Family history documents and stories to supplement the genealogical information at

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tena to Katie, 7 August 1898

Canal Dover, Aug 7, 1898

Dear Sister Katie and family,

Your kind letter was received some time ago and indeed was glad to hear from you all. I wanted to write to your long ago, but it seems though I never get at it and I hardly know what to write.

Will and the children are quite well and I don't seem to improve. Some time I feel some better and then I feel worse again. I have not been feeling good for the last month. I am around as usual, it might be the heart that makes me feel bad. How are you all getting along, are you all well? How is Elnora getting along this summer? I hope well. I would like to come home this summer to see you all but I cannot come, my health does not allow me to come. So far I have not been out home yet. I went down street a number of times.

Will is still working on the railroad yet. It is quite hard work.

Last week our church had there Sunday School picnic. They had it in the fairground. Katie and Albert went, they enjoyed it very much.

Have you been home lately and have you seen Father? I had a letter from Rose some time ago and have not answered it yet, but will answer soon if I can. It is now over six months since our dear mother is dead and at rest.

Now I will close writing, hoping to hear from you soon.

Regards to all.

Your sister,
C. D. Weinsz

Tena's mentioning that the Sunday School Picnic was at the fairground got me thinking about county fairs. The Tuscarawas County Fair dates back to 1850 when "[t]he first fair was held at Dover, in what was then known as Hayden's Grove, now the primary school property, Tuesday and Wednesday, October 15 and 16, 1850. A fine display of horses, cattle, sheep and hogs was made, and in the Dover Schoolhouse the exhibition of flowers, needlework, fruits and grain surpassed the expectation of all, and aroused a deep interest in the mind of all who attended."

I thought the local newspapers might have had some coverage of the fair, but in searching The Ohio Democrat on I found very little. The year previous to this letter, the following item was in the September 23 edition of the paper:

The next edition of the paper on September 30 makes no mention of who won the race between the dog and the bicyclist, but does note that Phil. Feil won a prize with his Bared [sic] Plymouth Rock chickens. I think that was supposed to be Barred Plymouth Rock. Feil is a surname Tena mentions frequently in these letters.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tena to Katie, 5 August 1894

Canal Dover, Aug 5th

Dear Sister, Brother and Parents,

I will endever to answer your letter which we have received some time ago and was glad to hear from you. I had a letter from Sister Rose this morning telling that William has not heard from me yet. I wrote to him twice, the first letter I addressed in care of Geo. Roth to think surely he would get it with Father's mail, and then I wrote another letter to him and addressed it in care of Henry Jacob, and was waiting patiently for an answer.

Dear Katie you have heard that the children had not been very well, but they are better now. Katharin seems to be almost over it and Albert is getting better but he is teething rite along. He has 13 teeth now.

How are you all getting along and will there be any fruit on your farm, apples or peaches? I was out home last Sunday. They say the apples are all falling down, we have such dry weather here, and have you thrashed yet? Out home they did not thrash yet.

Last week there was quite a sad accident happened here in Dover. Two young girls were drowned, aged 13 or 14 years. They went wading in the water and go into a deep hole and were drowned. It was in the crick. One was a minister's daughter.

Dear Sister, you may think I have not much to do, but I find there is more to do than any one thinks. When one is alone and has every little thing to do and the children to look after.

Mrs. Feil's baby was very sick with hooping cough and lung fever, is better again.

How is Anna and Martha Brown getting along? If I understood right, they both live in your neighborhood. I suppose you been to see them.

How is Father and Mother getting along? Give them my regards when you see them.

Now I will close writing, hoping to hear from you soon.

I remain, as ever,
Your sister,

Threshing or "thrash"ing as Tena wrote, is the process of removing grain from stalks. In the 1890s, this was usually done with the help of steam-powered eqiupment. There's a good description of the process at the Library of Congress' American Memory Project.

You don't have to imagine what it was like though, if you can attend a steam show. There's one in Dover in a few days, but when I was growing up in Illinois, we often went to the Sycamore Steam Show. We knew it simply as "the threshing bee" and the main reason for us kids to go was to jump in the straw stack when the threshing was finished. Well, that and the pony rides.

More pictures from the Dover Steam Show are posted on Flickr.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tena to Katie, 1 May 1898

Canal Dover, May 1st

Dear sister Katie and family,

I will answer your kind letter and let you know we are getting along. Will and the children are well and I am about the same.

Will is working on the railroad.

Father was to see us, I think you know it. I would liked to have him stay longer with us.

Katie was ten years old last Wednesday, April 27. She goes to school every day.

How are you all getting along, how is Elnora? I suppose she enjoys these brite sunny days like Albert. He can hardly find enough time to eat. To day is a very warm day and it is just lovely out doors. The grass is so green and the trees are all in blossom, the air is just fragrant.

I suppose your school has let out, here it will last all this month yet children will be glad when it lets out; it seems hard for them to sit in school when it is so warm.

Well sister Rosa has got back to the old homestead. I suppose she finds enough work to do. It is now over four months since our dear mother died. Peacefull be her slumber.

Now I will close writing, hoping these few lines will find you all enjoying good health.

Your sister,
Christena Weinsz

Regards to all, write soon.

Notes: I'm with Tena and Albert. Nice spring days are too good to spend indoors. I had this letter typed up and ready to post several days before May 1 and then forgot all about it while I was busy in the garden.

Johann Georg Roth and Anna Margarethe Zuelch
Anna Margarethe Zülch Roth passed away on Christmas Day 1897. According to the records of St. Peter's Evangelical church in Amherst, Ohio, she was born in Germany on February 2, 1834 to Conrad Heinrich Zülch and Elizabetha Brand. She met and married Johann Georg (J. George) Roth in Lorain Co. Ohio, where both their families settled. They had at least five children, but only three daughters survived to adulthood - Christena (Tena), the author of these letters; Katie, the recipient of these letters, and Rosa, the sister who moved back home to keep house for her father.

Map of Roth property in Lorain County Ohio
The Roth "homestead" was a farm in Black River Township, Lorain County, on Oberlin Road (now Oberlin Aveune). This is currently within the city of Lorain.
Roth farmhouse in Lorain County Ohio

Housekeeping was a full-time skilled occupation in the late 1800s. Just consider laundry, for example. The instructions in Buckeye Cookery, and Practical Housekeeping take up almost 11 pages, although several of those are stain-removal recipes. When Tena writes that she supposes Rosa "finds enough work to do", I don't think she meant that Rosa was looking for ways to occupy her time, but instead that there was too much that needed attention.

Labels: , , , ,