Inherited

Family history documents and stories to supplement the genealogical information at tangledbranches.com

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tena to Katie, 13 Aug 1893

Canal Dover, Aug 13th

Dearest Sister and Brother,

I received your letter a few weeks ago and was glad to hear from you. How are you all getting along and how do you enjoy married life? Do you get homesick, and how often do you go home?

The weather here has been very warm and dry. We had no good rain for a month.

The furnace has shut down for repairs, but they did not start to repair it yet. Will has not had any work since they shut down; it is over two weeks.

Katharin was sick for a few days. She had some kind of a fever, is better again. She goes to Sabbath school every Sunday and learns a little bible verse and a word each Sunday. The baby is well and growing. He is not such a big child but he seems real spry. He sits alone in his buggy or high chair. For the last month, when his papa comes in the house, he reaches out his little arms and begs for to take him. Not one person I heard say that he looks like his mama. They all say he looks like his papa, only blue eyes like his grandma.

I am making short clothes for the baby.

We had a letter from home, and Rose, when you go home, let them see this letter and I will answer theirs in a few weeks. Give to them our kindest regards.

We had a well dug this summer. I forgot to write it in my last letter home. They dug 14 feet, then they drove an iron pipe. It is 30 feet deep, 8 ft of water. It is nice cold water.

Now I will close writing hoping to hear from you.

I remain, your sister,
Tena Weinsz

Regards to all

This seems to be a short summery type of letter. Not much for the commenter to comment on, except I wonder how they got water before they had their well dug?

And I don't know if I think that Albert looks like his father. Twenty-seven years later this is how they looked in a family snapshot.

William and Albert Weinsz, Christmas 1920

What do you think?

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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 ancestry.com 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.

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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,
Tena

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.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Tena to Katie, 18 June 1895

Canal Dover, June 18th 1895

Dear Sister and Brother,

I will now answer your letter we received some time ago. We were glad to hear from you all.

Well now it is summer again and we are having our longest days. I suppose farmers are very busy from early morning untill night. How is the weather? Here it has been very dry and warm. The rains come so far apart. They say the wheat is very short and hay will be scarce around here.

Will is working every day at the furnace. He says she will be finished soon, ready for to start about next month.

School is out. Katharin is glad, it has been so warm to go to school.

We have not been out to Grandma's house for such a long time. You heard that John has been very sick. He is better now. He is out of bed for a week now and is improving. The rest are all well.

I had a letter from Sister Rose last week. She gave me some of the news around home. Do you get home often? When you get home, give our regards to our parents.

I think fruit will be scarce this summer all but there will be apples around here. The strawberries I got for 25 cts. They may come down.

Mrs. John Feil has a little baby boy of a few weeks old.

The children are well at present and Katharin often speaks of yous and what a nice time she had while she was to her Aunt Katie's house.

News are scarce so I will close writing, hoping to hear from yous soon.

I remain, as always,
Your Sister Tena

Our regards to all, write soon

[the following is a note my great-grandmother wrote on the back of her mother's letter]

Dear Aunt Katie,

I will write you a few lines and tell you that my school is out and I am glad of it for it is to warm to studdy. My mamma made me a new white dress. I am seven years old and Albert is two years old. We play outdoors all day long. I go to Sunday School every Sunday. Our Sunday School will have a picnic. I would like to go if I can. So goodbye Aunt Katie


Notes:

Whoops, June got past me and I'm only now getting around to posting great-great-grandma's June 18 letter. Reading through these letters, I think I can see where I get some of my procrastination.

A few notes about some of the people mentioned. John, who had been ill, would be John Weinsz, Will's brother. He would have been about 22 years old at the time of this letter. Apparently he made a complete recovery from his illness because he went on to marry and have five children and didn't die until 1943.

I don't see a baptism record for Mrs. John Feil's baby boy in the records of St. John's Evangelical church in Dover, but the 1900 US Census shows a 4 year old John P. Feil, son of John and Anna Feil living in Strasburg, Tuscarawas Co., Ohio. The census also says his birthday is June 1894, and he couldn't be 4 years old if that was true. I am guessing that this is the baby boy Tena mentioned and he was born in June 1895 and was therefore 4 years old at the taking of the census on 1 June 1900. Anna Catherine Feil (John Sr.'s sister?) married Louis Weinsz (Will's brother).

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Friday, June 5, 2009

Tena to Katie, 31 May 1897

Canal Dover, May 31

Dear Sister and family,

I will try and answer your kind letter at once. I know I ought to have written to you long ago, but writing seems so hard for me. I feel so weak in my back. I have been quite poorly all winter and spring.

Will and the children have been well. Katie goes to school every day. Albert goes to Sunday School with Katie every Sunday. Albert has his hair cut, it makes him look more like a boy. I was glad to hear that little Elnora is so well and growing so nicely. How many teeth has she? This will be only her second summer which some times is worse than the first if they have not many teeth.

Dear sister, how is the weather down there? Here it is beautiful. The nights are quite cool but I don't think there was any frosts. Have you had any frosts up there?

William has no work. The furnace is not running steady. Just now it is not running at all and they have not made any good iron yet. Seems it started last week. They were afraid it would blow up for them. A number of men were hurt but not seriously. Now they are cleaning her out to see what is to be done. They think the man that is running her don't understand how to run a furnace and not other work, there seems to be here in Dover [sic]. Is work plenty up there or does it seem rather dull?

I suppose it was quite a surprise to you to meet Aunt Barbery and Fannie and daughter. When you write to them give them my regards.

I am also trying the remedy you wrote to me, taking dry salt. I don't know yet whether it will do me good or not, but hope it may do me some good by keeping on taking it. I also take my medicine with it but in small doses.

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

I remain,
your sister, Tena

Dear sister, I suppose you will think I can fill a sheet of paper like this at once but I cannot. This took me four days until I finished it.


Notes:
Tena has left her descendants a mystery with this letter. Who the heck is Aunt Barbery? Barbery, as we have learned through talking to older relatives, is a nickname for Barbara. It seems to be in common usage in Ohio, but I don't think I've come across it elsewhere. But I have not a clue as to who this woman is, nor Fannie. Barbara was a common name in William Weinsz's family, so perhaps Tena is referring to his aunt, not hers. On the other hand, we don't know too much about Tena's mother's family, so Barbery could be related that way. We will have to remain especially alert if/when we find records of a Barbara who could be a relative.

And little Albert got his first haircut. I don't have a date for this photo, but clearly it is after he got his hair cut.

He is here with his sister Katie, and I'm guessing this might be an Easter photo, or spring anyway, because of Katie's light colored dress and pretty hat.

Back to Will's work again or lack of it. It's hard to imagine a time before Unemployment Insurance, Workman's Comp Insurance, workplace safety rules, etc. If the furnace (iron mill) wasn't running, the men didn't get paid.

That newspaper item was from April 8, 1897 edition of The Ohio Democrat, published in New Philadelphia, Ohio, almost 2 months before this letter was written. I tried to learn more about the incident at the end of May, where Tena says "a number of men were hurt", but ancestry.com doesn't have the newspaper for that week. The June 6 edition, however, contained this item:


I know Tena said they were cleaning out the furnace, but with dynamite????

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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.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tena and Katie to Katie, 31 March 1895

Canal Dover, Mar 31

Dear Sister, Brother, and all,

I will endevor to write you a few lines and let you know that I received your letter some time ago and was glad to hear from you. Well Spring has come, we are having nice warm sunny days and work is picking up most everywhere.

Will is working every day at the furnace. Last week one man was hurt at the furnace, he broke a leg right on the ankle. Mr. Peifer is his name, our neighbor. He is the boss of the furnace men.

Katharin and Albert had the measles. Katharin had them first and when she was almost over them, Albert begins with them. They are just about over them. Katharin goes to school every day when she is well.

To day the children had examination at church, next Sunday they will be confirmed. I suppose it is the same up there.

How are you all getting along, are you all well, do you get home often? I had a letter from Ma and Rose a few weeks ago. Now the work will begin on the farm and in the gardens. To day is a rainy day, it does not rain hard, but is drizzling all day. We have not had much rain yet. The boys out home are plowing. We have not made any garden yet.

I cannot think of anything more news, so I will close writing, hoping to hear from you soon.

I remain, as ever,
your sister,
C. D. Weinsz

(Albert writes: "a little note penned on the back of mother's letter by sister")

Dear Aunt Katie,
This is my first letter I ever wrote. I go to school. I go to school every day I can. Dear Aunt Katie how much I would like to see you and Grandma and Grandpa and all. I am glad that it will be Easter soon and the rabbit will bring me some nice eggs and Albert some too.

Katharin Weinsz



Notes to follow in a later post. The date of Tena's next letter is May 1.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Tena and Katie to Katie, 29 March 1896

Canal Dover, Mar 29

Dear Sister and Brother and Family,

I will answer your letter at once which we received a few weeks ago and were glad to hear from you all. We were quite surprised to hear you having a little daughter at present time. I expected to hear the news some months later. How are you getting along and how is the baby? I hope you are getting along finely. We wish you good luck to your young daughter and hope you will have the luck of raising her. Have you found a name for the baby? If not, I will mention a few, Christina "Dorothy".

How is the weather up there? The month of March was very changeable here. Cold snow rain, then the same thing over again all the month.

Will is still working at the Furnace every day. They have to work quite hard there.

The children are all well. There will be no school this week which will suit Katharin as she likes to play outdoors with Albert when the weather is fit to go out. Today it is very warm and I think that it will rain before long.

Today the children were confirmed in our church. There were about thirty this year.

I don't know enny news so I will close for this time, hoping to hear from you soon.

I will remain,
your Sister,
Tena Weinsz

Regards from all to all


(a note from Tena's daughter was on the back of this letter)
Mar 30, 1896

Dear Uncle and Auntie,

I will write you a few lines and let you know that I received your letter and was glad to hear from you all. I was very glad when I heard that I have a little baby cousin and wish very much to see it.

Dear Auntie I would like to come up to see you this summer but I don't know if I can unless Mamma can go too. Mamma can't spare me as she is not well. I have to bring in all the water and coal, and have to help Mamma a great deal.

Katharin Weinsz

Notes:
This is Elinore Ruth, the new baby mentioned in the letters.

She looks like a happy child, don't you think? Elinore was born March 8, 1896, three weeks before the date of this letter. Her mother, Katherine Roth, married George Ruth in 1893 in Black River Township, Lorain County, Ohio. George Ruth owned a hardware store in Amherst, Ohio.

Confirmation. Tena's letter was written on Palm Sunday 1896, and she says there were about 30 young people confirmed at St. John's church that day. I count 34 in the published record book, and again see some familiar names. For more info on the published church books and some of the families mentioned here, see my previous post.

Karl Christian Aehling, son of Christian (+) Aehling and Marg. Feigert.

Eduard Bernhard Wendling, son of Ludwig Wendling and Charlotte nee Weber.

Daniel Jakob Zoller, son of Heinrich Zoller and Maria nee Aehling.

Friedrich Warther, son of Gottfried Warther and Anna nee Balsiger. Friedrich was a brother of Ernest "Mooney" Warther of the Warther Carving Museum fame. Well worth a visit, if you're ever in the area.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tena to Katie, 18 March 1894

Dover, Ohio, Mar 18th

Dear Sister and Brother,
I will answer your kind letter which we received some time ago. It seems as tho I hardly get time to write. The children been having such bad colds that it takes me so much time to take care of them. In fact the baby had the cold all winter and part the time he had a high fever from teething. He has six teeth now. He was one year old the 2nd of March. He walks from chair to chair and along the wall all over the room and he walks a few steps alone.

What beautiful sunny weather we have in this month of March. It seems as tho it would stay spring. Will has spaded up most of the lot and we have put out a bed of mullet [sic] seed. I think it a little early yet.

Will has no steady work yet, although he has worked some two weeks ago. He worked five days at the rolling mill and last week four days; this week he has no work.

Last Sunday the children of our church had examination; this Sunday they were confirmed. I suppose the same at your church in North Amherst.

Katharin enjoys herself these nice sunny days. There is a robin comes to the back door and sings, and Katharin sings. Every morning she has to see if it is here yet. She calls it her robin.

Katharin also is glad that Easter is coming, and the Rabbit will bring her some nice eggs. She made her rabbit nest last week in an old market basket.

The boys out home have their oats ground ploughed.

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

I remain, as ever, your sister,
Tena

Regards from all to all

Notes:

Mullet seed? I feel sure this is an error in transcription, but the transcription very clearly reads "mullet seed". I can only think of two possibilities for what Tena originally wrote.
  1. Millet seed, although this seems an unlikely crop for a town garden.
  2. Sallet seed, an alternative spelling of salad which generally meant lettuce or other greens.

    My German dictionary says the German word for salad is Salat, by the way. Early spring would be the time of year to sow it, although as Tena said, mid-March may have been a little early. The gardener in me wonders where they got the seed and what kind it was and how the crop turned out.


Confirmation. The Ragersville Historical Society transcribed and published the record books of St. John's Evangelical Church in Dover, the church to which Tena refers. It seems Palm Sunday was the usual day for confirmations and March 18 of 1894 was Palm Sunday. Pastor D. J. Helmkamp had a class of 21 confirmands, and among them I see a few familiar names.

Eduard Zoller, son of Heinrich Zoller and Maria nee Oehling. Little Katherine's future husband's mother was Celestia Ailing. The original spelling of Ailing was Oehling. Maria is surely a relative, but I don't have an exact match in my notes.

Klara Feil, daughter of Christian Feil and Anna Maria nee Hammann (Harmann). Klara's much older sister Anna Catherine, married Will Weinsz's brother, Louis.

Karl Wendling, son of Ludwig Wendling and Charlotte nee Weber. Charlotte may have been "the Mrs. Wendling out on the farm", refered to in Tena's letter of 27 December 1893.

Easter.
Somehow I never thought of the grass in an Easter basket as being a rabbit's nest. I always thought it was for the hen to lay her eggs in.

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Tena and Katie to Katie, 1 March 1896

Dear Sister and Family,

I will now answer your kind letter we received some time ago and indeed was glad to hear from you all. Well this is the first day of March and it is cold and snowing. We have not had much snow here this winter and not much awful cold weather, but we had so much changeable weather which was very unhealthy.

Will is still working at the Furnace. He has been working quite steady all winter. Katherine goes to school every day that she can. She wishes so often if she could only be with her Aunt Katie for a while. Albert will be three years old the second day of March. He has grown big and talks most everything. I will send you one of his pictures. They are small but very natural.

How is our parents getting along this winter? I have not heard from them for a long time, only what you wrote to me in your last letter. I have not heard from sister Rose since your last letter. I wonder how she is getting along and the baby.

Dear sister Katie I will thank you for the dollar you sent to Katherine and the 25 cts. you sent to Albert by mother. It was a part of her Christmas present. I got her a red dress; here is sample of it. It is not made yet. Grandma Weinsz gave them each a dollar for their Christmas and Uncle George gave Katie a lovely gold writing pen with a pearl handle for Christmas.

This will be all for this time, hoping to hear from you soon.

I'll remain
your Sister,
Tena Weinsz
Regards from all to all

[Note from Albert, the transcriber of these letters: My sister wrote this at the end of mother's letter]
Dear Aunt Katie,

I will write you a letter and let you know how I am getting along. I go to school every day. I missed one day of school this winter. I like to go to school.

Dear Aunt Katie how are you and Uncle George getting along? How is Grandma Ruth and Grandpa Ruth getting along?

I and Papa were out to my Grandma Weinsz today. Mamma and Albert stayed home. I like to go out to my Grandma house. I often go out there alone and my Grandma is very kind to me and my uncles all like to have me come out.

Dear Auntie this will be all for this time,
Katharin Weinsz

Notes:
Tena frequently mentions Will working at "the furnace". She never says which one, but Dover was industrialized in the mid 1800s and remained a manufacturing center into the 20th century.

I'm not clear myself on just what the term "furnace" meant in 1896. Dover had blast furnaces producing iron by the late 1800s, but I also found a reference to a furnace which provided power to operate a salt well. It seems to have meant anything that burned coal to provide power for manufacturing.

In this letter, little Katie (my great-grandmother) added a note of her own to her aunt Katie (Tena's sister). She writes that she often goes out to her Grandma Weinsz's house by herself. Grandma Weinsz lived just outside of town.

I had imagined that it was a long way for a seven-year-old girl to go on her own, but through the magic of Google Maps I found that it was about a mile.

View Larger Map

I should have posted this yesterday, but didn't have my commentary ready. That provides another item for commentary, however. Today would be the 116th birthday of Albert Weinsz, the baby in these letters, and later the transcriber of them.

By the way, it was "cold and snowing" in Dover on 1 March 1896. It is cold and snowing in Fairfax, Virginia today 2 March 2009.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tena to Katie, 6 January 1895

Canal Dover, Jan. 6
Dear Sister, Brother and Parents,

I wish you all a happy New Year. Dear Sister Katie I suppose you think that I never would write to you and I wanted to write to you long ere this but it seems as though I can't get at writing. I find so much work to do since we came home.

How are you all getting along? I had a letter from Sister Rose telling you mother was very sick. How is she by this time? I hope she will get well soon. My children also had a bad cold, it seemed like the gripp. They had a high fever and such an awful cough. They are better but they cough quite a lot at night.

Will had been working six days. He helped making ice. We had quite cold weather; the ice was from six to eleven inches thick. We also had snow enough for sleighing for over a week but now the weather is warmer and it is raining. Most of the snow is melted. There was some more iceing to do but if it keeps on raining I don't think they can make any more till it freezes up again. How is the weather up there? I suppose the same as here.

Katherine goes to school, she likes to go. They had a Christmas tree at our church, Will and Katherine went. She got a sack of candy. At home she got a nice wool fascinator, a drawing slate, a book, a dollar in money, and candies, cakes, nuts, and what Santa Claus could bring all. Albert got a little wagon and a tin horse and the rest like Katie's.

Have you been home lately? When you go give our regards to the parents. Feils have moved; they bought a home in town. Mrs. Jim Grove was married last week.

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

I'll remain your sister,
Tena

Notes: It seems many of these letters mention ailments. It's no wonder that patent medicines were so popular in those days, and the newspapers of the times were full of advertising for them. I was going to write that Tena should have tried Ayer's Cherry Pectoral for her children's coughs, but then I read a recipe claiming to duplicate it in Encyclopedia of Practical Receipts and Processes Containing Over 6400 Receipts By William Brisbane Dick: Ayer's Cherry PectoralTake of syrup of wild cherry, 6 drachms; syrup of squills, 3 drachms; tincture of blood-root, 2 drachms; sweet spirits of nitre, 2 drachms; antimonial wine, 3 drachms; wine of ipecacuanha, 3 drachms; simple syrup, 11/2 ounces; acetate of morphine, 2 grains. Mix, and add oil of bitter almonds, 2 drops; dissolved in alcohol, 1 drachm.
Syrup of squills? What kind of squills? The active ingredient, I suppose, was the morphine.

Ice-making. Now ice comes from the fridge, but once it came from winter. The Ohio Memory project has a series of photos of the ice-making process from a slightly later time (ca.1915-1925), but I imagine the process was much the same when Tena wrote her letter.


Tena mentions that Feils moved to town. She doesn't say which Feil family she meant, but the newspaper shows that John Feil bought a lot (and house?) in Dover from Sheriff Adams. The economic depression that began in 1893 lasted until 1897. Almost the entire first page of the same newspaper (The Ohio Democrat, New Philadelphia Ohio, 10 January 1895) is a list of properties to be sold because of delinquent taxes. The Feils married into the Weinszs, by the way. William's next younger brother, Louis, married Anna Catherine Feil, daughter of Christian Feil. I think the John Feil who bought the house in Dover was her brother.

Tena also mentions that Mrs. Jim Grove was married last week. Huh? Mrs.? I suppose she must have been a widow. The newspaper reports that John Strang and Cecelia Grove got a marriage license. So she became Mrs. John Strang. I wonder who she was before she was Mrs. Jim Grove?


The next letter from Tena is March 1, so maybe I'll fill in with some family history posts before I post the next letter. In the meantime, some horticultural advertising in same newspaper I was perusing above led me on an Internet expedition which I intend to write up at Tangled Branches: Cultivated later today.

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Friday, January 2, 2009

Dramatis Personae

Over the holidays, I had the opportunity to scan some family photos. While I'm posting Christena Roth Weinsz's letters, I thought you might like to see some of the people and places mentioned.

Christena Roth Weinsz


wrote home

(Lorain, Ohio)

to her sisters and parents




from her current home in Dover, Ohio


primarily about her children

Katherine (Katie) and Albert Weinsz

and her husband and his work (or lack of it).

(William Weinsz and other workers at "some plant" in Dover)

This is "little Elnora", daughter of Christena's sister Katie Roth and George Ruth, mentioned in the December 23 letter.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tena to Katie, 27 Dec 1893

Canal Dover, Dec 27th

Dear Sister and Brother,
I will write a few lines to let you know that your letter of Dec 23 was duely received and was glad to hear from you all. Also the two dollars and the pictures was received, many thanks to you for so kindly remembering my children and sending them a Christmas present. We never thought of such a thing. Thanks to you for the picture; it is quite good.

Well Christmas is past once more. Where did you spend it? I was at home all day. My baby is not very well. He had such a fever Sunday afternoon, Christmas Day Night and on Christmas Day I went down. I almost think it is teething. He has four teeth.

Katherine is well and enjoyed her Christmas as children always do. She went to the Christmas tree and got a little book and a bag of candy. At home she got a book and slate. Her Aunt Rose from Lorain sent her a doll and Albert a book. Her Grandma Weinsz (gave) them over 2 dollars in money and many other little things they got.

William is working at present. He is working for the C and M Railroad Co.; the car inspector went on a visit during the holidays and Will is working in his place till he comes back. They think the furnace will start to work next month then there will be some work again.

The Mrs. Wendling out on the farm died a few weeks ago. The folks out home are all well. They butchered last week and we took one half of a hog on account of lard. I got over five gallon which will last me a long time.

Now I will close writing, wishing you all a Happy New Year.

I remain your sister, Tena
Our regards to all. Write soon.

Notes: I hope I haven't made this too confusing by posting these out of chronological order. The letter I posted on December 23 was written four years after this one. If I posted them in chronological order, I'd be posting one every 3 or 4 months for 6 years. For now, I'm sticking with my idea of posting them on the day of the year in which they were written, and I'll wrap it up with one Katherine wrote to her aunt in December 1899.

Back to Tena's letter, I wondered if she meant Christmas Eve by "Christmas Day Night". She said it was Sunday and Christmas Eve was on a Sunday that year, so the answer appears to be yes.

I also wonder when Christmas trees started to become popular home decorating items. I assume that when she says Katherine went to the tree and got presents, she means the Christmas tree at church. Tena and William were both children of German immigrants, so the custom of the Christmas tree would have been familiar, but it sounds as if they didn't have one at home.

We don't know who "the Mrs. Wendling out on the farm was", but believe that the farm in question is that of her mother-in-law, Barbara Loehrer Weinsz. Barbara's husband, Nicholas Weinsz Sr., died 4 years before the date of this letter.

And I'm not done wondering. What would $2 buy in 1893? A local newspaper, The Ohio Democrat, had a small amount of advertising on December 21 and most of that was in the form of printed text just as if it was a news story. I got sidetracked reading the ads - much more fun than any modern ads I've seen lately. I've highlighted some of my favorites. Click through to read at full size.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tena to Katie, 23 Dec 1897

Canal Dover, December 24

Dear sister and family,
Your kind letter was duely received and was glad to hear from you all, was glad to hear you are all well which is always the best. I have not been feeling as well the month of December as I did in November. It is my stomach and bowles. Will and the children are well at this writing.

Will is working at the coal bank. He has taken share in it. They have it nearly open and think they can soon dig coal ready to sell. There is an awful lot of work to open a new bank.

The weather was rainy most all the month. Now it is quite cold and frozen.

I will say thanks for the money, three dollars, that you sent. Of course I can not buy them anything now as I can not go out. The children are glad that Christmas is so near. They will have a Christmas tree in church. On Friday evening Katie has a piece to speak.

Now I will close writing. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Your sister,
C. D. Weinsz

many kisses to little Elnora

Notes: The copy of the letter I'm transcribing here is dated December 24, but Albert also copied the receiving post office's postmark as December 24 and Tena mentions that Katie is speaking in church on Friday evening. Christmas Eve was Friday in 1897. I assume this letter was written December 23 or earlier.

Coal mining has a long history in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, and some of these were rather small enterprises. We were not aware of William Weinsz ever having had a share in any of them.

Elnora was Tena's niece.

I'm not sure what three dollars would buy in the way of childrens' gifts in 1897, but the Garver Bros. store in Strasburg, Ohio was selling monkey fur muffs for $1.75 and men's shaving sets for $2.00.


And if the cold and frozen weather then was anything like today, I'm sure many folks would have loved to take the railroads' offer to transport them to "Florida and other winter resorts".

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tena to Katie, 3 Dec 1893

Canal Dover, December 3, 1893

Dear sister and family,
I take pleasure in answering your letter which you wrote October 9th and was glad to hear from you. How are you all getting along? I suppose you got entirely settled by this time.

Well this looks like winter. The ground is covered with snow here and is still snowing some more. On Thanksgiving day there was a funeral on our street. Mrs. Pifer died age 55.

What dull times we're having. The works are not started to work yet here in Dover. Will has no work yet. There are so many men without work. There is some stealing going on. There were 10 chickens stolen from one farmer. They cut all the heads off, leaving them lay and the chickens they took along.

How is father and mother getting along? I suppose you see them often. Give them our regards when you see them. Katherine is well and happy all the time. She goes to Sabbath School every Sunday when it is fit to go. The baby is teething. He has three teeth. He is nine months old. He tries so hard to talk. He can say Mamma and Papa.

How is the weather up there? It is cold and wintry. And what are you doing to keep yourself busy? News are so scarce so I will close writing hoping to hear from you soon.

I remain, as ever, your sister,
Tena
Kindest regards to all.

P.S. The houses here in town are numbered now. Our house is No. 21 North Fourth St.


Notes: Tena is my great-great-grandmother Christena Roth Weinsz. She is writing to her sister, Katie Roth Ruth, in North Amherst, Ohio. Katie married George Ruth in May of 1893, about 6 months before this letter was written. The "Will" who has no work is Tena's husband, William Weinsz. "Katherine" is their daughter (and my great-grandmother), Katherine Weinsz Gordon, and "the baby" is Katherine's brother, Albert Weinsz, the man who transcribed these letters from the original copies. I'm posting from his transcriptions.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tena's Letters

I'll let my great-grandmother tell you about these letters. She writes:


Some of My Mother's Letters, awfully faded and hard to handle - so Bro. Albert G. Weinsz copied them as best he could make out the meaning of them. These were written to Aunt Katie Ruth and Aunt Rosa Jacobs. Then when they died, they were given to Albert and I. They were in the W. 4th St. House, so Albert found them and copied them...

Her mother was Christena (Christina) Roth Weinsz, and she was writing home to her sisters in Lorain County, Ohio. Tena married William Weinsz and moved to his hometown of Dover, Ohio. How did she meet him when they lived 100 miles apart? That's one of our history's mysteries.

I plan to post these on the day of the year in which they were written, but not in chronological order. I'll begin tomorrow with a letter from December 3, 1893. These letters are largely taken up with the day-to-day concerns of a young wife and mother of average means in late 19th century Ohio. They may not be riveting reading, especially if you don't know the players, so I'm going to include links to pictures and background material when I can.

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