CHAPTER 1: MY ANCESTORS
I. My Mother's Side
It is early Saturday morning. The skies are blue and will be sunny. To keep myself busy on this day, I will begin what I promised some days ago, namely, something about your and my ancestors. Since I have much material on my mother's side of the family, I will begin there. As mentioned earlier, this material was compiled by my aunt Julia, my mother's sister. She remained single for many years, since an early suitor left her for someone else. (That early suitor became a professor of mine at Northwestern College in Watertown. I was unaware of his onetime interest in my aunt Julia. His son was a missionary to Africa, Ernst Wendland.)
My mother's maiden name was Pohll. That name Pohll has been spelled with two as well as with one "l." In Germany the name was spelled with but one "l." Her father, August Henry Pohll was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 1st, l865. He was one of 6 children born to John and Mary (Schnell) Pohll. The oldest son of this couple was born in Germany; the others were born in the United States (in Milwaukee, Wisconsin). John and Mary came to the USA in 1847 or 1848. There is a military paper from the District of Schwerin in Germany bearing the name of John Carl William Pohl in the year l847.
August Pohll was a tailor by profession. Grew up in Milwaukee, married there and his first child, my mother Flora Johanna Marie, was born in Milwaukee on September 4, l889. In l890 August Pohl, wife and daughter moved to Manitowoc, Wisconsin where he continued in his work as a tailor first in a department store and later in his own establishments. Quite successful in his work, in his church, and in politics.
In l912, he with three sons (Walter, Oliver, and Norman) and 2 daughters (Nora and Julia), the family moved to Creswell, Oregon to operate a fruit and nut farm. Later they moved to Eugene, Oregon (l937). The move was made for health reasons. You will notice that my mother, the oldest child, did not go with them. In l9l2 she was teaching in the parochial school in Kenosha, Wisconsin. More of that later.
August Pohll passed away on August 23 l942 in Eugene, Oregon. I never met my grandfather Pohll, or my grandfather Gurgel either. I knew of him but more than that I can say nothing. Never learned from them what it means to be a grandfather.
I will give you some history from my mother's side of the Pohll family another time.
For son John's sake let me remind you there are many of your cousins living in the western United States. Many Pohlls in Oregon and Borchers (descendants of my aunt Nora Pohll Borchers) in Washington. I notice some of the grandchildren of the Borchers are listed in Vancouver, Washington. (That was in the l950s).
So long for now, Dad
II. My Mother's Family Descendants
Just a bit more information for what it is worth to you. Some of the Borchers' first names are: George (the first George would have been the husband of my aunt Nora - long dead) but there are others by the name George, also Paul, Arnold and girls, Dorothea, Bernice Arlene. These would be about my age and a little younger. Married names are: Dorothea Labahn, Bernice Ladd, Arlene Van Damme.
Places where you might find my cousins etc. Sherwood, Oregon; Creswell, Oregon; Chiloquin, Oregon, Cottage Grove, Oregon; Goshen, Oregon, Eugene, Oregon; Klamath Falls, Oregon. By this time there might well be a hundred other places that I know not of. The Borchers originally had an onion farm in Washington, but that is more than a half a century ago. The only ones I ever met were my aunt Nora and her son Arnold, if my memory serves me right.
III. More on My Mother's Ancestors
I gave some information on my mother's father and his father. My mother's grandfather, John Carl William Pohl, was born in Germany on August 31, 1825. I mentioned that he and his wife, Mary Schnell Pohl, who born on August 6, 1827, came to America in 1847 or 1848. They arrived here just in time to become involved in the Civil War. In fact, John Pohll did serve in the United States army during the civil war years.
My mother's mother was born to a Mr. and Mrs. Joachim (Joe) Niemann. Both of them were born in Germany. Joe was born on December 29, 1838. His wife, Dorathea Heyden Niemann was born on April9, 1834. They also settled in Milwaukee. They had three children, Mary, who became Mrs. August Pohll, Charles and Fred. Of these three I have met Mary, my grandmother and also Fred (and also met Fred's two daughters). They were living in Milwaukee while I attended the Seminary at Thiensville.
I have also mentioned that Mr. and Mrs. August Pohll had six children. I have met three of them: My mother of course, my aunt Nora briefly, and my uncle Norman. Aunt Julia who has compiled much of this information, I have only known through letters and my mother's accounts of her. Uncle Oliver (known as Ole) served in the first world was. He was gassed and spent much of his life suffering from the effects. Walter I know only again from hearsay. The one story that made an impression on me during the thirties was how when he struggled to feed his family during the depression, he followed the doctor's advice and fed them oatmeal. When I read how the Israelites complained about living on manna, I think of Uncle Walter and his family.
As mentioned before, I never met my grandfather Pohll. [I] knew much about him because I was already some twenty years old when he died. He would send us dates and nuts at Christmas time. My father worked for him for a few months when the Wisconsin Synod closed down their Apache Indian Mission in 1915 or l6 when my father was teaching out there in Globe, Arizona. A friend in Globe (I think the name was Kaiser) gave my dad and mother to get to Oregon with their oldest son Karl.
My grandmother Pohll came to our home in Wonewoc, Wisconsin when my sister Margaret was born. That must have been in June of 1922. And believe it or not I can remember that visit in part even though I was only about 22months old. She also came through with my Aunt Nora to go to a doctor in Michigan to get some medicine for diabetics. Both grandmother and Nora were diabetic. I was serving in La Crosse, Wisconsin at the time. I had a chemist friend of mine examine the medicine and he said it was mainly vinegar. I was a high school senior in 1938 when grandmother and Uncle Norman and his wife Beryl picked me up from Watertown and took me along with them and my mother to Manitowoc to visit old friends and their old home.
Enough for now. Give you a chance to digest this before I go on. Dad
IV. My Mother
I have been spending time on the Pohlls and Niemann side of the family history. That would be my mother's parents and grandparents. Now for a bit on my mother as she grew up in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. She always spoke highly of a pastor her served in her congregation. He was a man by the name of Machmiller or maybe Machmueller, I am not certain how it was spelled. Whenever she would speak of him, my father would always remind her that the man gave up the ministry to become postmaster in Manitowoc. I don't know whether he was just teasing mother or maybe pointing out that there was a flaw in the man's character.
Several things in my mother's early childhood have always stuck in my mind. She would tell us children that until she was nine or ten or thereabout she had not really seen the world about her. When she got her first pair of glasses everything took on a different shape and color. I always remember that the first thing she reached for when arising from bed were her glasses and the last thing she put down at night were the glasses.
She also told us that she was bothered with a hernia. She would bind herself up before going anywhere. Life must have been a challenge to a young girl, but I never heard her complain. In fact she was very much a part of life and her school life. She played on the girls’ basketball team in high school. Girl's rules were quite different. The guards could not go past center court. It seemed to be a much slower game but she enjoyed it.
In some ways she reminds me of your mother, Lois. My father loved to garden. He had spent his early years on a farm and enjoyed watching things grow. I cannot remember mother ever with a hoe in her hand. She would walk about in the flower garden but to pick vegetables etc. I cannot say I ever saw her. She loved to can and put up preserves as well as to cook and bake and sew. In that way she was very much like Lois.
After she finished high school in Manitowoc she went on to prepare herself as a teacher. She attended Oshkosh, Wisconsin normal school, now University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. One of students who attended that school at the same time as my mother did is still living, well into her early hundreds. She is in the nursing home across the street from my brother Ernst's home in Sparta. He has been trying to visit her at a time when she is lucid to see if she remembers Flora Johanna Marie Pohll. Mother must have graduated from the normal school around 1910 or l911, I am not certain of the year. I may be able to get that information from one of sisters or my brother Ernst. Shortly after that her parents, brothers and sisters moved from Manatowoc to Oregon. The year was l9l2. She did not go with them but stayed in Wisconsin teaching at Friedens Lutheran School in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The congregation where Donald and Doris are members now.
It was at Friedens School that she met my father who was also teaching there. More of this when I trace my father's history. All the details of that courtship are not known to me, but it was the beginning of bringing people who were Pohlls apart to becoming one Gurgel family.
That my mother was a capable teacher I can attest to. For several years of my grade school days she came to help my father who taught all eight grades. She would teach us German in the upstairs room of the schoolhouse. She was also well read in good literature.
Both my father and mother were intelligent and strong willed individuals, sometimes bringing about strong words that bothered me a good deal. I can recall one time when I came down from the bedroom and reminded them to slow down for my sake. It led me to be careful or so I think in my family life. The discipline both taught me in many ways has served me well. My children may not always have appreciated the strong hand their father displayed, but I appreciated my parent’s stern discipline and at the same time their loving concern and sacrifice on their children’s behalf.
Memories, memories—sometime ago I wrote you the following words "Live today so that when tomorrow comes yesterday's memories will be pleasant and worth recalling.”
Enough for the moment while I think back to pleasant days in my mother's home.
V. My Parents
I have been busy sending letters and emails in various directions to gather information on your ancestors. Just a few remarks regarding an observation made about my parents in a former email. I remarked that both my parents were strong willed. That is true. They both were highly intelligent and came to their own conclusions. They both had been independent in their early adult lives and they were convinced that they knew how to take care of the things in life. So they did not always see eye to eye in financial and other matters. For the most part they did agree, but on occasion the disagreements became a bit more apparent. It hurts a young child and threatens security because he does not always see that disagreements do not mean lack of love for each other or for their children.
I said that it made me do some thinking about how I would conduct my family relations. I was determined not to let children see any problems between their parents. How successful I have been in that determination only you can tell. Two remarks made long ago have stuck in my mind down through the decades. One was made by John shortly after we moved to Eau Claire. He said. "Dad, you are not treating mother very well." It took me by surprise and I said nothing but tried to analyze my actions. The other remark came from Lois Jean years later. She said, "You and mother do not always agree." That too made me stop and think. I cannot remember mother ever opposing something I said. She was always very quiet and to a large extent self-effacing. That is not to say she never did disagree with me. Kuehne described her to one of our grandchildren, a quiet and gentle spirit. It was her nature more than mine that made things work well.
Just a few more insights into my mother. As mentioned she grew up in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. That city lies on the shores of Lake Michigan. The Pohll home must have been within walking distance of the lake. She tells how she spent many hours fishing for perch from one of the piers stretching out into the lake. When we were growing up she encouraged us boys to fish the Baraboo River that flowed through the town of Wonewoc. She was always ready to clean whatever fish we brought home. Every so often she would pack picnic lunch and she, dad and we children would spend the day alongside the river and she would gladly throw in a line. If someone managed to hook a perch she would react with joy. Took her back to her own childhood days.
I never saw her in church without a hat. Your mother as well as mine found pleasure in being able to finish off formal dressing without a hat or some kind. I can recall walking down the streets of Mankato some years ago and a lady passing by remarked on the particular straw hat your mother was wearing. Lois' face beamed with pleasure at having her hat noticed.
Mothers put up with a lot and give up a lot, and put out a lot for their children. Too often it is only after they are gone that we appreciate what they did for us. My mother, Flora Johanna Marie Pohll Gurgel had one great desire for all her children. She wanted them to be pastors or teachers. She wanted them to have not only a Christian education during their grade school days, but also in high school and college. Not all of us saw that desire of hers fulfilled. Ernst was too homesick to stay at Dr. Martin Luther College. He spent one year there and then finished high school at Wonewoc. Herman spent six years at DMLC in New Ulm but chose to quit. Margaret, Marie did attend some college years at New Ulm and taught. Doris I think spent one year there and returned to Wonewoc. Karl and I spent eleven years preparing for the ministry. So some of my mother's wishes were fulfilled.
Enough of this rambling of an old mind. Hope it gives you some insight into the life and thoughts of grandmother Gurgel and you father. Shortly will do some reviewing of your mother's mother and father. Some information is already at hand others is being sought.
Hope the downturn in the US economy does hit you too hard. The Lord will be here tomorrow as well as today.
VI. Grandpa Gurgel's Father and Family Tree
I have been spending time on my mother's side of the family tree. Today I will give you what information I have on your mother's father and his family tree.
Henry Bauer was the son of Anton Bauer. Daniel tried to trace the ancestors of Anton. Lois had in her notes that Anton Bauer came from Bavaria or at least his ancestors did. Daniel uncovered an Anton Bauer born in 1793 the son of Josef Bauer was born in 1764. The family came from Vojvodinah (?), Hungary. If this is the family of Anton Bauer there must be another son between Anton Bauer born in 1793 and the Anton Bauer father of Henry (Lois' father). I do not have the birth date of Lois' grandfather Bauer.
Anton Bauer married an Elizabeth Hemple in l882. To this marriage four sons and three daughters were born. Henry, Lois' father was born on June 21, 1899. Other sons were Charles, Anthony, and John. Daughters were Julia, Joshphine (?) and Barbara. The family was catholic
Lois often spoke of her uncles and aunts from her father’s side. I cannot remember any of them. But I do recall a cousin of Lois" visiting us at Taylors' cottage one Sunday afternoon.
Henry and his brothers loved to get together and play schafskopf for pennies. It was their way of keeping score. I was never involved in that practice. As I said I cannot remember meeting any of them. The family lived in Milwaukee. When her grandfather Bauer died we were living in Belle Plaine, Minnesota. I can recall mother receiving a check of some $400 as an inheritance. It was a share of what her father would have received had he still been alive. Mother bought a bronze bracelet with that money as well four new tires for our car.
Grandpa Bauer was a linotype operator. He worked at the Northwestern Publishing House (the publishing house for the Wisconsin Synod) as well as for the Milwaukee Journal and Sentinel at times.
He loved to fish and to play cards. I can recall him coming to Rib Lake to visit. We went out on Spirit Lake one evening and the fish were biting until I tangled up my line and must have made some commotion. That was the end of the bites. Grandpa Bauer was quite disgusted with me.
He and grandma Bauer had purchased a home in a new subdivision of Milwaukee. There was some sort of scam about the purchase. They lost their home and their credit rating. As a result they spent their married life in rentals. Never owned a car. The streetcar system in Milwaukee was excellent so they could easily get around.
Henry was a smoker and developed lung cancer in the early 1950s. I can recall visiting him in the hospital and seeing the suffering he went through. The operation prolonged his life for a time but it was only a matter of a year or so before he died. I have seen the results of nicotine many times in my years as a pastor. Just last year in Coloma I saw the same thing in a man by the name of Hays. (By the way his son Jeff Kennedy - stepson and his daughter Belinda Hays attended ILC years ago). One of the last wishes Mr. Hays had was that he might live long enough to go out to Colorado and hunt elk with bow and arrow. He never got there. He died soon after I left Coloma.
I can recall going to grandpa Bauer and asking permission to marry his daughter. All he said was, Ask her not me. Lois mentioned to me years later that he had told her becoming a pastor's wife would be a difficult position. I guess by the time she realized that it was much too late.
Must say I appreciated the fact that grandpa Bauer never objected to (at least as far as I knew) his wife's very frequent coming to be with the daughter when you children were born. That was a big help. More of that when I speak of Helen Bauer, Lois's mother in more detail.
I don't know whether I always get your email. There are times when my computer shows mail being received but I cannot find it. Just last night the compute said 8 letters received and all I could find was one. Anyhow if you are looking for a response and don't get it neither did I.
VII. Grandma Bauer
This morning, March 27th, I will attempt to give you a bit of the history of your grandmother Bauer. There are some questions that I have not been able to answer completely either from Lois' notes or from conversation with Donald, your mother's brother.
Helen (Thurow) Bauer was born on July 14, l900. It was always easy for her to know her age for she grew with the century. She lived until 1985. So she was 85 years old when she left this world.
Her parents were Mr. and Mrs. William Thurow. Thurow shows up at times with Thwors. Most of your mother's notes spell the name Thurrow, but on your mother's confirmation certificate it is spelt Thurow. I do not know whether Pastor Brenner, who confirmed your mother as well as baptized her would have made a mistake. I also checked her birth certificate and that spells Thurow with but one “r.” So in seeking information about her parents it would be wise to look for William Thurow and his wife was Theresa Mueller.
I find no reference to the birth dates of either her father of mother nor any reference to their parents. They apparently lived in Milwaukee beyond that I know nothing. Daniel has been trying to trace them back as yet I do not know if he has come up with anything. When they died and how remains unknown to me at this time. Grandma Bauer spoke of herself as an orphan. She lived with a farm family for some time just outside of Nicollet, MN. How she got there is a mystery. Apparently she was not too happy there and found her way back to Milwaukee and lived with a lady by the name of Anna Richter. What the relationship to this lady was mother never said and Donald was without information also. Donald did speak of visiting at the Richter home as a child.
Mr. William Thurow had a brother by the name of Rheinhold and a sister by the name of Augusta. Mother always referred to her as Aunt Gussie. I met her when she was in a nursing home. She had been married twice. Each time it was for 25 years. Their first husband was a man by the name of Riple. They had one daughter, Kathryn, who apparently died fairly young (?). Mother received a ring of hers. The ring had a fairly large stone set in it. Mother would twist that ring around and around on her finger especially in the last years of her life.
By the way, I did find a reference to Anna Richter as being grandmother's aunt. Donald was not certain about that but in one of your mother's notes I do find her as being referred to as Aunt Anna.
Grandmother Bauer had two brothers. One was named Herman. Herman married a woman by the name of Loretta. They had three children, Herbert, Melba, and Jimmy. Mother did speak of these cousins at times. The other brother was Henry. He married a woman by the name of Anna. They had two children, Bernice and Norman. Mother seemed to have had a good relationship with Bernice as I recall
Grandma Bauer also had one full sister, Clara, who married a man by the name of Repety. They lived in northern Wisconsin. She also had a half-sister by the name of Sophia. She was known as Aunt Sophy. Her husband was Fred Hoeft. They had two children, John and Arthur.
Grandmother spent some of her teen age years working for a family by the name of Uehlein (not certain about the spelling). That family was involved (owned I believe) with Schlitz brewery in Milwaukee.
It is interesting to note how often she worked for wealthy families both before her marriage and after her husband’s death. Most of you will have been aware of that when we lived in Phoenix. How often you went out to the Ruskin estate to go swimming. After she came back from Phoenix, she worked for a doctor in Milwaukee for some time.
Her experience as a maid, a helper, a cook and housekeeper for the wealthy taught a good deal about good and very often expensive cooking as well as good housekeeping. Your mother learned a good deal about those areas from grandma Bauer. I can attest to that from meals enjoyed in her home while I was dating your mother as well as many times when she came to our home at the birth of you children and she took over the kitchen and house in her capable way.
At the age of 21 on August 23, 1921 she was married to Henry Bauer in St. John’s Lutheran Church in Milwaukee. Pastor Brenner performed the ceremony for them as he also did for your mother and me some 24 years later. Pastor Brenner also confirmed your grandfather, Henry Bauer, as an adult. He had come from a Catholic family.
To this family a daughter, Lois, was born on September 23, 1923 and a son, Donald, was born on October 31, l927.
I will send this off now. The master copy will be corrected at a later date. Don’t mind the errors that come with old fingers and eyes that are not always so quick to catch them.
I’m getting ready for a visit to the doctor for hernia problems. Since our Dr. Olmanson retired and his partner Dr. Shores is back at school for a year, I have transferred my records to the Mankato Clinic, a branch of the Mayo Clinic from Rochester. This will be my first trip to see a new doctor.
Just a quick note to all of you. Had an email from Deb relating information she had years ago from grandma Bauer. Would encourage all of you to relate to me things you remember about your ancestors that I have not hit on. Will share it with all of you in one way or another.
Deb mentioned that grandma Bauer had told her about being the children’s home in Wauwatosa (suburb of Milwaukee). She also said grandma Bauer had met her husband through her brother Henry. Both the brother and the husband to be were Henrys (Hank).
Get your memories flowing and your fingers going on the Internet. I do appreciate any help you can provide.
Snow is gradually going so the weather man promises more of the same this weekend just in time for the Final Four tournament in the cities. Basketball tournaments seem to ask for snow going.
A word to Paul: The table you asked about is here waiting to hold a printer when it comes. If you need it will reluctantly return it to you. It is yours to do with as you wish. Dad
Been wondering where you were these past weeks. If you have some time on your hands would appreciate your attempting to trace the Thurow family grandmother’s family. Daniel has done some but he is busy writing operettas based on Grims’ fairy tales. Writing the music etc. for school production. I am interested in what happened to William Thurow and his wife that grandma became an orphan. You have some of the details in one of the last excerpts I sent out. By the way they do need a lot of editing. Still learning how to handle that. John Ude has been quite helpful the only problem is he is a hundred miles away. Give my regards to your children. Wrote to Matthew some time ago have not heard back from him.]
VIII. Grandma Bauer, continued
Going back to grandma Bauer’s history. I gave you some time ago what I could dig up about Helen Bauer. In going through some of your mother’s papers, I ran across a page drawn up by grandma Bauer herself. I will provide additional information and supply some things that were a mystery to me until I read this.
“Dated April 27, 1985 [this was written then about 8 months before she died].
“My family Tree.
“Helena Bauer nee Thurow.
“Mother’s Maiden Name – Theresa Wistenhoefer Mueller. Born in the Year 1882. Deceased in the Year 1905. Born in Milwaukee City.
“Father’s name was William Thurow, other names not know. Born in year 1849 in Germany Pomerian City. Little is known of his lineage. Deceased in Year 1908.
[This is the first time I have run across the birthdays and death dates of your grandmother’s parents. You will note the big age difference between her father and her mother. He was some 32 years older than her mother. You will also realize how young her mother was when she married William Thurow and how young she was when she died 23 years of age. She died when grandma was only five years old. Her father died when she was eight.]
“I was born in Year 1900 – July 14 of second marriage of both parents. 1 sister and 2 brothers who are also deceased. I am sole survivor from half brothers and sisters. My right sister’s name was Clara and brother’s names were Henry and Herman Thurow. From mother’s first marriage the sister’s names were Sophia Roloff (Theresa, Fredrick Rloff).” [Note from Dad: I think she is giving the marriage name of her mother and her first husband with the name Theresa, Fredrick Roloff.] “From father’s side there were: Augusta Thurow, William Thurow, Rheinhardt Thurow, or it could be Rheinholdt Thurow.
“My life began in a house which was built on Cherry Street in Milwaukee. It was built by Grandfather Mueller (very quaint) [I do not know if she means the house or the grandfather. I would not even venture a guess] when arriving from Germany in the very early 1800 hundreds. Never knew him but heard quite a bit about him. My mother lived all her days in that house. So we were all brought up until they both passed away. Being orphaned at the age of 8 years we were put under the jurisdiction of the Lutheran Children’s Home finding society in Wauwatosa until a home was found for us. My brother Henry, my sister took him into her home but four of us she and her husband could not take upon themselves to provide.
“The property was sold and divided. It sold for $1600.00 so you see there wasn’t much equity for us to be had.
“Clara, Helen and Henry and Herman mother’s family they sent to a family who live on a farm near New Ulm, MN. But they were not there for long—and to Milwaukee Children’s Home. I do not know for how long.
“Have a picture of mother at age 16—she was very pretty.
“I do not know how where the boys were sent—in Milwaukee somewhere. Probably went to work.”
So far your grandmother’s notes. You will note she has her brother Henry in two places. One with a sister in Milwaukee and one with herself and others in MN. I found the note she set down quite interesting and informative. As I said at the beginning, it provided me with some details that I had not known before. Deb is coming this afternoon and will be here until sometime on Friday. Will pick up with family history when the mind and fingers can go back to work after surgery.
Hi: Dad asked me to pass along to you that his surgery went well and he is doing well also. He went in by 9:30 and was out by 11:30. They repaired the one that was giving him problems and found another smaller one which they fixed also. By 12:30 he was awake and visited with Kathleen and I during the afternoon. Beth will pick him up tomorrow and take him home. Time-wise that would be around noon.]
IX. Grandma Bauer, a Few More Observations
Winding down with Lois' mother. Just a few more observations.
At the death of grandpa Bauer, grandma was left rather high and dry. He had religiously paid his union dues but that only provided for him. There was nothing for the family. Donald was working at the time and between the two of them they managed to keep afloat.
When we moved from Belle Plaine to Phoenix she followed and very quickly got a job with the Ruskins as nanny to their two younger children and helper to the cook. They got tired of bringing her into town and so they gave her the use of a car and told her to learn how to drive. In short order she did learn and made regular trips to our home and to church. I can recall taking her out on the desert and letting her practice behind the wheel. The only thing you could hit was cactus or brush. She enjoyed those few years very much. When we left for Cheyenne she stayed behind. Eventually she went out to California for a visit. Then flew into Cheyenne and from there back to Milwaukee.
Her last years were spent working for a doctor and his wife who was also a doctor I believe. Then she lived with Donald and Doris in Kenosha. From there back into Milwaukee to a high rise building for the elderly. It was located next to the Milwaukee River. It had a beautiful view from her apartment. Finally when she could no longer take care of herself she moved to a nursing home. She made regular visits for ' graduations etc. She enjoyed playing Kings-in-a-Corner and other games with you.
I can remember her taking after Paul and John when they were little and mischievous. She was always ready to pitch in and help where help was needed. I can recall one incident when we were living on Rudolph Road. She was doing dishes and had the hot water constantly running for rinsing them. I remarked to her it would be wise to turn the water on and off as needed since I had to pay the bill for heating the water. She was highly insulted and let me know about it.
She passed away in 1985 at the age of 85. Had a full life with many trials but always bounced back. I appreciated the many weeks and months of help she provided for Lois, me, and you children.
Remember her with kind and thankful thoughts. Dad
[Note: Love, Dad
Your responses to the ancestor file tell me what I thought would be the case as far as I have gone in this undertaking. The sections dealing with grandma Bauer have brought forth quite a few remarks.
When you stop and think about it, she was the most well-known ancestor you have known so far. Many of the grandparents, great grandparents, etc., are just names to you. They may arouse some interest of an academic nature and that is about it.]
Only a very few of you knew your grandfather Henry Bauer. Lois Jean, Paul and John might recall a bit. A couple of you went with your mother to visit him in his last days in Milwaukee. You older girls traveled by train with your mother and spent a few weeks with the Bauers, just before his death Grandmother Gurgel, too, was known only to you older ones. She died in the early fifties. You would have only a few child's memories of her.
When we get to your grandfather Gurgel there may well be more things you can recall. He was one who did not like to leave his home and bed. It took a lot of persuasion to get him to travel. He did not have a car and so was dependent on the trains or one of his children to get him from one place to another. My sister Marie worked hard on him to come to her home in Courtland. He finally gave in and staid with her a few days. From there he was going to come to Belle Plaine to visit us, but he died on the hospital lawn in New Ulm. He never got to our home.
Other ancestors with the exception of your mother and father are known only from hearsay. And yet should be of interest to you to hear something about those whose blood flows in your veins and whose genes have helped to shape you.
I have covered the Pohlls, the Bauers, the Niemanns, the Thurows. There yet remains the Gurgels. That will be undertaken in the near future.
Hang in there.
X. My Father's Parents
All my information is not yet on hand, but I will give you what I have and fill in later. According to my best recollection my father's parents came over from Germany. Whether they were married before leaving Pommerania (a part of modern day Prussia) or whether they were married in the states I am not certain. They settled on a farm in the southeastern part of Minnesota, near Caledonia, between La Crescent and Caledonia. My father's father was named Gustav as I recall. There were four daughters and two sons born to that family. Herman, my father, and Fred were the boys. Emma, Margaret and two other girls and I am trying to come up with the names of the other two girls.
Fred was a conductor on the La Crosse street car system and made his home in La Crosse until his death. He was still in La Crosse when I was pastor there. I visited him both as his nephew and as his pastor. When I got to know him he was house bound. His wife was a Catholic as were their children. I met one of the boys while I was still at college. He was football coach at Ripon College and their freshman team played our team. There was another son who made the army his career. Served many years both before World War II and after that war. When he retired he took his mother then widowed and moved to Oregon.
One of the sisters married a man by the name of Frey. He published a magazine called the Bandmaster. They lived in Minneapolis and would come through Wonewoc on the way to visit grandma Gurgel then living in Kenosha as were two daughters. Emma had married a man by the name of Kluender. He had one time attended Northwestern College in Watertown. I saw his initials scratched on the chapel organ. He became involved with Nash motors in Kenosha. Held a responsible position. They had two children, a boy and a girl, early in their marriage. Many years later when they had moved to the Milwaukee area working in the Kalvinator company. Nash merged with Kalvinator, they had another daughter, a Nachkoemling a late arrival. Your mother and I visited them at one time.
Another daughter married and lived in the La Crosse area. I am trying to get her name. One of her daughters sang for funerals at First Lutheran in La Crosse. Got acquainted with her while I served as assistant in that congregation. Another sister as I mentioned before also lived in Keosha.
The Kluenders and the Frey made regular visits to our home and they also remembered us children with Christmas gifts. One of the Frey sons was paralyzed with polio. He became quite an organist. I can remember taking my father to visit him in Minneapolis.
My father's father died of pneumonia when he was quite young. I recall my dad saying that he was only nine when his father passed away. My brother Ernst says dad was 12 years old. Have not as yet verified what the true age was. The family moved into La Crosse after the death of Gustav, my grandfather.
Grandfather Gurgel must have instilled a love for growing things into my dad. When we were children he would take us out into the farm fields and identify the different kinds of grains springing up in the spring months.
He knew the different shades of green of oats, barley, wheat etc. The pleasure showed on his face in teaching us to recognize what he saw. All through the years when I was at home or came home for vacations or visits that love for growing things was still evident. He couldn't wait to turn over the garden in the spring, to plant the seeds, or to transplant what he had started in the boxes in the basement while it was still winter. He spent time with a hotbed for tomatoes and come Memorial Day they went into the garden with the hope of ripe tomatoes by the Fourth of July.
Gardening was not only a necessity for feeding his seven children, but a therapy for his stresses teaching 60 and 70 children across eight grades in a one room school room. He enjoyed it and did his best to instill a love for it in our hearts. You have seen some of that same love in the life of your father. I see it to a degree in Daniel and also in John in his love for the lawn and flower gardens.
One story that comes to mind is about his father and he returning in the horse drawn wagon from La Crosse. It was nighttime when they came to the Root River on their way to the farm. When they came to the bridge across the river the horses stopped. No amount of threats etc. would make them move. Finally grandfather stepped down from the wagon and went to the horses and discovered what they had seen, namely, the bridge had been washed away in a spring flood.
I should mention that my father, who was born on October 29, l888, was baptized in First Lutheran Church of La Crosse, Wisconsin. His baptismal record is found in the church books. If that was the church home of the family they must have traveled many miles with horse and buggy to get to church, or whether family first lived in La Crosse before moving to a farm, I simply do not know
Again enough is enough for the moment. Will continue this saga in days to come