaha and helped William gain work in the brewery as a laborer.

Louise, Minnie, and Caroline

LOUISE MOESSINGER

In 1881 Andrew once again sent money to Germany.  This time  it was for Caroline’s sister, Louise Moessinger.  When Louise arrived in Council Bluffs, Iowa there was no one at the depot to meet her.  The slave traders offered to help her but instead took her to the auction block to sell her as domestic help.  Can you even imagine the releif she must have felt when Andrew arrived with the steamship ticket he had paid for to New York, and the rail passage ticket from New York to Council Bluffs?  Can you imagine being a young girl in a new country with a language barrier standing between you and your destiny?  I myself would have sit down and cried and perhaps she did.

Andrew and Louis were married 27 June 1881 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Their first child, a daughter, Ida was born 23 Jan 1882 in Omaha, Nebraska.

THE MOVE TO SOUTH DAKOTA

In 1882, Andrew and Louise, and his brother, William and Louise’s sister, Caroline, were among the first homesteaders to settle in Aurora County, South Dakota.  Andrew on a 160 acre tract of land.  William on another.  Subsequently Andrew acquired another 160 acres of land through a timber claim.

GUSTAV AND FREDRICKA (HODEL) BLUM

Successively in 1883 Andrews brother, Gustav Blum, to come to America. Gustav married Fredricka Hodel, 22 August 1883 in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa.

Gustav and his wife resided in the White Lake, South Dakota area until the summer of 1889, when they moved to Franklin, Kentucky.  In 1892, they relocated to Galena, Illinois, and resided there the rest of their days.

The winters were rough on the plains of South Dakota in the 1880’s.  Andrew and Louise returned to Omaha, Nebraska many winters where Andrew would work in the breweries as a maltster.
Andrew and Louise welcomed their second child, Ernest Blum who was born in Omaha, on March 1, 1884.  The family was boarded at the European Hotel, and Andrew was a maltster at the Metz Brewing Company.
Jacob Martin “Martin” Blum
1855–1919
BIRTH 17 MAY 1855 • Köndringen, Emmendingen, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany
DEATH 17 OCT 1919 • Galena, Jo Daviess, Illinois, United States
2nd great-uncle
MARTIN BLUM

In 1885, Andrew once again sent money to Germany for his brother Martin Blum and his wife Caroline (Hodel), a sister of Fredricka (Gustuv’s wife). Martin and Caroline were married 10 Feb 1881 in Kondringen, Baden, Germany. Andrew procured work for Martin at the Storz Brewing Company  in 1886 and Martin became a successful brewmaster at the plant.

Martin Blum Family

In 1886 and 1887 Andrew worked as a carpenter and lived at 2501 Center Street, Omaha.

Louise Blum with Sister Wilhemina (Minnie) Huber
MORE FAMILY ARRIVES
Again Andrew sent money to Germany for the sister of his wife Louise and William’s wife Caroline, (this is where things get confusing, as the two of the Blum brothers married two of the Moessinger sisters, and two Blum brothers married two Hodel sisters) Wilhelmina (known affectionately as Minnie) , her husband, John Geroge Huber, and their children, George (Wilhelmina’s son born 1870 before she was married to John), and Anna (born 1882). With them this time was the mother of Louise, Caroline, and Wihelmina, CAROLINE ‘JENNE’ MOESSINGER (pronounced ‘maysinger”), born August 16, 1822.

Though I never found the homestead we enjoyed searching the countryside for it. If you are a relative and get the chance to do some exploring..here is a map that was given to me. If you zoom in on it you will see that all of the brothers had homesteads in the area.

Crystal Lake Homestead Map

More on the Blum History to be continue.

Thanks for stopping in. Please leave a comment before you go, or questions if you have them.

Happy Hunting.

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The Pierce Family Historian