Friday, November 14, 2008

Small World Department- Delfosse Descendant

I think it is because I do genealogy that I am so aware of people and events around me. Take a few days ago for example when a house guest and I were touring Old Salem in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Old Salem is a “living museum” created within the limits of the city. It was founded about 1753, as a settlement for a religious sect known as the Moravians from former Moravia in Bohemia, Germany. Today, Moravia is in western portion of the Republic of Czech. The descendants of the Moravians, with the help of others, preserved many of the homes of the original settlement and have recreated many of the shops and activities of the original settlers such as gardening and baking and gunsmiths.

My guest and I prepared to take a break on this warm, sunny Fall day and eat our fresh raisin and oatmeal cookies we had just purchased from the Moravian Bakery. I noticed the lady sitting across from me wore a name tag identifying her as Darlene Delfosse. I told her I was interested in her unique surname because one of my ancestors married a Delfosse.

“Oh, my husband was a Delfosse from Smoke Run, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania”, she informed me.

“And it’s nice that you pronounced the name correctly” she added. (I pronounced the ending like “boss” with a silent “e”).

Well that clinched it. Her late husband was undoubtedly related to the former Mae Louise Delfoss, who was the wife of my father’s step brother, Richard M. Kramp. Mrs. Mae Kramp, nee. Delfoss, or Mary as we called her, was a daughter of John B. “Jack” Delfosse and the granddaughter of Desire Delfosse and his wife, Marie. The progenitors had immigrated from Lievin, in northern France, in the 1880’s and settled in Pennsylvania. They had nine other children besides Jack Delfosse.

Image: Mrs. Darlene Delfosse, of Bern, North Carolina, whose husband's family line is related through marriage to our Kramp Family Line from Pennsylvania.

Of course, I did not have my computer with me; nor did I have my genealogy books and printouts nearby. And I didn’t even think of giving her one of my personal cards- which I had left at home anyway. From now on, I will carry several cards with me- at least giving information on how to access this blog. I wish I could have shown Darlene the following photograph taken at IOOF Cemetery, Brisbin, PA, which shows the tombstones of her husband’s ancestors.

Image (above): The Delfosse Plot at IOOF Cemetery, Brisbin, in southeastern Clearfield County, PA. Desire and Marie Delfosse were the grandparents of Mae Louise “Mary” Delfosse, who married Richard Melvin Kramp, son of Richard Otto Kramp and Bertha, nee. Fox. Louise M. Delfosse was the first of ten children born to Desire and Marie.

Incidentally, Mrs. Mary (Delfosse) Kramp was the last and only KRAMP listed in the Clearfield County (PA) telephone book before she died in August 2005.

One more note on the Delfosse name: On a recent car ride in Virginia, on state route 29, about halfway between Charlottsville and Danville, I noticed a road sign announcing the location of "Delfosse Winery". I better get up there again soon, as I may have a family discount waiting for me on a case of my favorite libation.

References and Links:
The Defosse Winery in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I would have never seen the details if I had not blogged this entry. It was there in Google all this time waiting for me to search and find it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hohnke Line- Introduction to First Generation

I created the Hohnke Family Tree exhibit shown above and set it on an artist’s easel at a recent gathering of the STEMPFLY descendents. Specifically, I showed it to the descendants of William Stempfly, whose mother was Amelia STREICH, who in turn was the first-born child of Henrietta Hohnke and Karl Streich. The point here is not to read the detailed charts in this exhibit, unless you have the vision of a hawk. (Click on the image to enlarge). Rather, I wish to emphasize that there were 3 siblings making up the three major branches of the first generation, HOHNKE Line. I have documents which mention that the parents of the first generation were Frederick Hohnke and Augusta (maiden surname unknown). Little is known of Frederick, but Mrs. Augusta Hohnke apparently immigrated to America. She was enumerated as an 83 year old, widowed mother-in-law in the 1900 U.S. Census in the household of her daughter, Wilhelmina, and her son-in-law, Fredrick SCHROCK or SROCK. According to the Kirchenbuch of St. John’s German Lutheran Church in Houtzdale, PA, Mrs. Augusta Hohnke, was born 1814; died in 1907, and buried in the International Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) cemetery in Brisbin, Clearfield Co. Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, her grave was never marked and attempts to obtain her death certificate from PA Vital Statistics have been futile. The state began registering Deaths in 1895. After 1905, Death Certificates can be ordered from New Castle, for PA.

The three children of Frederick Hohnke and Augusta were:

i. Julius Hohnke, born 1840 in Prussia; died 1908 (age 68) in Clearfield Co, PA. He married Ottilie “Tillie” SUNBURG, d/o Adolf, and they had six children, five of whom were born in Germany. I found a Passenger List for Tillie and four of her children: they arrived Oct. 6, 1884, at New York Port, on S.S. General Werder. The oldest daughter, Bertha, who would have been about 15 years old, was not listed, and may have sailed separately with other relatives. The youngest child, Lewis H. Hohnke, was born in America in 1885.

The images above are presumably Julius Hohnke and his wife, Ottilie Sunburg. The photos were presented in a twin frame which was found in the attic of the former home of the Hohnke’s late son, Lewis H. Hohnke (1885-1940). The picture is definitely not of Lewis and his wife. There were no identifying markings on the photos or frames. Julius died in 1917 aged 68 years, but he appears much younger here. The original pictures are in the hands of a great granddaughter, Margaret WEBSTSER, nee. Hohnke, who allowed me to take these photographs in 1995.

ii. Henrietta Hohnke, born 1842 in "P. Posen" (probably the Province of Posen rather than the city), Prussia (now, Poland); died 1924 aged 82 years, in West Houtzdale, also known as West Moshannon, Clearfield Co, PA. She was married first to Karl? STREICH or STRIKE (?-1885), and secondly in 1888, to Charles Michael WAGNER, or WEGNER (1849-1926) from Lauenburg, eastern Pomerania. Henrietta had at least 4 children by her first husband: Amelia, Otto, Julius, and Martha. All but the last child were born somewhere in Prussia, but most likely in West Prussia. Henrietta and Charles had no issue. They died at the Wagner farmhouse in West Moshannon, PA; were buried in IOOF cemetery, Brisbin, PA; and had tombstones placed over their graves. Mrs. Henrietta Streich, born Hohnke, was my great grandmother.

The scanned images above are two separate photos made into a collage. The upper photo is Mrs. Henrietta Striech-Wagner, born Hohnke, with her second husband, Charles Wagner; they are identified as “Grandpa and Grandma Wagner”. Unfortunately, it looks like the picture was used as an ashtray at one time. The original is owned by a great grandson, Samuel Shugar. Henrietta was first to pass away, in 1924; and therefore, I believe this picture was taken several years before that time.

In the bottom photo, Henrietta stands in the middle of the group with her spouse Charles Wagner. On the right are Henrietta’s daughter, Mrs. Martha Kramp, born Streich, and her husband Robert William Kramp. If Martha is holding their first-born child, Richard, then the picture was taken about 1907. Judging from the clothes being worn by Henrietta and Charles, I believe both pictures were taken at the same time and in the same location- the Wagner Farm in West Houtzdale, PA. The couple on the left is yet to be identified.

iii. Wilhelmina “Minnie” Hohnke, was born 1847, in Germany; died 1937, aged 90, in Beulah, Clearfield Co., PA. She bore five children in Germany by her first husband August SCHESKIE or SHESKI (?-1884), and four children in Clearfield Co., PA, by her second husband, Fredrich SCHROCK or SROCK, from Neustadt, eastern Pomerania (1845-1917). The children of Minnie’s second family were born when she was 39, 41, 42, and 45 years old. Her second-born daughter died as an infant. Supposedly, Wilhelmina was buried in Beulah cemetery, Clearfield County, next to her second husband. However, Fredrich Schrock has a splendid tombstone; she has none.

Brick walls in my research came tumbling down when I found Wilhelmina’s obituary in the Clearfield (PA) Progress. Yet, it was still a challenge to fill in the genealogy as only 5 of her 8 children were mentioned in her obituary.

Shown below are two pictures of Wilhelmina Hohnke. The left-hand picture was only identified as “Grandma Schrock?”, as if the owner was not certain if she was his grandmother at a young age. Is it Wilhelmina, or if not, whose grandma is it? The pictures were found in an album belonging to the widow of Wilhelmina’s grandson, David Martin Steve. He was the youngest son of Wilhelmina’s oldest child, Clara Scheski who married Wilhelm Stuve. Eventually, Stuve was Anglicized to Steve. For now, it is reasonable to assume that these photos are of Wilhelmina as a young woman and at a mature age. The identity of “Emily” in right-hand picture is not known.
A Possible Fourth child in First Generation

As already mentioned I found a Passenger list for Julius Hohnke’s wife and their children but not for the families of Mrs. Henrietta (Hohnke) Streich or Mrs. Wilhelmina (Hohnke) Scheskie. Mrs. Henrietta Streich’s son, Otto, stated in his Naturalization papers, that he arrived in NY, on the SS Elbe, in the year 1884, on either Feb 26 (Declaration of Intention) or Mar 26 (Petition for Naturalization)- an obvious discrepancy. Realize that Otto filed his Naturalization papers in Cambria County, PA, when he was in his early thirties; however, he sailed to America when he was only seven years old in 1884. Otto’s memory of his arrival date had apparently faded. Nevertheless, I surveyed all the passenger manifests for the S.S. Elbe during April and May for 1884, plus or minus two years, with negative results.

On the other hand, I found a Passenger List with a match for Mrs. Henrietta Streich’s oldest child (see partial list below). Amalie (Amelia) Streich, age 18, arrived at New York port on the S.S. Elbe on 17 Dec 1883. Furthermore, her traveling companion was Pauline “Honke”, age 25 years. Pauline may be another child of the first generation Hohnke family. Estimated from her age on arrival, Pauline was born about 1855. Since her oldest presumed sibling, Julius Hohnke, was born in 1840, that would be a span of 15 years between them which is substantial but not uncommon in those days. There were no other passengers named Hohnke or Streich on the cruise. Thus, children and young adults sometimes did immigrate separately from their immediate families.
Passenger Manifest for SS Elbe arriving at New York on 17 Dec 1883. Pauline Hohnke, age 25 is Passenger No. 69; and Amalie Streich, No. 70. Unlike the other siblings in this first generation Hohnke family, I have been unable to find any information on the fate or whereabouts of the 25 year old Pauline Hohnke after she came to America in 1883. Incidentally, Julius Hohnke had a daughter named Pauline, but she was only 15 years old in 1883. Could the older Pauline have been a namesake for Julius’ daughter?
For orientation, my paternal great grandparents, Karl Streich and Henrietta Hohnke, can be seen on My Pedigree.
Obituaries for Julius Hohnke, Ottilie Sunburg (wife of Julius Hohnke), and Wilhelmina Hohnke, (wife of Fred Schrock) can be linked from the Obit index at my Father's branch web site.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Three ran for Political office; two won

I’ve hardly been active in political causes. Probably because I moved around the country so much, I did not really have a chance to get involved in local politics. However, I always did my patriotic duty and voted in every National election since I was 18. Matter of fact the age of voting was reduced from the age of 21 to 18 years shortly before my first vote in an election. The age was reduced because of the Vietnam war. Some of us can recall the slogan, “if you are old enough to die (in the war), then you are old enough to vote”.

Usually, one must have lots of money and be a lawyer to run for national office. I guess it figures that if the US Congress is going to make laws, then being a lawyer would help in the creation of new laws. Thank goodness we have a different branch of the government to interpret the laws. That’s not to say that lawyers always make good laws- just that they can read them. However, some of our first politicians were not lawyers. Benjamin Franklin was a printer and a scientist, was he not? George Washington was a surveyor, soldier, and plantation owner. And, the list could go on.

However, at least three persons that I know of in our extended family ran for an elected office. Two were coal miners in Pennsylvania and one was a proprietor of an Automobile dealership in Syracuse, New York.

Robert Russell was a coal miner for most of his life, but he worked his way up to be a mining engineer. In 1900 in Clearfield County, PA, he was elected to be school director of Woodward Township. A granddaughter of Robert’s, Mrs. Gladys Hilburt, nee. Russell, told me that Robert couldn’t read and write until his wife taught him. I believe this to be true since he went into the mines when he was a young lad back in County Durham, England. Robert Russell immigrated to America in 1881.

Above: Certificate of Election (results) for Robert Russell, the son Thomas Russell, the elder, and Jane McNelley, in the Woodward township, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. Witnesses: Charles Lees, Joseph Shapless, and Frank Crago (Judge).

Above: Campaign card for Frank Ferdinand Kramp, son of Johann Kramp and Johanna Masche. Frank ran in the Republican Party for County Commissioner of Clearfield County, PA, on Tuesday, 20 September 1927. Frank lost the primary according to votes which were tabulated in the Clearfield Progress newspaper. Incidentally, Frank was cited as owning more than one percent of the stock of the Progress at one point. Frank was a coal mine operator of a company in Ramey Borough, Clearfield County. However, his company went broke at the time of the Wall Street crash of 1929, and apparently, he was not bailed out by the Government.

Finally, Clellan Scales Forsythe, son of Alexander Forsyth (no “e”) and Alma Emma, nee. Russell, won election for Councilman-at-large for Onondega County, New York. He ran on the Republican ticket. Clell, as he was known, began his career as a “trapper boy” in the coal mines of Pennsylvania, but rose successfully as businessman in the auto industry after his family moved to Syracuse about 1910. It seems that humble beginnings are always a mark of good character. Clellan's Dodge car dealership became one of the biggest company’s in New York. As Councilman, he ran a successful campaign for people to get out and vote. He helped Thomas E. Dewey win the gubernatorial race for New York. Dewey served three terms as a moderate Republican Governor of New York.

By the way, are you as tired as I am of opinion polls reported by the press and TV this election. I ignore them, as it is rediculous to think that someone else's opinion would influence my vote. Rather, I wish that the media would use more of my valuble time to discuss the issues. Indeed, back in 1948, Thomas Dewey was heavily favored to win a second bid for the Presidency against Harry Truman. In the late night edition on election day, the Chicago Daily Tribune jumped the gun and released the headline that Dewey was elected as the new President. However, the next morning, there was the front page picture of Harry Truman holding up the erronous report in the newspaper. Harry Truman had beat Dewey by a narrow margin in one of the nation's most famous political upsets . Hear, hear, you pollsters and ichy-finger mediapersons.

Clellan Forsythe was a game hunter and fisherman and fond of hosting an annual "game dinner" during which he hobnobbed it with a few big wigs around Syracuse, including the mayor. Today, such an event would not be so politically correct, especially among environmentalists and animal lovers.

NEWSPAPER ARTICLE: From Syracuse Herald Journal, 6 Dec 1939, p 14:

"Forsythe Entertains Friends at Annual Game Dinner"

"The second annual game dinner was given by Clellan S. Forsythe in the ballroom of the Onondaga Hotel last night. Fish, moose and duck, all bagged by Mr. Forsythe or such other "mighty hunters" as Mayor Rolland B Marvin and Clifford H Searle, were the chief features of an elaborate dinner, in a North Woods setting of trees and rocks, with which the dining room was decorated. Amid the trees and on little knolls of the landscape were stuffed specimens of forest wild life, bears, rabbits, beavers and other animals.

"There was no formal program, but colored moving pictures taken of a fishing party at the Triton Club in the Canadian woods by Mayor Marvin proved a feature of the evening. A reel depicting a moose hunt also was shown, but this had no Syracusans in the action. In addition to the fishing movies by the Mayor, motion pictures he took at the World's Fair were shown."

Unfortunately, Clellan Forsythe had a sad ending. While hunting pheasants with his brother on an island they owned on Lake Ontario, Clellan somehow accidentally discharged his shotgun and fatally wounded himself. The brother, John Russell Forsythe, said that Clellan slumped over the gun while he was sitting in the car, apparently the victum of a heart attack. More can be found in his obituary.

This family history story was submitted to the 59th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy whose topic this week was “Politics of our Ancestors”. To see what other Genealogical Bloggers wrote on the topic go to Jasia's Creative Gene blog


1. Robert Russell and Clellan Forsythe (son of Mrs. Alma Emma Forsyth, nee. Russell) can be further indentified within the family tree by going to "Introduction to the first generation RUSSELL Line". Pardon me, but I have yet to compose an introduction to the Kramp Line. Please re-visit.

2. Former President Truman holds up front page of Chicago Daily Tribune with the famous erronous headline, "Dewey Defeats Truman" (from Wikipedia).