Old News Beat : The Fourth of July, 100 Years Ago

Independence Day happenings in the lives of our “FrankenGen” ancestors, 1915:

Frankenmuth News header
“The Frankenmuth News” header, 08 July 1915. [1]

Annual Big Time at Birch Run

The annual celebration of July 4th and picnic was held in Smith’s grove at Birch Run. A local band and a number of special features made an enjoyable day. Among the sports, the relay races and the needle race were the most closely contested. The speakers were Clarence Hall and James Lempman of Detroit, and Rev. Scott, Jos. Winslow, M. L. Hadseil, and William McGregor of Birch Run. A ball game between the married and single men was a feature of the afternoon. The married men were the victor by a score of 6 to 5.[2]

Richville Hotel Destroyed by Fire

The large wooden hotel at Richville, known as the Richville house, owned by Jacob Raquet Jr of Saginaw and conducted by Fred Ranke, was burned to the ground Sunday [4 July] morning. Nearly all the furniture was destroyed. With hard work nearby buildings were saved and the total destruction of the little town averted.

Mr. Ranke awoke and smelled smoke and running out of the house found the roof and third story in flames. He got his family out and the piano and children’s bed, but all the rest went up in smoke. Help from Reese and the efforts of the town people saved the rest of the town from destruction.[3]

And the The Saginaw Daily News reported:

Saginaw Ready For The Fourth

Several events are scheduled for Sunday [4 July] afternoon, including the automobile races at the Saginaw Racing association half mile tracks, and the public outdoor meeting at Hoyt park, where it is expected Senator William Alden Smith and Congressman Joseph W. Fordney will make addresses. At the Auditorium The News’ war pictures will be shown in the afternoon with two performances in the evening…

Monday for Main Celebration

Monday, July 5, is to be celebrated as the main holiday by the general public, and it is for that day the small boy has loaded up with firecrackers and similar preparations. Of the events Monday the culmination will be the fireworks display at Hoyt park in the evening following the admirable custom of other years; this eliminates any reason for private fireworks and bringing all the Saginaw family together for one joyous demonstration, the actual work being in the hands of experts, assuring safety with pleasure. In the afternoon, the big attraction will be the Ringling Brothers’ circus out on Genesee Avenue, near the city limits. In fact, the circus is expected to be here Sunday all day and this will unquestionably draw large crowds to that vicinity, the arrival and tenting of a circus still being one of the most powerful magnets known.

Special value is being given to Independence day this year, by reason of the European war, bringing its perplexities to this country and emphasizing the need of true patriotism and true citizenship. July Fourth is the Americans’ day, and all over the land the spirit of Americans is to see to it that it brings its lessons to all peoples living under the Stars and Stripes. The double holiday calls for the display of the Flag, both Sunday and Monday, and it is looked for that every Saginaw home and every Saginaw building possessing a flag display the same.[4]

Reference Notes:

[1] Header, The Frankenmuth News, 8 July 1915, p. 1; digital images, Frankenmuth Wickson District Library, Frankenmuth News Archives (http://www.frankenmutharchives.org : accessed 3 July 2015).

[2] “Annual Big Time at Birch Run,” The Frankenmuth News, 8 July 1915, p. 1, col. 4; digital images, Frankenmuth Wickson District Library, Frankenmuth News Archives (http://www.frankenmutharchives.org : accessed 3 July 2015).

[3] “Richville Hotel Destroyed By Fire,” The Frankenmuth News, 8 July 1915, p. 1, col. 6; digital images, Frankenmuth Wickson District Library, Frankenmuth News Archives (http://www.frankenmutharchives.org : accessed 3 July 2015).

[4] “Saginaw Ready For The Fourth,” The Saginaw Daily News, 3 July 1915, p. 1, col. 3; digital images, GenealogyBank (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 3 July 2015).

Tombstone Tuesday : Johann Georg Leonhardt & Anna Abalonia (Heinlein) Weber

Johann G. L. & Anna A. (Heinlein) Weber grave marker, St. Michael's Lutheran Cemetery, Richville, Michigan; 2012.
Johann G. L. & Anna A. (Heinlein) Weber grave marker, St. Michael’s Lutheran Cemetery, Richville, Michigan; 2012.

In honor of Veterans Day it is fitting to remember Johann Georg Leonhardt Weber (25 April 1847-21 May 1910).[1] Johann, or John, was born in Frankenmuth, the oldest child of two of Frankenmuth’s original founding settlers, Johann Conrad Weber and Kunigunde Barbara (Bernthal). John Weber fought in the American Civil War. At age seventeen he enlisted in the United States Army on 17 August 1864 in Company D, 29th Michigan Infantry.[2] The regiment participated in battles in Decatur, Alabama and Overall Creek, Winsted Church, Shelbyville Pike, and Nolansville, Tennessee.[3]

On 20 April 1876 John was married in Richville, Michigan to Anna Abalonia Heinlein (7 October 1852-19 January 1931).[4][5] The couple was married by the groom’s uncle, Rev. George Bernthal. They lived in Denmark Township, Tuscola County where John farmed.[6]

John and his wife both died in Denmark Township.[7] They are buried in St. Michael’s Lutheran Cemetery, Richville. Three children who died early are also inscribed on their grave marker.[8]

Reference Notes:

[1]Elaine Huber, translator, “St. Lorenz Lutheran Church (Frankenmuth, Michigan, Book I: (1847-1857),” (typescript, 1990, St. Lorenz Lutheran Church Offices, Frankenmuth), unpaginated, no. 4.

Tuscola County, Michigan, death certificate no. 9, John G. Weber, 21 May 1910; digital image, “Michigan, Death Records, 1897-1920,” The Archives of Michigan, Seeking Michigan (http://www.seekingmichigan.org : accessed 16 August 2012).

[2]Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-1865, 46 vols. (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Ihling Bros. & Everard, 1903[?]), 29: 68; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 November 2014).

[3]Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-1865, 29: 1 & 2.

[4]Tuscola County, Michigan, Marriage Registers [vol. ?], fo. 239, J. George Weber-Anna A. Heinlein, 30 April 1876; digital images, FamilySearch, ”Michigan, Marriages, 1868-1925” (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NQS8-BQX : accessed 10 November 2014).

[5]Tuscola County, Michigan, “Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KF7N-P8X : accessed 10 November 2014), entry for Anna Abalonia Weber, 19 January 1931.

[6]1900 U.S. census, Tuscola County, Michigan, population schedule, Denmark Township, enumeration district 109, sheet no. 5 A, dwelling 96, family 97, John G. and Abelonia [sic] Weber; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 November 2014); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 744.

[7]Tuscola County, Michigan, death certificate no. 9, John G. Weber, 21 May 1910.

Tuscola County, Michigan, “Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952,” database entry for Anna Abalonia Weber, 19 January 1931.

[8]St. Michael’s Lutheran Cemetery (Richville, Michigan), Johann G. L. & Anna A. Weber marker; personally read, 2012.

The Letters of Carl Gottlob Ammann : First Settler of Frankenhilf

 “No doubt you have been curious for some time how large our Frankenhilf colony will be. Do not be disturbed when I tell you that as of now my family is the only one that will go there.”

-Carl Gottlob Ammann

Carl Gottlob Ammann (surname also spelled Amman) and his family were the first settlers of Frankenhilf, known today as Richville. Frankenhilf was founded in 1850, the fourth and last of Pastor Wilhelm Loehe’s mission colonies in the Saginaw Valley. Three letters written by Ammann were preserved and translated, and this typescript is now available for free download on FamilySearch.

The first letter relates the settlers’ journey across the ocean and onward to Frankenmuth. Ammann discusses the settlement at Frankenmuth, the defection of his fellow colonists, the procurement of provisions, and the selection of the site of his family’s new home.

“During the winter many Indians on the hunt camped near us…They are civilized to a certain extent, but they have no permanent residence.”

Gottlob Ammann’s second letter to his parents tells of local Native American population, the construction of a road from Frankenmuth to Frankenhilf, the clearing and planting of the land, and the construction of his family’s new log cabin home. He also explores his and other settlers’ adaptation to life in America.

“There will always be a Christmas tree decorated with homemade confections.”

Pending Christmas plans are outlined in Ammann’s 1852 letter. He exchanges family news with his parents and discusses the burgeoning church which meets in his home.

Details found in the letters help paint a picture of early life in Frankenmuth and Frankenhilf. Mentions of other early settlers in the area are also sprinkled throughout the texts. They are a worthwhile read for those researching family in this area.

Source:

Ammann, Carl Gottlieb; Vollmer, George, translator; Hock, Albert L., translator. “Letters of Carl Gottlieb Ammann: the first settler in Frankenhilf, 1851.” Typescript, n.d., FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 17 July 2014), Family History Books.

Tombstone Tuesday : Woldemar Von Renner

Woldemar Von Renner grave marker, St. Michael's Lutheran Cemetery, Richville, Michigan.
Woldemar Von Renner grave marker, St. Michael’s Lutheran Cemetery, Richville, Michigan.

 

Karl August Woldemar Von Renner (18 December 1838-17 November 1918) was born in Lübben-an-den-Spree, Brandenburg, Prussia.[1] With his parents and siblings he immigrated to the United States in 1855 aboard the Bark Copernicus.[2] The family settled in Illinois.[3] In 1869 he married Dorothea Bernthal in Frankenmuth.[4] Woldemar attended the Concordia Theological Seminary to become a teacher and graduated in 1859. He served congregations in Michigan; St. Louis, Missouri; and Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1874 he began teaching at Frankenlust, Michigan, and in 1881 he began his tenure at Richville, serving as both teacher and principal of St. Michael’s parochial school district.[5] In total he worked as a teacher for 53 years.[6]

Woldemar passed away at his home in Denmark Township, Tuscola County, Michigan.[7] A small headstone marks his burial location in St. Michael’s Lutheran Cemetery.[8]

Sources:

[1]”Jubilee Celebration and Most Remarkable Tribute to Lutheran Pastor and Teacher,” The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, 15 August 1909; digital images, Ancestry.com , Historical Newspapers Collection.

[2]”New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2014), manifest, Bark Copernicus, 23 June 1855, list stamped 540, “Erste Cajute” [First Cabin] line no. 3, Waldemar von Renner, age 16; citing microfilm publication M237 (Washington: National Archives and Records Administration), roll 153.

[3]”Jubilee Celebration and Most Remarkable Tribute to Lutheran Pastor and Teacher,” The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, 15 August 1909; digital images, Ancestry.com , Historical Newspapers Collection.

[4] ibid.

[5] ibid.

[6] “W. Von Renner Dies at Richville, Age 80,” The Frankenmuth (Michigan) News, 21 November 1918, p. 1, col. 6; digital images, The Frankenmuth Archives (http://www.frankenmutharchives.org : accessed 29 April 2014).

[7] ibid.

[8]St. Michael’s Lutheran Cemetery (Richville, Tuscola County, Michigan), W. V. Renner marker; personally read, 2012.

Tombstone Tuesday : Rev. Georg Bernthal

Rev. Georg Bernthal grave marker, St. Michael's Lutheran Cemetery, Richville, Michigan.
Rev. Georg Bernthal grave marker, St. Michael’s Lutheran Cemetery, Richville, Michigan.

Georg Bernthal (09 November 1837-08 March 1913) was born in Roßtal, Bavaria, the youngest child of Georg Martin and Anna Barbara (Bloß) Bernthal. He immigrated to Frankenmuth in 1846, arriving with the second group of settlers. Georg studied for the ministry at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. From 1859 to 1862 he served Zion Lutheran Church in Bonfield, Kankakee County, Illinois as their first pastor. He served as pastor of  St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Richville, Michigan for 50 years from 1862 until his retirement in 1912. He is laid to rest in St. Michael’s Lutheran Cemetery alongside his second and third wives and his daughter Magdalena.

Rev. Georg Bernthal grave marker inscription, St. Michael's Lutheran Cemetery, Richville, Michigan.
Rev. Georg Bernthal grave marker inscription, St. Michael’s Lutheran Cemetery, Richville, Michigan.

Tombstone Tuesday

Delma A. M. Gugel gravemarker, St. Michael's Lutheran Cemetery, Richville, Michigan.
Delma A. M. Gugel grave marker, St. Michael’s Lutheran Cemetery, Richville, Michigan.

Delma A. M. Gugel’s short life is memorialized with a photograph inserted onto her gravestone. I’ve stumbled across just a couple such stones in the Franken-colonies, and Delma’s was the only example of a grave marker with its photographic plate extant.