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

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