Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

The Mean Streets of Detroit

I've been working on the lineage of my great-great-grandmother Theresa Wolfschlaeger, the wife of Henry Joseph Hauer. She came from Helden, Kreis Olpe, Westfalen. In the interest of finding out a little more about that area, I came upon a website where I was able to learn quite a bit, not only about that place in Germany but also about this one in Michigan.

The southern part of Westfalen, I learned, is called the Sauerland. It's mountainous, woodsy, and filled with Roman Catholics. The Wolfschlaegers were Catholic, as were Theresa's maternal relatives, the Wiggers, several of whom were priests. But more on that subject some other day. Today you'll have plenty to read on the Sauerland website.

Among other things, you'll find a letter that the website owner has translated from German to English. The letter was sent from Detroit to Germany by a German woman. Here's a bit of what she had to say about Detroit:
"If you came on the street here and heard how kids, three to four years of age, curse and swear, you would be struck with amazement. They don't know respect for the elders here. The smallest booby dares to throw dirt and stones at the oldest people. In general, there is no education here; it's a rough country. Boys, 12 to 13 of age, already wear revolvers and knives in the pocket, which are drawn because of trifles; that´s why there are so many accidents. In a word, I could write a whole book on this."
I must admit, I'm "struck with amazement" every time I turn on the news here in the Detroit area. But I was also struck with amazement to read this description of Detroit in her letter, which was written over a hundred and thirty years ago. The times, apparently, are not changin' all that much!

The focus of Dierk Stoetzel's Sauerland website is Emigrants from Kreis Meschede and Kreis Olpe (Westfalen) to the United States of America. I found the site very informative and useful to my research and my understanding, well worth a visit. And I'm pretty sure there's a Peitz descendant in Dierk's family tree who married a Wolfshlaeger descendant in mine!

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Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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