Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Review - A Sensible Arrangement by Tracie Peterson

 A Sensible Arrangement
(Lone Star Brides)

by Tracie Peterson

Jake Wyeth needs a wife and he will settle for a marriage of convenience to satisfy the demands of his boss at the bank who wants Jake to blend into the highest echelons of society in Denver.  Marty Olson needs to get away from the loneliness of her Texas ranch where her husband died.  She takes the risk of answering Jake’s ad for a mail order bride, keeping it a secret from her family.

Both Marty and Jake have been hurt in the past, and although they are very supportive of each other, both have difficulty giving complete trust and love.  As Marty accustoms herself to society life in Denver, she begins to see their fa├žade and their uncaring attitude towards those less fortunate.  Jake, on the other hand, is deeply immersed in the bank and the almost inevitable failure of the economy. 
Marty struggles with her disappointment in God over the death of her husband.  Servants in the house, particularly Alice and Mrs. Landry, help her rediscover the power of prayer.  As we follow the feelings  between Marty and Jake, we wonder if lies will ruin what could be a wonderful relationship.

Tracie Peterson always delivers.  Her main characters are not one-dimensional; we know their humanness and understand their motivations.  The introduction of the subplot involving the orphan, Alice, and her past, adds to the overall theme.  Peterson weaves religion into the plot subtly and in a way that gives depth to her characters.  I totally enjoyed this book, and look forward to the next book in this series.

This book was provided to me by Bethany House Publishers for my honest review.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Amelia Spoering, A Strong Woman For Her Time

Last summer, I wrote a post about a newspaper clipping I found in the Van Wert Daily Bulletin dated December 16, 1920.  It involved Anna Spoering and a lawsuit against a runaway suitor, only the paper had the name was AMELIA Spoering, as I found out this week at the courthouse.  Amelia was my grandmother, Ida Spoering's, younger sister.

The newspaper article read as follows:
 "A breach of promise suit for $8,000 was filed in Common Pleas Court at Napoleon by Anna Spoering against Theodore Drewes.  The plaintiff asserts that Drewes promised to marry her in the last week of September, that she was willing and ready to enter into a marriage contract with him, that the wedding day had been decided upon and all necessary preparations made by the plaintiff."

 I requested the court papers from the Henry County Common Pleas court and was excited to look at them this week.

The journal entry stated that on or about May 25, 1920, Theodore Drewes promised to marry Amelia and they set the date for the last week in September, 1920.
So Amelia planned the wedding, but when the time came near, Theodore "wantonly neglected, failed and refused to marry the plaintiff."

Unfortunately, Theodore, being a persuasive fellow, seduced and "carnally knew the said plaintiff and got her with his child."  Amelia wanted $8000 in damages and signed her petition to the court on December 9, 1920.

So a summons was issued for Theodore in Henry County and Sheriff J. H. Spencer, after a diligent search, determined that Theodore had left the county and he could not ascertain his location.  So, the lawman "left the summons in a conspicuous place" at Theodore's home on December 20.  It was noted that Theodore left the county specifically to avoid the summons, so an affidavit was filed to place an attachment on his property, 60 acres of land worth $18,000 in Section 34 of Monroe Township.

That, I'm sure, did not make Theodore happy and the prospect that a notice telling of this case would be in the paper was also not acceptable to him, so he had his attorney, Mr. Donovan, file a motion to quash the publication of the notices.  Obviously, the judge was not inclined to do that since the defendant had skipped town, so the notices were placed in the paper for six consecutive weeks.  To have this situation made public must have been embarrassing for Amelia, too, but she needed some support for her unborn child and so she had the notices put in the Northwest-News. (Formal child support laws did not go into effect in the U.S. until 1950.)
On March 19, 1921, the case was heard in the court of Common Pleas.  A jury trial was waived, so a judge decided the outcome of the case.  At this point, the defendant's whereabouts was still not known, so only the plaintiff, Amelia, appeared at the trial.
The judge's decision :
"It is therefore considered by the court that the plaintiff, Amelia Spoering, recover from the defendant, Theodore Drewes, the said sum of $2500 and her costs herein expended."  That would have been $29.56 of court costs.

So she did not get all she asked for, but she did get something and, in 1921, she had a son to whom she gave the Spoering surname.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Book Review - All Things Hidden

All Things Hidden

Tracie Peterson
Kimberley Woodhouse

 Dr Harold Hillerman and his daughter, Gwyn, had worked hard in the Alaskan frontier, bringing health care to the natives there.  Their dedication, in fact, had led to his wife and other daughter, Sophia, leaving for civilization in Chicago.  In 1935, when President Roosevelt decided to sponsor a new colony of settlers in the Matanuska Valley, large numbers of adventurers arrived from the United States to take advantage of the offer of land and a fresh start after the Depression.  With so many new people, the doctor and Gwyn were excited for the arrival of Dr. Jeremiah Vaughn from Chicago and the help he could give.

Dr. Vaughn had some secrets and hiding them weighed on him greatly, holding him back from declaring his true feelings for Gwyn.  But their romance often took a back seat to the evil that was going on in the camp.  Someone wanted Dr. Vaughn out of Gwyn's life, and someone didn't like the native people, especially Gwyn's friend, Nasnana, whose quiet ways and complete trust in the Lord helped many others.  

I loved reading about the actual historical events of the Matanuska Colony; it added so much to the novel.  Some characters were real to that time, and others were fictional.  The authors did a fantastic job on their research and in the melding of the two types of characters.  Definitely the emphasis is more on historical fiction than romance, but that was quite all right.  I think this author duo could continue the story and still have much history to tell.

This book was provided to me by Bethany House Publishers for my honest review.



Thursday, December 26, 2013

Winter 2014 Project

The boys have their quilts from me, and now it is the granddaughters' turn.  I asked the ten year old, Grace, what colors she wanted in her quilt and the answer was "purple."  Just purple.  I've looked at quite a bit of fabric in all variations of that color in the last few months and haven't really found anything that will have staying power as she grows older.  Too old lady, too funky, too little girl, too retro, too ugly, too flowery...

So my solution was to go BATIK.  I'm gathering fabrics and this is what I have so far.
She has given her approval on these choices, so I guess I'm on the right track.  I really like that there is no "wrong" side to a batik, so I have choices.  This is two sides of the same fabric.

I'm starting with this pattern -

The goal is to have the top pieced in two months...we'll see!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Roland Edward Glanz, My Dear Uncle

        Roland Edward Glanz
June 12, 1922 - November 6, 2013

Roland (Ron) Edward Glanz, husband, dad, grandpa, great-grandpa, brother, uncle and great-uncle, carpenter, golfer, World War II veteran and POW, died on Wednesday, November 6, at 11:50 p.m.
He was at home with his family around him. We are not ready for him to be gone, but we are grateful for the time he was with us all.

Roland was born on June 12, 1922, to the late Leo and Gertrude (Kuhlman) Glanz, in rural Columbus Grove, Ohio.  He was baptized and confirmed at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Ottawa, Ohio.  He also attended grade school
at St. Peter and Paul.

Roland graduated from McClure High School in 1941.  He entered the U.S. Army during World War II on February 12, 1943.  He served with the 409th Company infantry - 103rd Division in France and Germany.  He was captured by the Germans on December 2, 1944, at Selestat, France, and was a Prisoner of War in Germany, Stalag 4B, until he was liberated on April 4, 1945, by General Patton's Third Army.  Roland received an Honorable Discharge from the U.S. Army in December 1945.

On February 1, 1948, Roland married Eleonore Elling at St. Augustine Catholic Church, Napoleon, Ohio.  She survives.

For a number of years, Roland was a foreman at General Mills in Toledo, Ohio.  In 1964, he established Glanz Homes, Inc.  Roland and his men built many homes in Ohio, Michigan, and Hawaii, where the family lived for 9 years.  He was a "taskmaster" when it came to his construction work, no shoddy workmanship.  However, he never asked him men to do something he himself would not do.

After retiring in 1988, Roland enjoyed woodworking, building furniture for his children and grandchildren.

In recent years, Roland and Eleonore enjoyed traveling and spending winters in Florida.

Surviving are sons and daughters, Gary (Diane), Redmond, WA; Ava (Chuck) Stanford, Scottsdale, AZ; Kevin, Napoleon, OH; Maria (Kenny) Judd, Vashon Island, WA; Julia, Graton, CA; Alan, East Lansing, MI.  Son Keith died in 1998 at age 43.  Also surviving are Erica (Erik) Kachmarsky; Thomas Glanz; Kristen (Alex) Starkovich; Julie (Scott) Sanders; William DeGroot; and Finn Judd.  Great-grandchildren are Michael Rance, Avery and Grace Kachmarsky, and Brody Sanders.  Also surviving is sister, June (Bob) Billmaier, Findlay, OH. Roland was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Marvin.

Roland was a life member of the Napoleon American Legion, and a member of St. Augustine Catholic Church, Napoleon, Ohio.  At St. Augustine, he was married and buried, and he enjoyed a long, rich journey in between.

His celebration of life mass will be on Veterans' Day, Monday, November 11, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Augustine Catholic Church,officiated by Father Dan Borgelt.
 (Burial- St. Augustine Cemetery, Napoleon, OH)
Uncle Ron at his 90th birthday celebration in 2012
 Rest In Peace

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Never Assume...

Awhile back I wrote a post about Ludwig Spangler from Germany, but recently I came across a newspaper article about another Spangler, this one from Switzerland.  John Spangler lived in Defiance County, rather than Henry County, Ludwig's home.  
John Spangler
Photos from Public Tree on, John Spangler, Jr., 1836-1921

Defiance Democrat, September 24, 1891

"Meeting John Spangler, candidate for Infirmary Director, one day last week, upon inquiry we learned that he was born April 4th, 1836, at Maryishausen, Switzerland, county of Shaffanhausen.  In 1845, with his parents, he came to America, locating in Franklin township, Fulton county, Ohio, where he resided for ten years.  He then came to Defiance county and purchased the Isaac Braucher farm in Noble township, now owned by Henry Roehrs, and continued farming until 1864 when he went across the plains to California with a drove of horses.  He stayed in California two years and returned to Defiance, where, in partnership with Messrs. Greenler and Swartz, he engaged for one year in the flour, meat, and feed business in the building on the corner now occupied by the First National bank.  He then sold out his interest and purchased the Florida flouring mills which he conducted for nine years, then bought the Weidenhamer farm, in North Richland, where he has since resided.

From '45 to '64, he was engaged the entire time in farming and since '76 has devoted his time to that business as his large, well-tilled farm in North Richland shows abundant evidence.  Everywhere he is known as a straightforward man of sterling integrity and excellent business qualifications and will make one of the most thorough and painstaking officials which could have been selected.  This fact is conceded not only by Democrats generally, but also by many Republicans, who will give him their support."

Never assume, first, that the only good information on a subject is to be found in the obituary.  This particular piece offers much information for the researcher to pursue.  Secondly, never assume that since one Spangler was from Germany, they all must be.  These are obviously two very different families.

John Spangler & Isabelle Tuttle Spangler - headstone

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Great-Grandfather, Fritz (Friedrich/Fred) Elling's Farm, 1880

An often overlooked resource for information on rural America are the agricultural censuses which enumerate all the crops, livestock, and production of each farm.  In 1880, the agricultural census of Freedom Township, Henry County, Ohio, gives us a picture of my great-parents' (Fred and Mary Rohrs Elling) farm as it was on June 5, 1880, although some of the questions refer back to 1879, as well.

(Not all of the children in the photograph were born by 1880 and the house shown is the one Fritz and Mary had later in Fulton County, but Fritz and Mary are front and center in the photo.)

Fred's land was in Section 29 of Freedom Township on the north side.  In the 1875 atlas, his neighbors were Lewis Bockleman, Christ Binger, H. Van Deyton and Mary and James Raddy.

In 1880, Fred owned 30 acres of land, tilled, and 10 acres of woodland in Freedom Township, with a value of $1600.  He valued his farm implements at $100 and his livestock at $300.  He had hired some farm help in 1879 for 26 weeks and paid total wages of $36.
For 1879, he figured the estimated value of all his farm production (sold or consumed) was $300.

The report on his livestock was based on what he had on June 1, 1879:
2 horses
4 milch cows and 3 other cattle
1 calf dropped and 1 sold living
3 sheep
2 sold living, 1 slaughtered and 1 died of disease
21 swine
30 poultry
Production from these animals included 400 pounds of butter made on the farm, 3 wool fleeces of 18 pounds, and 125 eggs.

The final tally on his crops for 1879 included:
16 acres of Indian corn with production of 400 bushels
2 acres of oats with production of 100 bushels
12 acres of wheat with production of 200 bushels
1/8 acre of sorghum for 9 gallons of molasses
1/4 acre of potatoes for 40 bushels and
2 acres of apples

I think the evidence shows that Fred and Mary were subsistence farmers, feeding their family from the farm, like so many others of the time period.  I would imagine a large garden was part of this scenario, too.  Hardworking, children of immigrants, scraping by and celebrating their freedom in Freedom Township!