2014-05-30

Research trip journal, day 12

2014.05.19 Monday


2014.05.20 Tuesday


2014.05.21 Wednesday


2014.05.22 Thursday


2014.05.23 Friday


2014.05.24 Saturday


2014.05.25 Sunday


2014.05.26 Monday


2014.05.27 Tuesday


2014.05.28 Wednesday


2014.05.29 Thursday


2014.05.30 Friday

Because the internet connection in my Econolodge room was faulty, I slept fitfully. Finally at 4:00 a.m., I decided that I wasn't sleeping and should work to get a good connection. I phoned the desk, and the clerk gave me a number for technical support. The technician created a special exception for my firewall and successfully provided a network node. I spent the next two hours preparing for the rest of my work in Leavenworth. I decided to reverse my plans, eat a breakfast in the hotel, tour and photograph the city, and go to the cemetery as the last task before leaving for Dayton.

Leavenworth City Tour


I began the driving tour that was suggested online, but realized that it revealed little of the Leavenworth contemporary to the Michael Kohn family. I photographed some of the warehouses near the landing, and began searching for the known Michael Kohn residences. Seven addresses were given in the censuses and city directories.
  • 909 North 7th Street (1882)—One source includes this address, which may be a typographic error. No building is at the location today.
    722 Kickapoo, Leavenworth, Kansas
    (2014, likely not a contemporary home)
  • 720 Kickapoo Street (1884-1893)—This residence was the family's most constant location, which indicates some stability in their finances. The present building, which is numbered 722, is unlikely to be the original building. (The building to the east is numbered 718, and the building to the west is 724.) The gables and porch seem to fit into 1910s or 1920s architecture styles. View from the west.
I had parked opposite the house, in front of a similar house where two women and a child were sitting on the stoop. The child asked me why I was photographing the house. "Because my great grandfather's brother lived there," I told him. The young woman with him said, "Well, I hope he wasn't kicked out of it like we've been. We're waiting for a truck now to take us away from here."
  •  523 North 4th Street (1894)—No building is at this location today.
    919 N 7th, Leavenworth, Kansas
    (2014, likely a contemporary building)
  • 919 North 7th Street (1896)—This location faces a busy street today, and I have little reason to suspect otherwise for the city of the 1890s. The entrances to the three apartments seem to be modified from the original only in the height of the outer opening for the step to the door. The apartment nearest the street corner appears to have been modified with clapboard siding that might have replaced a set of display windows for a street-facing business. On the left is an entrance for apartments 3 and 4, likely a stairway to the upstairs.
    833 Pottawatomie, Leavenworth, Kansas
    (2014, likely not a contemporary home)
  • 831 Pottawatomie Street (1899)—This location does not have a building contemporary to the Michael Kohn residence. The present building, which is numbered 833, is unlikely to be the original building. (The building to the east is numbered 829, and the building to the west is 837.) The gables and porch seem to fit into 1920s architecture styles. View from the west.
  • 417 North 7th Street (1900-1905)—No building is at this location today.
    786 Osage, Leavenworth, Kansas
    (likely not a contemporary home)
  • 784 Osage Street (1907)—This location also does not have a building contemporary to the Theodore Kohn residence. The present building, which is numbered 786, is unlikely to be the original building. (The building to the east is numbered 782, and the building to the west is 788.) The gables and porch seem to fit into 1920s architecture styles. View from the east. 
While I was photographing the house, a neighbor eyed me from 788 Osage, and a man stepped out from the barber shop at 792 Osage. A barechested man opened the screen door of 786, staring at me, and a boy leaned out behind him.The barber asked, "What's up with the camera?" I told him my reason, and he said, "Well, people in this neighborhood don't think anything good can come from somebody photographing their place. Especially someone in a van with out of state plates. But go ahead and do what you want." He nodded at the man and boy at 786, and motioned them to go inside while I took the photos. I thanked him as I closed up the camera and observed, "It's a good sign that you watch out for each other here. Not every street has a careful neighborhood watch." He smiled and wished me luck in my research.
All the addresses are now in poor neighborhoods, and the size of each home implies the residents are in the lower working class or welfare stratum. Reading the number of families enumerated in the 1895 through 1905 censuses, it is likely that the blocks now with 1920s single homes had been tenement row houses or low apartment buildings.

St. Joseph Catholic Church


This last address is within a half block from St. Joseph Catholic church. When I found it locked, I went to the parish office and asked for access. The woman at reception could not leave her position and called the bookkeeper to open the church for me. As we walked to the church, we talked about the German heritage festival that comes in early June. St. Joseph was formed to serve the German population, while the cathedral parish was formed for the Irish. Today the parish has no German speakers, though many still recognize their German background.

I drove through Fort Leavenworth, as suggested by online information for the city. A few sections of the facility seem to date from earlier times, including a few residences and a set of warehouse buildings that overlook a bend of the Missouri River. However, none of the original fort has been preserved except small portions in the on-site museum.

Mount Calvary Cemetery


Some might think my research at the cemetery was disappointing. Quite the contrary; I believe I was able to corroborate my inferences from the Kohn family's homes.

In early May, I had written to the cemetery to inquire about burials I hoped to find:
  • Kohn, Francis John, died 22 July 1879
  • Kohn, John R., died 5 May 1883
  • Kohn, John, died 24 July 1905
  • Kohn, Michael, died 4 Sept 1905
  • Kohn, Theresia, died 22 Nov 1891
I also asked about other possible Kohn burials, children from the same family who appear in the state and federal censuses through 1910:
  • Kohn, Matthew, death date unknown, after 1895
  • Kohn, John R., date unknown, after 1905
  • Kohn, Peter, date unknown, after 1900
  • Kohn, Annie, date unknown, after 1905
  • Kohn, Leo, date unknown, after 1905 
Her response by phone had not been helpful, in which she claimed nobody named Kohn was buried there.

I drove about 3 miles south from Fort Leavenworth to Eisenhower Road, and then east about a mile to Desoto Road, which allows entrance to Mount Calvary cemetery. Prepared with the information available in the city library, the document Mount Calvary Cemetery Index: Leavenworth County, Kansas volume 1 (1869-1919),[compiled and published by Erwin C. Baker and Charles F. Pierce, Leavenworth KS, 1983] I had several line numbers that I could give to Gladys Armstrong [check name]. She checked the database she was currently building from hand- and typewritten records, found conflicting information, and brought out an original and very worn ledger of interments. She explained that the original ledgers had many inconsistencies and duplicated numbers for line entries. I photographed the two-page spreads as we looked up each line number I had.
  • Line number 1278 (page 48)—John R. Kohn, [died] Leavenworth 1883.05.05, [cause] measles, [parents] Mcl - Teresa Kohn, [marital status] single, [location] Single Grave, [remarks] German church, [priest] J.F. Cunningham
  • Line number 3243 (page 75)—Theresia Kohn, Germany 1852, Leavenworth Kan  21.91, paralysis, Theodore & Gertrude [Donebar or Dauter? inserted above], married, Single grave, German church, J.F. Cunningham
  • Line number 4422 (page 117)—Mary E. Rumpau, Michigan [This logged entry is not a match.]
  • Line number 4422 (page 124)—John Kohn, 11worth 1884, 11worth Kan, July 24/05, consumption, Michael & Teresa, single, single grave, St. Joseph's, John Ward 
  • Line number 4440 (page 118)—Julia Gunn, Ireland [This logged entry is not a match.]
  • Line number 4440 (page 125)—Michael Kohn, Leavenworth 1878, 11worth [Leavenworth]  Sept 4/05, consumption, Michael & Teresa, single, single grave, St. Joseph's, John Ward 
  • Line number 4555 (page 120)—Thomas Flanigan, Ireland [This logged entry is not a match.]
  • Line number 4555 (page 132)—Michael Kohn, Germany 1845, 11worth Aug. 26/07, Consumption, [no entry], married, single grave, St. Joseph's, P.R. McNamoran[?]
Every citation listed the burial to be in the "single burial section," in the extreme southwest corner of the cemetery, beyond the crucifix.
Gladys explained that the section held welfare and poverty cases as well as deceased with no next of kin or family burial plot. In most cases, the burial would have no stone to mark its location. There is, she said, some chronological order to the interments. The very oldest are in the southwest corner, and later interments occurred in groups, somewhat arranged in concentric rings of a quarter circle.

I went to the single section, read each stone that could be made out—many were in greatly pitted or poorly etched stone, many were overgrown with heavy moss, only very few in granite that could withstand the elements. I photographed the section, absent finding any stone for members of the Kohn family.

I left the cemetery and city with the understanding that the Michael Kohn family existed at the precipice of poverty. Theirs was no story of a successful immigrant, nor even of proudly making a meager living despite economic forces set against him. Perhaps there is little wonder that the family members often died young and that the family died out in the area.

Return to Dayton


My drive to Dayton included a more leisurely stretch that jogged south from Columbia to Jefferson City so I could follow the Katy Trail from Jefferson City to Case. The Katy Trail is a 237-mile bikeway that starts in Clinton (southeast of Kansas City) and from Boonville follows the Missouri River as it passes through the state. The trail is a separated, tree-lined, crushed-rock path that has few intersectons with roadways. State Highway 94 roughly parallels the trail from Jefferson City to Weldon Spring (southwest of St. Charles). I returned to the freeway west of Warrenton, and continued toward Dayton with only one gas stop in Pocahontas IL. I arrived home after almost twelve hours of driving, at 11:00 p.m. Dayton time.

Chronology of the Leavenworth Kohn Family



End of the Journal

Leavenworth—alternate home views

720 Kickapoo (1884-1893)

722 Kickapoo Street (from the west), Leavenworth, Kansas

















831 Pottawatomie (1899)

831 Pottawatomie Street (from the west), Leavenworth, Kansas
















 784 Osage (1907)

784 Osage Street (from the east), Leavenworth, Kansas


Chronology of Michael Kohn family

1844.07.19—birth of Michael Kohn in Wasserliesch, Kreis Saarburg, Rheinland-Pfalz, Deutschland. His baptism record of 1844.07.21 gives the birth date and  his parents.

1854—approximate birth of Theresia Loerscher, as calculated from the marriage registration. Her birth may be 1853.10.19 in Aachen, Nordrhein-Westfalen.

1871.06.17—application for emigration by Michael Kohn, as also reported in the Wasserliesch Kirchenbuch. His occupation is reported as "Schreiner" (cabinet maker or carpenter).

1872.11.01—application from Michael Kohn to the Wisconsin Circuit Court for naturalization.

1874.04.21—marriage of Michael Kohn and Theresia Loerscher (spelling uncertain) in La Crosse, La Crosse county, Wisconsin. The date and names of the couple and their parents are documents in a list of Wisconsin marriage registrations from 1851 to 1907.

1875—enumerated in the Kansas State Census of Beloit township, Mitchell county, Kansas.

1876—residence reported for Michael Kohn "on Second Street between King and Jay Streets" in the La Crosse city directory. A lag of up to a year can be expected between the information gathering and publication.

1879.07.22—death in Leavenworth of Francis John Kohn, who was born 1874 in "Omaha, Nebraska." The death index identifies this entry as "line 990" in some primary source. (The name "Francis" and the location seem to be unusual for the family, but the information needs to be checked to eliminate it or contradict my assumptions.)

1880—enumeration of the Michael Kohn family in Beloit city, Mitchell county, Kansas. The U.S. Federal Census enumerates them at that location under the name "Mike Cohen" age 36 born in Prussia with wife "Thressa" age 27, son Theodore age 5 born in Kansas, son Matt age 3 born in Kansas, and son Mike age 2 born in Kansas.

1882—residence reported as "Kohn, Michael, carpenter, r 909 7th" in Green's Leavenworth Directory, p 121.

1883—residence reported as "Kohn, Michael, carpenter, Willcott & Steir, r 909 7th" in Green's Leavenworth Directory, p 138.

1883.05.05—death of John R. Kohn, who was born 1881.01.05. The death index identifies this entry as "line 1278" in its primary source, which reads "[died] Leavenworth 1883.05.05, [cause] measles, [parents] Mcl - Teresa Kohn, [marital status] single, [location] Single Grave, [remarks] German church, [priest] J.F. Cunningham".

1884—residence reported as "Kohn, Michael, carpenter, Willcott & Stier, r 720 Kickapoo" in Green's Leavenworth Directory, p 153.

1884—calculated birth of John Kohn.

1885—enumeration of "Michl" Kohn (carpenter age 40 born in Germany) family in Kansas State Census of Leavenworth county, Leavenworth. Members: wife Teresa age 28 born Germany, son Theodore age 10 born Kansas, son "Mattew" age 8 born Kansas, son "Michl" age 7 born Kansas, and daughter Gertie age 4 born Kansas. A census index in the Leavenworth library cites three entries under Kohn: a Geo numbered 142 on page 469, a Geo numbered 142 on page 473, and a Michl numbered 142 on page 581.

1891.11.22—death of Theresa Kohn age 40 at 720 Kickapoo in Leavenworth. Her burial occurs on the next day at Mount Calvary. The death is caused by "paralysis," and Michael Kohn is identified as the next of kin. The Interment Register has line number 3243 (page 75) "Theresia Kohn, Germany 1852, Leavenworth Kan  21.91, paralysis, Theodore & Gertrude [Donebar or Dauter? inserted above], married, Single grave, German church, J.F. Cunningham".

1895—enumeration of Michael Kohn (carpenter age 50 born in Germany) family in Kansas State Census of Leavenworth county, Leavenworth. Members: Mathias age 17 born Wisconsin occupation cook, and Michael age 15 born Wisconsin (studying to be) carpenter.

1900.06.08—enumerated Michael Kohn as a widowed carpenter born June 1843 in Germany in the U.S. Federal Census of Leavenworth, with a location of North First Street in Ward 4. Family members include: son Michael born Dec. 1877 in Wisconsin, daughter Gertrude born Aug. 1880 in Kansas, son John R. born June 1884 Kansas, and son Peter born May 1877 in Wisconsin. Problematic is the statement that Michael Jr. and Peter were born seven months apart. Perhaps Peter is not a son, but the nephew Peter, the son of John M. Kohn who was born 1877.07.17?

1900.11.22—marriage of Gertrude Kohn to Arthur N. Wales, as listed in the marriage index in the Leavenworth library, which cites an entry in book K, page 164.

1901 to 1917—divorce proceedings between Gertrude Kohn and Arthur N. Wales, as listed in the divorce index in the Leavenworth library, which cites an entry 146-78.

1905—family of Michael Kohn (carpenter age 60 born in Germany) enumerated in Kansas State Census of Leavenworth county, Leavenworth. Members: son Michael Jr. age 27 born Kansas occupation carpenter, son John age 20 born Kansas occupation Bookbinder, son Leo age 17 born Kansas occupation R. Road Fireman, and daughter Annie age 15 born Germany. This information was reported by another researcher, and some of the assertions are now suspect (particularly concerning Leo and Annie).

1905.07.24—death of John Kohn at St. John Hospital of consumption at age 21. Burial is at Mount Calvary with Haas & Brown undertakers and A.J. Smith as certifying physician. The death index identifies this entry as line 4422. The Interment Register has line number 4422 (page 124) "John Kohn, 11worth 1884, 11worth Kan, July 24/05, consumption, Michael & Teresa, single, single grave, St. Joseph's, John Ward".

1905.09.04—death of Michael Kohn, Jr. at St. John Hospital of consumption at age 28. Burial is at Mount Calvary with Haas & Brown undertakers and Risdon as certifying physician. The death index identifies this entry as line 4440. The Interment Register has line number 4440 (page 125) "Michael Kohn, Leavenworth 1878, 11worth [Leavenworth]  Sept 4/05, consumption, Michael & Teresa, single, single grave, St. Joseph's, John Ward".

1907.08.26—death of Michael Kohn, Sr. at 784 Osage Street of tuberculosis at age 62. Burial is at Mount Calvary with O'Donnell undertakers and Darrah as certifying physician. The death index identifies this entry as line 4555. The Interment Register has line number 4555 (page 132) "Michael Kohn, Germany 1845, 11worth Aug. 26/07, Consumption, [no entry], married, single grave, St. Joseph's, P.R. McNamoran[?]".

1915.09.04—death of Arthur N Wales with no corroborative information.

1924.09.29—death of Theodore Kohn at age 49. Burial is at the Ft. Leavenworth National Cemetery, location 2266-B. He was a Technical Sergeant in the U.S.Army and a veteran of the Spanish-American War.

Difficulties Encountered

At least one other Kohn family of Leavenworth in this period is unrelated. The family is likely Jewish. Their residences or businesses are likely at these addresses:
612 Cherokee (Charles Kohn and George Kohn, 1879, 1882)
North Shawnee (Charles Kohn and George Kohn, 1879)
311 Osage
111 N. Broadway (Charles Kohn and George Kohn, 1882)
407 N. 3rd
585 Miami
771 Osage
518 S. Esplanade

Gertrude Kohn-Wales is unaccounted for after her marriage in 1900.

Matthew Kohn is unaccounted for after the 1895 census.

The son Peter Kohn of 1900 is unreliable, but reported in the transcribed census index available from the LDS website.

Uncorroborated Assertions

In the 1900 census Theodore Kohn is found serving in the U.S. Army in the Phillipines.

The 1905 Kansas State Census of Leavenworth, Leavenworth Co. includes these members of the Michael Kohn family:
  • John Kohn age 20 born Kansas occupation Bookbinder (there is a John Kohn 1884-Jul. 24, 1905 buried in Mt. Calvary Cemetery)
  • Leo Kohn age 17 born Kansas occupation R. Road Fireman
  • Annie Kohn age 15 born Germany

2014-05-29

Research trip journal, day 11

2014.05.19 Monday


2014.05.20 Tuesday


2014.05.21 Wednesday


2014.05.22 Thursday


2014.05.23 Friday


2014.05.24 Saturday


2014.05.25 Sunday


2014.05.26 Monday


2014.05.27 Tuesday


2014.05.28 Wednesday


2014.05.29 Thursday

I drove due south from Osborne to reach I-70 as soon as possible. The route was nice via KS 281 to Luray, KS 18 for a few miles to Lucas, and then a scenic highway across Wilson Dam to the interstate. The entire leg took 2.5 hours. (I was expecting a drive time of 1.5 hours!)

Millie Corbett-Fink Interview

The interview with Millie Fink was more an introduction to each other, since we've carried on an exchange of emails prior to this meeting. Millie is an active genealogist, though she confesses to doing her documentation and name entry to make it convenient to her needs. Perhaps, she advised, that the result is not in line with "established practice." To me, that is okay as an interim step, since many family history buffs barely write anything down.

I pulled out my audio recorder soon after sitting at her kitchen table. It's a good thing, since her information came like leaves falling in an autumn windstorm. Lots of isolated tidbits that eventually get pulled together into a bushel basket.

When I interviewed Fronnie Slothower, Millie's information was stressed as an important source of all the family detail that my database lacks. Millie was happy to work with me to create a GEDCOM from her data software... The name of the software escapes me, but it seemed to perform a good part of the functions of Legacy, which I use. The key was to export a GEDCOM, which the software seemed to hang on, after it had paced through all the individuals. Its progress screen didn't report processing marriages, locations, or sources. So I hope the result is complete.

More to come after I've checked the recording and the output file...

On to Leavenworth

The drive to Leavenworth was through stretches of I-70 that I knew well from traveling to and from KU. My phone connectivity was very poor, and messages I left for Paul Deneke and Joe Hyde were likely too garbled to be understandable. I tried to leave two each, hoping that some part of the drive had better connectivity.

I was arriving so late that I went directly to the Leavenworth Public Library instead of checking in at the Econolodge as I drove past it. I would have to retrace my path by about five miles to do so.

I researched the Leavenworth City Directories and found five or more addresses for the family from 1879 through 1918. I photographed them all, opening to pages for "Cohn," "Cone," Kone," "Kohn," "Krohn," and "Kuhn" to make sure that typical misspellings were available for later review. Before she left a bit after 5:00 p.m., the librarian brought several other books with indexes to marriages, deaths, and burials. She said the birth indexes were online and at the courthouse. The marriage index at the library showed Gertrude Kohn's marriage. The death index and burial index may help me find the graves for the family in Mount Calvary cemetery. I finished by 8:30 with photographs of the relevant index entries, a half hour before the library was to close.

After a passable Thai meal downtown, I spent the evening at the hotel identifying the files. Unfortunately the internet connection in the motel was unavailable throughout the evening. I had not printed any materials in advance, so an online connection was critical here. When I called the front desk about the connection, I was assured the internet would be available by the morning. I woke at 4:00 a.m., found the wireless could not connect, complained again, and was given a tech support number. The service set up an exception for my computer so I could pass through the firewall, whether it was theirs or mine. With that, I was able to plan my drive through the city to photograph homes and churches, as well as to plan alternative routes for the drive home.

Chronology of the Leavenworth Kohn Family

The Michael Kohn family did not have a happy time in Leavenworth. He continued to work as a carpenter, and one son followed the same occupation.

2014.05.30 Friday


2014-05-28

Research trip journal, day 10


2014.05.19 Monday


2014.05.20 Tuesday


2014.05.21 Wednesday


2014.05.22 Thursday


2014.05.23 Friday


2014.05.24 Saturday


2014.05.25 Sunday


2014.05.26 Monday


2014.05.27 Tuesday


2014.05.28 Wednesday

I had been in contact with St. Boniface Catholic church in Tipton, Kansas over several months. My first questions were on the parish history, then on the physical properties of their parish registers. Then, I listed all the sacramental "events" I hoped to document in family while they lived in and near Tipton. From this preparation, they realized I had much more to accomplish than merely a few baptisms and marriages. We came to agreement that I might do the work in place of the secretary, who typically answered isolated requests for parish records.

I arrived at the parish office around 10:30 today and introduced myself to Fr. Damian Richards and his mother. Fr. Damian and I spoke a bit about the parameters of photographing parts of the parish registers: I could photograph the double-page spreads, but I could only photograph those spreads that presented information for the Kohn, Ohnsat, Reinert, Gradig, Steichen, Schandler, Streit, Gasper, Gillen, Schwinden, Simeon, Ottley, Deneke, Ottley, and Riedel families—the in-law families of each of my uncles, aunts, granduncles, and grandaunts.

Baptism Register 03

I began with a fairly recent baptismal register, reading the entries and photographing a page where I saw a relative's name. At Fr. Damian's suggestion, I stopped the photography around 1960 and at the time to break for lunch. Baptism Register 03 has a full description of the source, although not the pages themselves.


The entries held a surprise for me: Some Kohn families who eventually lived some distance from Tipton had several baptisms performed at St. Boniface. It may be they resided nearby and later moved or they returned to Tipton for the baptism in their "home parish." My first cousins once removed, Ves and Ernest Kohn, who lived in Cawker City, Kansas, brought their babies to St. Boniface for baptism; my uncle Nick Kohn brought his babies from as far as Burr Oak in Jewell county for baptisms at St. Boniface.



Baptism Register 02

After lunch I set up the next previous baptismal register and photographed relevant pages through its entirety. "Baptismorum Registrum" appears to be the oldest baptism register; its spine, covers, and pages are very worn. But it is not the oldest; I was to photograph the rebound first volume next. Baptism Register 02 has a full description of this source.

I noticed also that at least one bound volume was missing. When I expressed concern that it was mislaid, Fr. Damian admitted that he had removed the more recent register of marriages, first communions, and confirmations from those that I could photograph.








Baptism Register 01

The earliest baptismal register, "Baptismorum Registrum Tipton, Kans 1884-1929" on the spine only has been rebound. The spine and covers exhibit only light shelf wear. The text, however, shows greater wear, discoloration and fragility at the edges of all pages; the ink on some pages has become quite faded.  Baptism Register 01 has a full description of the source.













Marriage Register 01

The first register of marriages is bound together with the first registers of first communions and confirmations. The title on the cover reads "Register of Marriages 1884-1935; First Communions 1890-1949; Confirmations 1892-1949 Vol. 1." Marriage, Communion, and Confirmation Registers 01 has a full description of the source. The photography went much more quickly, since the format of the marriage entries presented names per page. Thus, the criterion of one appearance of any of the family names was met on every spread.

Several marriages of brides from Beloit occurred at St. Boniface.

Confirmation Register 01

Similarly for the confirmation registers, which typically consisted of the names of a dozen or more youth receiving the sacrament. Every page was photographed.

First Communion Register 01

The registers here also consisted of lists of children receiving their first communion, generally 8 to 15 at a time. Every page was photographed.

Funeral Register 01

The state of this register is alarming. The original saddle-stitch binding was fairly inadequate for use as a register. Most pages are loose and torn at the fold of the saddle. Most pages are extremely worn at the edges. The paper is discolored, although the paper likely did not have a high acid content. At least that aspect has helped preserve the register, such as it is. The handwritten title reads "Liber Mortuorum Ecclesiae St Bonifacis Loco Tipton, Mitchell County Kansas 1884 to April 1914." Funeral Register 01 has a full description of the source.

The register entries were very short, and several entries could fit on a page. Because the criterion could be easily met, I was able to photograph each page.




Funeral Register 02

This volume has no title. Its covers are edged with adhesive plastic wrapping tape. Many pages have damage to the edges, and some pages are loose. Its poor condition is second only to Funeral Register 01.  Funeral Register 02 has a full description of the source.




Tipton Heritage Museum

I finished photography by 4 p.m., and called Carolyn Ellenz to meet at the Tipton museum. She and her husband Dave have been working on the museum since 2007, and it has been open to visitors since late 2013. Carolyn led me through the displays, which fill the ground floor and part of the 2nd floor. She showed me their acquisitions about Caledonia, Minnesota, which was the first home of many families who resettled to Tipton. The amount of background information about that town is second only to the Houston County Historical Museum in Caledonia! She also proudly showed the genealogical studies of area families that local genealogists had published.
  • Tipton Heritage Museum
  • Hours:  1:00 to 4:00 p.m. each Friday
  • Special hours:  (to be determined) Saturday and Sunday of the St. Boniface Harvest Festival (first weekend in August)
  • Location: 602 Main Street, Tipton KS 67485 
  • Phone:  785-373-4315
Carolyn spoke of their outreach to local schools and the interest evidenced by volunteer workers in the museum. We shared ideas on making fragile documents available to researchers, rotating displays from the museum placed in local storefronts, and digitally archiving some of their collection.

John M. Kohn parcel, section 25, Carr Ckreek twp, 1884
I had asked Carolyn to print three files that showed portions of the 1884 plat map for Carr Creek township. My great-grandfather John M. Kohn homesteaded in section 25 for a few years before he relocated to La Crosse, Wisconsin in late 1880.  (In the portion of the 1884 plat map shown here, the southwest quarter of section 25 was then owned by H. Hodge. The transfer to Hodge occurred shortly before John M. moved his family to La Crosse, Wisconsin in late 1880.) He and his wife Susanna (Reinert) were enumerated here in the 1875 Kansas census and the 1880 U.S. Federal census. I have transcribed the land patent that documents the transfer to John M. under the Homestead Act. A family document refers to their dugout and sod house that they lived in while "proving" the land.

Also in Carr Creek were the farms owned by William Schwinden, the father-in-law to Peter Reinert, and John Schwinden, a brother-in-law.
William and John Schwinden parcels, sections 15 & 16, Carr Ckreek twp, 1884
The 1884 plat maps show both farms adjacent to each other. William owns the NW quarter of section 15, and John owns an irregular parcel in the N half of section 14.

Going to Section 25 in Carr Creek township

After 7:30, Frank Ohnsat.and his wife Marilyn showed up at the museum. It was nearing the end of their work day. Frank advised me on finding the 1874-1880 residence of John M. Kohn with accurate advice on roads, as the property was near Frank's farm. I left to photograph that location while Frank drove home an implement that he needed for the next day's work. We would meet after sunset.

Although I had 1884 and 1902 maps for locations of William and John Schwinden properties in Carr Creek township, I didn't explore their current appearance. Sunset was approaching, and I wanted to have time at the Kohn homestead.

Self-portrait at the homestead—SW quarter of section 25 with Mill Creek dividing the land
The sod home in Carr Creek township where John M. and Susanna Kohn lived has long gone, but the charm of the location remains. The creek is a small one named Mill Creek, and it was dry today. It set off a small area that could be suitable for livestock—John M. had a few cattle, a horse, some swine. The creek, though small, is impassible for tilling implements; access can only be made by the roads at the parcel's west and south boundaries.


Frank and Marilyn Ohnsat



I headed west to Frank's farm along the dirt roads from the John M. Kohn homestead. I arrived a bit before they did, but the timing was almost spot on. Today as I viewed the St. Boniface baptism records, I realized that Frank is just 25 days older than I. For some reason, my database had his birth year as 1950. We had a wide-ranging conversation about the economics of farming today. His farmland is in three areas: next to his home, where his father and grandfather farmed just west of Tipton, and land about 25 miles away, near Lucas, Kansas. We spoke of Frank's sisters and parents, of growing up in a small town, the reliance on towns like Osborne, Beloit, and Cawker City.

I got to know Marilyn, who had grew up just north of the Kansas-Nebraska border and graduated from Marymount, as did her sisters. (Again my database has been faulty: it reported her birthplace as Missouri.)

Their daughter Amy came home, and we talked about her new job as a teacher at St. Boniface schools.

I headed back to Riverbend by rock roads until I reached KS-181, bypassing Tipton and an additional 12 miles. The way reached the blacktop a bit south of Corinth elevator, where floodlights made the buildings stand tall in the dark, Kansas night.

2014.05.29 Thursday


2014.05.30 Friday










St. Boniface, Tipton KS Baptismal Register 01

Baptism Register 01

The earliest baptismal register of St. Boniface Catholic church in Tipton KS is titled "Baptismorum Registrum Tipton, Kans 1884-1929" on the spine only . The register has been rebound, for the spine and covers exhibit only light shelf wear. The text, however, shows greater wear, discoloration and fragility at the edges of all pages; the ink on some pages has become quite faded. The binding is tight, and the page format allows no gutter. Thus, the remarks column on even pages and the name column on odd pages are sometimes difficult to read completely. In recognition of the fragile paper, my photography did not force the page spreads open.

The inside title page provides a generic title for the line of prnted books: "Batismorum Registrum, ad mentum patrum Concilii Provincialis Baltimorensis X. Concinnatum; et ab IIImo ac Revmo Baltimorensi Metropolitano probatum." (Baptismal Register to remember families ...) Publication data includes, in English tranlation, "Tenth and further edition. Baltimore. Published by John Murphy, Printer for his holiness archbishop of Baltimore." The colophon page provides additional Imprimatur statements and an example entry. A handwritten note reads, "St. Boniface Congregation was organized as a parish (quasi-parroesia) in 1880. The first resident pastor was the Rev. Clemens Niemann. The Tipton territory was first settled by Catholics in 1872. The Reinert family came that year in 1873 and in 1874 the Boden and Gasper families." The note is neither signed nor dated.

Index

The printed Index pages (two letters per double-page spread) have entries, although checking their reliability has not been done yet. However, no index page refers to pages after about 175, so the index is certainly incomplete for baptisms after about 1907. The last two index pages, which do not include printed letters, contain several handwritten notes. The notes record baptisms that might have been performed during the pastoral residence of Rev. Robert Loehrer and before Rev. Frederick Schalk. I presume the notations are actually transcripts of baptisms performed elsewhere.
  • Theresia Pollard baptism 1901.05.21
  • John Newman (Hake) 1900.10.16
  • Joseph Hatfield 1899.05.22
  • Joseph Zern 1900.01.06
  •  Dalia Kelly 1900.04.21
  • Marie Gerard 1901.05.03
  • Katie Lafferty 1899.11.14
  • These entries are summarized with "Orphan children in this congregation Dec. 31.1903 Rev. T Walleser"
  • John Peter Thille baptism 1880.08.22
  • Edmund John Fischer 1884.05.10

Register Entries

The pages are pre-printed for four entries per page. The column titles read, in translation from the Latin, "Family," "Year-day-month," "Register of baptism," and "Remarks." The pre-printed text for the register reads, in translation from the Latin, "I the undersigned baptized," "born," "of [parent]," "from the location," "and [parent]," "from the location," "Sponsors were," [officiant's signature]. As in the example, the origins of the parents are not always provided. Relatively few entries have further remarks, which typically would include the date of confirmation and the marriage date, location, and spouse.

Register Period

Page 1 contains the first entry, dated 1884.05.24. Page 376 contains the last entry, dated 1929.08.18; a loose "Notification of Marriage" sheet is dated 1958.07.26 in reference to the last baptism entry. About 30 various notation sheets have been inserted; some of them have been bound into the spine. Priests who officiated:
  • Frederick J. Schalk (1884.05.24 through 1886.06.13)
  • Francis X. Schalk (1886.08.15 through 1888.06.10)
  • And. Kunkler (1888.05.31 through 1889.09.08)
  • A.J. Abel (1889.11.22 through 1893.10.26)
  • M. Heitz (1893.09.11) 
  • W. Wenzel (1893.11.12 through 1896.01.04) 
  • Leonard  Epps (1896.01.10 through 1898.05.24)
  • Robert Loehrer (1898.06.10 through 1901.08.25)
  • Gregory Neumayer (1900.07.22 through 1900.07.29)
  • John E. Walleser (1901.09.14 through 1907.05.24)
  • Marian Fiege, OMCap (1902.12.08 through 1903.02.21)
  • G. Lecuter (?) (1904.04.10) 
  • P.A. Krier SJ (1904.03.12)
  • Henry Regensberger (1907.06.26 through 1907.12.08) 
  • Raymond Drees (1907.12.15 through 1910.03.08)
  • Henry Baumstimler (1908.02.17, 1908.07.09, 1909.02.11)
  • Aug.Teahan (1909.09.06)
  • Francis G. Riedel (1912.04.22, 1912.04.23, 1923.04.16, 1927.10.19, 1928.09.18)
  • Richard Fox (1911.04.23 to 1911.05.14) 
  • Charles Menig (1910.04.20 through 1929.08.18)
  • Lambert Burton (1915.08.22) 
  • Felix Nolte (1922.08.14) 
  • Edgar Schmerdeler (between 1921.05.21 and 1921.06.02)
  • Edward "Taylor by Menig" (1928.06.24, 1929.08.07 and 1929.08.15)

Handwriting issues: Some spelling is difficult to decipher without much surrounding context of other writing in the same hand, because the writing inside the printed form is limited to names, places, and dates. Perhaps the least legible handwriting is from Fr. Menig. Also problematic are the entries by Fr. Regensberger, which was written with a less permanent ink, finer pen nib, or weaker stroke.

Missing Material

Special notes: My agreement with the pastor of St. Boniface (Fr. Damian Richards) was to photograph only those spreads that presented information for the Kohn, Ohnsat, Reinert, Gradig, Steichen, Schandler, Streit, Gasper, Gillen, Schwinden, Simeon, Ottley, Deneke, Ottley, and Riedel families—the in-law families of each of my uncles, aunts, granduncles, and grandaunts. My photo session consisted of reading the two-page spread and deciding to photograph or not. If any of the family names appeared, even as a sponsor, I photographed the spread. This left several gaps in the photographed record: specifically, pages
  • 16-17, 20-21, 23, 27, 34-35, 38-39, 46-47 (24% of the first 50 pages)
  • 62-63, 64-65, 70-71, 94-95, 96-97 (20% of pages 51-100)
  • 110-111, 124-124a, 136-137 (12%)
  • 198-199 (4%)
  • 205, 216, 218-219, 220-221, 244-245 (16%)
  • 254, 266-267, 288-289, 292-293, 298-299 (18%)
  • 300-301, 304-305, 306-307, 312-313, 318-319, 322-323, 327, 330-331, 334-335, 347, 348-349 (40%)
  • 351, 352, 354-355, 362-363, 372-373 (16%)
Looking back now, I regret the agreement and wish I had negotiated away from such restrictions for records before 1930.

St. Boniface, Tipton KS Baptismal Register 02

Baptism Register 02 


The second baptismal register of St. Boniface parish in Tipton KS has the title  "Baptismorum Registrum" on its cover. Its appearance might indicate it to be the oldest baptism register; its spine, covers, and pages are very worn. But it is not; the oldest has been rebound. The title on the inside title page is given as a combination of printed text and lines for hand-entered text: "Baptismorum Registrum ecclesiae St. Bonifacii, Tipton, Kansas. A die 2a Septembris 1929 ad [no end date]."

Many pages are fairly worn at the edges. A few folios have pulled from the spine, though they are not quite loose. The index tabs are very fragile, and further  use as pull points for opening the pages might cause them to tear.

Index

The pages with pre-printed letters cut into the outer margin allow two pages for each letter. I photographed only the pages that show entries for the initials A, B, E, G, H, K, M, O, R, and S. I have not checked the entries for accuracy, though it appears that careful entry into the index stopped around page 120 of the register.

Register Entries

The printed register consists of pre-printed forms, arranged four to a page. The form has four columns: "Nomen familiae," "A.D." and, below that, "Die Mensis," "Nomina" with the Latin formulary of the suggested details of the baptized, family, and sponsors; and a remarks column titled "Diei confirmationis et matrimonii vel sub-diaconati vel religiosae professionis registratio. Observanda." (Dates of confirmation and marriage or sub-diaconate or religious profession. Remarks.) The pre-printed text for the register reads, in translation from the Latin, "I the undersigned baptized," "born," "of [parent]," "from the location," "and [parent]," "from the location," "Sponsors were," [officiant's signature].

Register Period

The first entry was made on 1929.09.02, page 1. The last entry was made on 1985.07.06, page 312. Pages 313 through 377 are blank pages of forms. Few priests—notably except Fr. Dreiling and Fr. Weigel—were careful to enter the location. One could presume that a blank indicates the person's home is Tipton or its surrounding area. Fr. James Hoover even left many registry entries unsigned. Priests who officiated:
  • Charles Menig (1929.09.02 through 1935.03.31; 1939.09.17 through 1940.11.19)
  • J.B. Glyom (1933.09.30)
  • Herbert Schehl (1934.08.01 and 1934.08.05)
  • Raymond Ryan (1934.08.15 through 1934.08.26)
  • Michael P. Dreiling (1935.11.29 through 1938.10.31)
  • Fennis J. Tarter (1938.08.15 and 1938.08.19)
  • Emil Sinner (1942.06.14)
  • William Butzer, delegation (1943.05.22)
  • Emmit J. Coler (1943.07.16 "per;" 1947.02.02 through 1947.06.29; 1971.01.31 through 1978.09.09)
  • George F. Bucknell (1947.04.13. 1947.05.18)
  • L. Wahlmeier (1947.06.08)
  • E.D. Weigel (1947.07.17 through 1968.06.02)
  • Ernest Gallagher (1950.12.07)
  • Harold Vogler (1950.12.31)
  • John Vanderberghe (1962.09.29)
  • Alfred W. Harding (1966.06.06)
  • Joachim Lally (1966.06.19)
  • Steven Letourneau (1968.07.14)
  • Francis Senecal (1968.07.07 through 1970.05.22; 1968.08.18, p. 297)
  • James E. Hake (1962.09.16, 1965.09.09, 1968.06.21?, 1971.01.10, delegation 1975.10.06)
  • Donald McCarthy (1973.06.14 through 1973.06.18; 1975.10.05 through 1975.10.12)
  • Henry Kieffer (1976.02.08)
  • Melvin F. Long (1978.09.23 through 1978.12.17)
  • James F. Hoover (1980.12.07 through 1985-07.06)

Missing Material

The arrangement to photograph only those two-page spreads that listed a member of about a dozen families of interest left these pages as gaps in the full register:
  • 3-4, 7-8, 11-12, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24, 27-28, 31-32, 37-38, 41-42, 45-46 (44% of the first 50 pages)
  • 53-54, 59-60, 63-64, 81-82, 95-96 (20%)
  • 119-120, 139-140 (8%)
  • 151-152, 161-162, 163-164, 167-168, 169-170, 175-176, 177-178, 179-180, 181-182, 183-184, 185-186, 187-188, 189-190, 193-194, 197-198 (60%)
  • 201-202, 209-210, 217-218, 227-228, 231-232, 233-234, 235-236, 239-240, 243-244, 247-248 (40%)
  • 253-254, 255-256, 261-262, 271-272, 273-274, 281-282, 283-284, 289-290, 291-292, 293-294 (40%)
  • 301-302, 307-308, 309-310



St. Boniface, Tipton KS Baptismal Register 03

Baptism Register 03

Note: This post has not been edited. Much more detail will be provided in the next week.

I began with a fairly recent baptismal register, reading the entries and photographing a page where I saw a relative's name. At Fr. Damian's suggestion, I stopped the photography around 1960 and at the time to break for lunch. "Baptism Register" has

Index

Although the volume has a pre-printed set of alphabetic index pages, the pages are blank.

Register Entries

Each double-page spread is numbered with a page number at the top left. The right page is unnumberd. The spread has rules to guide writing the information into the columns of "No.," "Family name/Baptismal name," "Date of birth/Place of birth," "Date of baptism," "Father's name/Mother's maiden name," "Sponsors," "Priest," and "Record of confirmation, marriage, religious profession, or diaconate/Remarks." The number column is unused. Ten entries can be written on each double-page spread.

Typically, no locations are noted. It appears that married female sponsors are identified with the married name. The entries are generally legible and in a consistent hand through all priests identified. I infer that these entries were copied from another source. The copy dates from after 1984. A very small number of remarks are in another hand.

Register Period

The first entry (page 1) is on 1929.09.02. The last page I photographed was page 74, with its last entry dated 1955.12.17. The priests who officiated:
  • Charles Menig
  • P.J. Muller
  • Raymond Ryan
  • F. Riedel
  • George OSM Cap
  • Dennis Tarter
  • E. Coler
  • G. Blackwell
  • M.Dreiling
  • L. Wahlmeier
  • Wm. Butzer
  • E. Gallagher
  • H. Vogler
  • E.D. Weigel


The entries held a surprise for me: Some Kohn families who eventually lived some distance from Tipton had several baptisms performed at St. Boniface. It may be they resided nearby and later moved, or that they returned to Tipton for the baptism.

St. Boniface, Tipton KS Register 01 of Marriages, Confirmations, First Communions

Marriage Register 01

Note: This post has not been edited. Much more detail will be provided in the next week.

Photography for the marriage register,  "Register of Marriages 1884-1935; First Communions 1890-1949; Confirmations 1892-1949 Vol. 1" Fragility, wear, appearance issues? Index? Rules and column titles? Number of entries per page? Consistent lacks in information? Date and page of first entry? Date and page of last entry?

Priests who officiated?

Special notes?

holy communion register,  "Spine Title" Fragility, wear, appearance issues? Index? Rules and column titles? Number of entries per page? Consistent lacks in information? Date and page of first entry? Date and page of last entry?

Priests who officiated?

Special notes?

Confirmation Register

confirmation register "Spine Title" Fragility, wear, appearance issues? Index? Rules and column titles? Number of entries per page? Consistent lacks in information? Date and page of first entry? Date and page of last entry?

Priests who officiated?

Special notes?

First Communion Register

confirmation register "Spine Title" Fragility, wear, appearance issues? Index? Rules and column titles? Number of entries per page? Consistent lacks in information? Date and page of first entry? Date and page of last entry?

Priests who officiated?

Special notes?

...went much more quickly, since their formats presented many names per page and many more presentations of the related families.

St. Boniface, Tipton KS Funeral Register 01

Funeral Register 01

Note: This post has not been edited. Much more detail will be provided in the next week.

The state of this register is alarming. The book was intended for use as a notebook in school, something quite inadequate for a register. Most pages are loose and torn at the fold of the saddle. Most pages are extremely worn at the edges. The paper is discolored, likely from use rather than a high acid content. The handwritten title reads "Liber Mortuorum Ecclesiae St Bonifacis Loco Tipton, Mitchell County Kansas 1884 to April 1914" (Book of funerals of St. Boniface church at Tipton, Mitchell County Kansas 1884 to April 1914).

The book has no Index. The pages have vertical rules for these column titles:
  • Date of death and burial
  • Name of person interred
  • Place of birth
  • Age
  • Desease [sic]
  • Priest
  • Cemetery
  • Omnibus sacrametis [sic] munitas

On subsequent pages, the last column has the title "Circumstances" or "Remarks."

The first entries are on the spread of pages 2-3 with 26 burial dates of 1884.05.13 through 1888.10.xx. The last entries are on the spread of pages 20-21 with 25 burial dates of 1911.09.27 through 1914.04.14. Pages 22 through 25 are missing or the pagination is faulty. Pages 26 through 101 are numbered but otherwise blank.

Not all entries on pages 2-3 are in chronological order. I infer that these first entries are not contemporaneous with the funerals, but perhaps the book is an attempt to list burials that occurred over several years and were listed on loose sheets.

Priests who officiated: Fred Schalk, Frank Schalk, Kunkler, Abel, Wenzel, Epps, Loehrer, Fiege, Lecouter, Walleser, Regensberger, Drees, Fox, Menig.

Special notes: I screwed up here, and did not verify the framing before I continued with photography. Thus, the left edge of the two-page spread is cut off. I did not check the images until arriving back in Dayton. Until I reshoot (years hence) or arrange a photocopy of the edge (doubtful), the images will have to remain as they are.

St. Boniface, Tipton KS Funeral Register 02

Funeral Register 02

Note: This post has not been edited. Much more detail will be provided in the next week.

This volume has no title on its cover. The condition of the register is very poor, and it needs to be rebound or placed in storage without use. The best treatment of this volume, as well as Funeral Register 01, is to place them in archival storage. Both volumes are perfect candidates for digitization to allow access and prevent further damage to the original.

The volume's covers are edged with adhesive plastic wrapping tape. Many pages have damage to the edges, and some pages are loose. The spine is broken or the folios have pulled free from the spine stitching. Its poor condition is second only to Funeral Register 01.

Untitled volume.    "Spine Title" Fragility, wear, appearance issues? Although an Index is provided, all pages are blank. Rules and column titles? Number of entries per page? Consistent lacks in information?

The first entry is dated 1914.02.03 on page numbered 1. The last entry is dated 2004.02.21 on page 172. Pages 173 through 200 are empty forms. This indicates that the volume has not been used for burials for ten years—a very good state, considering its condition.

Priests who officiated?

Special notes?

I finished photography by 4 p.m., and called Carolyn Ellenz to meet at the Tipton museum.

2014-05-27

Research trip journal, day 9

2014.05.19 Monday


2014.05.20 Tuesday


2014.05.21 Wednesday


2014.05.22 Thursday


2014.05.23 Friday


2014.05.24 Saturday


2014.05.25 Sunday


2014.05.26 Monday


2014.05.27 Tuesday


At the Osborne county courthouse, I focused on photographing all Tract Indexes for Range 11 west, Townships 7, 8, 9, and 10 south. (In this county the indexes are called Numeric Indexes, and until about 1970, the presentation uses the four quarter-section layout.) The records encompass 8 volumes for the range, and I was able to photograph the first five volumes by noon and the last three volumes by 2:30.  At times my 3rd cousin, Jeff Reinert, was helping by holding pages flat, at other times he was chatting up staff in the various offices in the courthouse. We both had a nice chat with a woman who I found to be missing in my data on the descendants of Nick Reinert: Ann Reinert-Hawks, one of two daughters of Peter G. Reinert that my data was missing.




Some two dozen families are of interest in these three townships.  Corinth township has the fewest, through 1917 (shown here): Becker, Junk, Pottberg, Gradig (spelled Grady here), and Mergen (spelled Merten here).















Bloom township has the most families of interest. Since the township occupies two divisions (T9S and T10S), the section numbers need to be identified with "N" or "S" for north and south. The families Junk, Becker, Brummer, Bach, Riedel (spelled Reidel in section 9N), Braun, Cordel, Thummel, Jacobs, Boden, Streit, Pahls, Ohnsat, Gengler, Muths, Simeon, Reinert, Kohn, Schmitt, Hake, Gasper, Ellenz (spelled Ellens in section 36N), Schandler, Schroeder, Kohn (spelled Kahn in section 8S, Ottley, and Hobbie owned land here in 1917.

















Delhi township has relatively few families of interest, considering its size. The families Ehlers, Riedel, Reinking, Hobbie, Gradig, Gasper, Heinen, Fueser, Pottberg, and Beck owned land here in 1917.

The Register of Deeds office closes from noon to one o'clock, and I had arranged to spend the hour at the Carnegie Library, which now houses the Osborne County Historical Society library. They have a relatively huge amount of information. Of special note are the originals of the Assessment Rolls and the Real Property Tax and Personal Property Tax Rolls. With the close work between the courthouse staff and the Carnegie Library, Laura McClure of the library allowed me to carry four volumes of these rolls to photograph them at the courthouse, those for 1888-9 and 1904. I forgot to ask whether they have indexed the plat maps and state censuses, but they do have a county-wide index of gravestones.

I checked the available probate records and photographed about 8 probate files, with the help of Jeff Reinert. He replaced the loose pages as I photographed them on the floor.

I had time for a short out-and-back ride on county road 181, which is closed to through traffic because of a bridge replacement in Downs. Good to get some exertion in to balance all the strange poses necessary to turn pages of the big index books. I had tried to encourage John McClure of Blue Hills Bicycles to ride with me, but he had other priorities today.

Paul Reinert, 2014
I closed the day with an interview of brothers Paul and Mike Reinert at the home of Paul's financée, Lisa. They at first were afraid their information was too limited, and not of an early generation. (They are roughly contemporary to me.) But the joint interview allowed them to jog each other's memory of their parents, uncles and aunts, grandparents, and further extended relatives.















Mike Reinert, 2014
I had a late dinner at a pub they suggested would still be open. Did they know that their niece was working the bar? She asked about my reason for being in Osborne when she saw me reading "The Early Day People of Tipton, Kansas." Then she volunteered that her mother is Ann Reinert-Hawks. The day had come full circle.

2014.05.28 Wednesday


2014.05.29 Thursday


2014.05.30 Friday


2014-05-26

Research trip journal, day 8

2014.05.19 Monday


2014.05.20 Tuesday


2014.05.21 Wednesday


2014.05.22 Thursday


2014.05.23 Friday


2014.05.24 Saturday


2014.05.25 Sunday


2014.05.26 Monday

Today was moving day, though it was Decoration Day for many. I am now writing from Riverbend B+B, just east of Osborne, Kansas.


After finally getting it together in Jewell, Kansas, I was packed up and on the road. I called my cousin Mary Lee Deneke-Kadel to see if she had time for a short visit. But she had company and little time to spare on the holiday. So as I passed Glen Elder, I had the opportunity to make good on forgetting to photograph Frank Bulthaup and his wife.

Then it was on to Cawker City, home of the largest SISAL twine ball in the world. Two of my second cousins raised families here, and I quizzed several locals until I found the house of Ernie Kohn at 920 Lake Drive and the now-empty corner lot for Ves Kohn at 129 Locust or 108 Second Street.

Then it was on down the road to Downs and a shock of recognition. U.S. Highway 24 skirts the north edge of Downs, and it is easy to bypass the town on the way from Beloit to Osborne. Because Riverbend is a few miles to the east of Osborne, I decided to take the county route 181 south from town to shave a few minutes off the drive. As I neared the downtown that 181 passes through, I began to recognize buildings that I had always associated with Osborne—mistakenly so! There was the State Bank of Downs just south of the railroad tracks; there was Voss Motors (though the name had changed); there was the beauty parlor that mom went to for her monthly "do." When I visited Osborne, Kansas in 2001 for research, I had remarked that all my old landmarks were gone, that the town really looked different from my memory. Now I realized that all my old landmarks had been of Downs, and not Osborne. Memory mixes with reality: mistaken assumptions help us create a remembered "reality" that is not the same as the real world.

My expectation of shortening the drive was thwarted by bridge construction on 181 just outside the south edge of Downs. So I retraced my path through downtown and continued on U.S. 24 to Downs.

Fronnie Slothower, 2014
I had arranged to meet Jeff Reinert shortly after I arrived, and we talked about the family over a beer and pizza. Then I headed off to meet and interview Fronnie (Veronica) Slothower, a grand-daughter of Nick Reinert (1851-1933) and Maria Simeon (1861-1960). Fronnie is the youngest daughter of their eldest son, Peter Anton Reinert (1880-1966) and his wife Barbara Boden (1883-1969). She was one of fourteen children born in the family, of whom four died in infancy. Fronnie married Max Slothower (1921-2008) in 1945 and raised eleven children.












Slothower family, 2014
My data for her family was full of problems. She got out a couple of binders that were filled with funeral cards and obituaries to check some dates. I asked if photographing the binders would be worthwhile, but she has collected cards for neighbors and townspeople in addition to family. And she has at least half a dozen of the binders. The result would have as much as 60% without relevance to the family.  She suggested that I rely first on information that Millie Fink, another family researcher, has entered into her database. So we spoke of her parents and the siblings she grew up with, how she met her husband, and her children. I'll send her my updated information after I incorporate Millie's data.

2014.05.27 Tuesday


2014.05.28 Wednesday


2014.05.29 Thursday


2014.05.30 Friday


2014-05-25

Research trip journal, day 7

2014.05.19 Monday


2014.05.20 Tuesday


2014.05.21 Wednesday


2014.05.22 Thursday


2014.05.23 Friday


2014.05.24 Saturday


2014.05.25 Sunday

With all offices closed, I used the day as a chance to sleep in and take a slow start to the day. On the road, I started to follow the route of the Solomon Valley Trail as well as possible. I believe that the actual trail has been obliterated by the building of the Union Pacific railway that serves the valley at least to Downs.

The Solomon Valley Trail


Kansas Territory, 1859
An 1859 map shows the trail's route along the north and east side of the river, never pulling very far from the stream. However, through plotting the mapped route over township sections displayed in Google Earth, I've come to the opinion that the mapped path and the river itself were approximations rather than a record of careful survey work.

The engineers who planned the railway path might have decided that the existing trail would form a proven, cleared path to lay track. Thus, while new roadways were developed along township and range lines, the railway could take the more diagonal path of the original Solomon Valley Trail.


My route today followed as much as possible the railway and the Solomon River. Starting from Beloit, I followed the railway beside U.S. Highway 24 to the turnoff for Asherville. From Asherville, I headed south and east to Simpson, where I visited my cousin Stan Deneke.

















Solomon Valley Trail, 1859 map with future towns shown
(Click image to view larger format.) Only counties east of the start of the
trail had been formed by 1859. Clay county is magenta, Dickinson yellow.
After saying my goodbyes, I drove the rock roads toward Glasco, passing the land once owned by my great-grandfather Richard Butler. Driving south of Glasco, I passed through the corner once called Butlerville (no relationship to the Butler family in my lineage), and headed south and east in one-mile right angles to reach Delphos. I began using my Garmin only when I reached Delphos, so I have a record of my exact route for the last two thirds of the excursion, through Minneapolis, Bennington, and Solomon.

The route stays in the broad flood plain that stretches between .75 mile and 2 miles to the left and right of the river. I tried to imagine whether the land was open prairie or (more likely) overgrown with shrubs and trees. I crossed the railway often, almost every mile as I drove, alternating east and south along the country roads. If the trail has been taken over by the railway, likely no artifacts of the trail and its passing travelers remain. I came across these museums or historical societies that I hope to contact.

  • Delphos Museum—101 North Washington St., P.O.B. 338; 785-523-4540; Raymond Pachta (785.523.4673) or Roger Yager (785.523.4527) or Billye Yowell (785.407.7343, docby@twinvalley.net); http://skyways.lib.ks.us/museums/delphos/delphosmuseumnews.htm; hours irregular or by appointment.
  • Ottawa County Historical Museum—101 S Concord St, Minneapolis KS 67467; 785.392.3621; otcomu@networksplus.net; http://www.ottawacountyksmuseum.com; hours 10 to 12 and 1 to 5 on Tuesday through Saturday. 
  • Staff at the Ottawa museum spoke of a researcher-writer Ron Parks (620.767.3403; 300 Morning Glory Circle, Manhattan KS 66502; ronald6349att.net@att.net) who has published  The Darkest Period about the Kansa indians, and who may have unpublished research on the Solomon Valley.


Reaching Solomon late in the afternoon, I had to turn around without exploring and use the fastest routes available back to Jewell. Because in the evening, I was to meet Marla and Adrian Cordel to correct and update information for his family and his parents and siblings. I had planned to drive to the area of Clyde, Kansas and find the location of St. Joseph Catholic church, the home parish of Rev. Louis Mollier, a pioneer priest of 1874-1911 who had brought the sacraments to Catholic families as far as Tipton, some 80 miles by horse. The church is inactive today, and the sacramental registers may have been lost. [Note on 2014.06.04: I wrote to the Cloud County Historical Museum to find a local researcher who has information on the church.]

Descendants of Frank Ohnsat

Marla worked in the Longterm Care unit where my mother was last hospitalized after her debilitating stroke and before her death. Marla remembered her there, and also when she had worked as a nurse at Community Hospital. I had met Marla through Margaret Cordel Reinert. I had asked the Reinert family on Facebook for leads to the Nick Reinert descendants and Frank Ohnsat descendants in the Tipton area. Margaret fit the bill through her marriage to Don Reinert, a great-grandson of Nick Reinert. Adrian fit the bill through being a grandson to Frank Ohnsat.

At first, Adrian didn't want to talk much about his family. He was concerned that I would publish the information broadly on the internet. I explained that I've published my database once, about five years ago, and have left it without updates since then. The data "out there" is limited to people who were born before 1930, and anyone still living has their given name removed. This fits well, I think, with needs for privacy among all living contributors to the database and yet allows other researchers to see my areas of interest. And I think Adrian softened a bit in his willingness to talk about himself and his origins.

Marla, in contrast, was very helpful. She had printed and marked up some reports about the family. It turns out there are quite a few errors in what I have recorded. I hope to provide some background of how Marla and Adrian met, who her parents are, but my greatest interest is to find an accurate view of the families of Adrian's parents and grandparents. I recorded our conversation, and I hope that I reached my goal. One thing I failed to do, though: I had not snapped pictures of Adrian and Marla. And Marla's Facebook presence has no photos of the family either.

2014.05.26 Monday


2014.05.27 Tuesday


2014.05.28 Wednesday


2014.05.29 Thursday


2014.05.30 Friday


2014-05-24

Research trip journal, day 6

2014.05.19 Monday


2014.05.20 Tuesday


2014.05.21 Wednesday


2014.05.22 Thursday


2014.05.23 Friday


2014.05.24 Saturday

Down Mill Street


Some of the class mates—Charlotte, Mary, Bear, and Dee.
Click on the photo to see more shots from the parade.
Today had little focus on research. Instead the focus was on Memorial Day and reunion activities. Our small class—bolstered with friends and spouses—was to ride a trailer in the Memorial Day parade. We met at 5th Street, set up chairs on the trailer, and jabbered with each other until we saw the parade start down Mill Street, jalopies and vintage cars in front. It didn't take long. After all, the parade route was seven blocks down Mill Street and a yo-yo back up seven blocks on Hersey Street.

After the parade, we headed to the high school to decorate our table for the evening banquet. Hardly anything more fancy than a framed class slogan Here you see us mighty fine; We're the class of Sixty-Nine. 

Decoration Day Memories

While most class members headed to a city-provided lunch at Chautauqua Park, I visited my parents' graves at St. John Cemetery and planted a group of four perennials—a white and pink peony, blue cone flowers, a hardy yellow geranium, and coreopsis. To avoid the plantings being mowed over, I planted the group between the Kohn headstone and the neighboring headstone for the Byrd family. I had bought the plants in the spirit of a continuing memorial from their three sons—Jim, Chuck as a son-in-law, and me.

My brother Jim as often expressed a wish to be buried here, reminding me that dad had bought a plot with four burial places. I want to support Jim's wishes, and will do so if he dies before me. I believe Chuck would also follow his wishes. But for Chuck and me, I'm more inclined toward other arrangements. First, because I feel a much stronger bond to him and want to arrange my burial to fit with his plans; Second, because I feel no spiritual connection to the Catholic religion and wish not to place my executor in the position of being prevented from burial in their "consecrated ground;" Third, because I wish my body to provide as many organs as possible for others' use and that the remains be cremated. I doubt that I may visit this cemetery again until Jim's interment, although I think now that I may return to celebrate the 50th class reunion.

Before I could feel complete about visiting the cemetery, I went up the road to Elmwood Cemetery and looked for the grave of a buddy from Boy Scouts and high school years. Bruce Houghton was my first crush. He was a year younger than I and a hard-partying boy. Both his parents were alcoholic, too caught up in their own problems to raise their three children well. Bruce was on his way to follow their example until one night in his seventeenth year, when he crashed his car on a country road, likely under the influence of both drugs and drink.

Trip to Glen Elder and Ionia

Barbara (Heeler) and Frank Bulthaup
at the Wakonda Marina's retail counter, 2014
The next reunion events weren't scheduled until the evening, so I stopped by to see Greg Wagner, another buddy from Boy Scouts and high school years. After a short visit, I headed to Waconda Lake and visited some with Frank Bulthaup. Frank also was in Boy Scouts with us, but he's also a second cousin to me through my father's mother. Frank was at work, owner of the only marina at the lake. I had luck in the timing of my visit on a holiday weekend, since the weather was threatening thunderstorms all day.

Afterward, already half the way there, I drove to Ionia and then to the farmland that was home for my first ten years. The house had been moved to Ionia in 1960. I had seen there it about a dozen years ago. I had gone through the two-story frame house, although it was thoroughly infested with termites. Now it is even gone from its momentary rest in Ionia.

Reunion Banquet

After a nap, I was ready for a reunion evening. I had skipped going to Mass at St. John the Baptist church. No longer a believer, no longer interested in following along with the crossings, the mumblings, the standing and kneeling and standing and sitting and kneeling and standing again. More interested, finally, in honestly facing and stating a comfortable atheist system.

For the years I went to St. John's grade school and high school, every school day was begun with a quick Mass. Going to communion was encouraged, and with few exceptions, I was a daily communicant. —I was encouraged in this devotion by my mother, two aunts who were nuns, and most other aunts too, who were proud to see in me a potential vocation to the priesthood. Beyond their comprehension, and beyond mine too through about age 14, was another reason I expressed little interest in dating girls and a certain joy in dressing well, even sometimes "dressing up."— Every morning, kids brought a lunch pail for eating breakfast after Mass, and the first thirty minutes in the classroom were given over to eating breakfast and settling down for the day's instruction. My favorite breakfast included a thermos of either cream of tomato soup or a hearty tomato juice.

By eighth grade, I had been given the nickname "T.J." The name had two origins, though members of my class typically knew only this one: It referred to my breakfast of tomato juice and happened to be an incorrect guess at the initials of my given names, Thomas Gerard. Most boys in my class knew another origin. I tried hard to fit in with the boys in my class, even though we all knew some difference had fostered in me a devotion to music, a religious fervor, an artistic ability, an ability to develop friendships with girls more readily than boys. Once I confided to Bill Wendell, likely not convincingly, that I had gone on some date and had reached what we thought of as Second Base. I told Bill that "Barbara had let me give her a tit job." The boast quickly transformed to my nickname, once Bill had trumpeted the quote to other boys in the locker room.
Click on this image to see additional photos from the banquest.
I was among the first to the social hour and banquet in the school gym. Nine long tables had been set up as emanating spokes from a long table at the hub, where the class members celebrating their 50th reunion would sit. A few people milled about the various tables, setting down personal items as place holders. I place my camera case on a chair opposite Bear Sahlfeld and near Deb Kolarik-Halepeska.


Opposite the hub was a bar, which attracted larger numbers of people. The bar stock had few name brand liquors and wine-in-a-box, your choice of white or red. We had an hour of socializing, where I found the leaden concept of the class reunion banquet. During high school, we studied several subjects in classes that intermixed students from the year before and after ours. We had friends who had escaped the limitations of a small parochial school to attend Beloit High School, which was roughly four times larger than St. John's. (The class of '69 was relatively large at 32 graduates. The class of '14 has only 7 graduates!) We never had seen members of the classes of '64 and '74 in high school, but here they were, celebrating their 50th and 40th reunions along with us celebrating our 45th. I missed classmates from the classes of '68 and '70! I missed, too, the contemporaries I spent free time with, though they attended the public schools.

The bar stock had been predictive of the banquet's menu. The Ladies' Guild had worked yesterday and today to prepare a meal that was served in the same style as we had grown accustomed to in the high school cafeteria. Each diner picks a plate, table ware, and napkin from stacks at the end of a long, long table. Then, passing each member of the Ladies' Guild, the "lady" reaches into an electric roasting pan and serves a component of the meal. Salisbury steak! Scalloped potatoes! Steamed corn! Dinner roll! Margarine patty! Chocolate pan cake! Yum. The only missing items were the cooks' limp, white uniforms and hair nets.

And food fights. Back at our table, we were well-behaved. We conversed well and with interest as people we seldom spoke with in high school told us of the mundane and interesting parts of their lives. Most of us nearing retirement, or already out of the workforce, have the chance to become what we are comfortable with or to find new adventures and challenges.

The evening closed with a strange monologue from John Bergman, class of 1964. He sought to bullet-point the lives of each of his classmates, but often the result was a reminder of early marriage, unpromising work, several kids, and numerous grand-kids. Dee grumbled, Seems they need to get off this great family thing. Bear laughed, Next year we'll say 'And four of us are gay. It's time to look away from the Catholic education (limited) and toward the real world.' Charlotte giggled, And a few of us have three family names—the two husbands' children's names and our freshly independent name. Deb offered, And why this monolog about the Bergmans and their donations to "the Fund"? Is this really just a donations grab? She had recognized the tone shift. The Alumni Director rose to encourage donations to the endowment and then to introduce the winning basketball coach and his team. Every pump of a young athlete's ability was a chance to point at the donation plates.

After the banquet, many alumni filled the Knights of Columbus hall for more conversation. The thumping of a country blues band at Down Under bled through the walls. But I had misunderstood the directions and ended up at Down Under, looking for classmates. When I realized I knew nobody in the crowd, I headed back to Jewell for the night.

2014.05.25 Sunday


2014.05.26 Monday


2014.05.27 Tuesday


2014.05.28 Wednesday


2014.05.29 Thursday


2014.05.30 Friday