Rowland Hell's Memoirs
Most of what I know of my grandfather's family came from this Memoir that came to me typewritten. I have tried to edit the typos out of it and make it easier to read. John Hell 9-30-07
John Hell, born in Poland Coridor, Dec. 14 , 1884 to German parents who had migrated
to Poland from Germany. Attended Baptist Sunday School, received about a 3rd grade education. He had 5 brothers & 2 sisters - Fred, Gust, Joe, Dad, Henry & sisters Gustie and Emilly.
Each of the children had to take his or her turn helping their mother in the home until they were old enough to work in the field. Dad was an exception, he had a natural talent with wood. At age 12 he had built himself a wagon and was farmed out to work for a farmer for room and board At age 14 he went to work on his dad's (Grandpa) windmill that ground grain and flour. All working parts were made of wood, gears, shafts, pulleys, the vanes and the big wind wheel that turned everything. These often broke or wore out and it was his job to make by hand out of green wood new replacements. Also, all grain had to be carried up a stairs in 100 Ib. bags, dumped in bins. Being so young he became very bow-legged from carrying those heavy bags. The grain then came down through a series of chutes, was cleaned, ground between two huge stones. Since this was done by wind power, the mill often ran day and night - no 8 hr. shifts.
While he worked the unit, Fred was in the Russian Army as Poland was in the Russian
Regime at that time. Whenever he was home on leave he'd tell of his experiences & they were scary. It was rough so when Dad was nearing his 18th birthday, after which he'd have to go in the army, he borrowed enough money for passage to America.
Grandpa also had a blacksmith shop. Fred had learned blacksmithing before his military service. After his discharge he came to America & was a farmer in Ohio near Cleveland. Had one daughter (Martha).
Gust had worked his turn on the mill & had come to America. He had a bread route in Cleveland that he worked with one horse & wagon (no family) just Aunt Emma. After 1st World War he became a builder. Did very well. He was a happy go lucky man.
Dad arrived in Cleveland sometime in December, 1904, lived with Gust & Emma. Got a job in a brick yard, worked long hours, wore his hands & fingers raw 'till they bled since he couldn't afford to buy gloves. His wages were $3.00 a week, paid room and board out of that. He couldn't speak or understand English so he tried going to night school. After 2 nights he quit since the teacher spoke no German or Polish and Dad no English. It just was no use. He eventually learned to speak & read from & by the people he worked with & for. In fact, he got so good that in his forties when I worked with him he could read a blueprint & figure it out better than the man that drew it up. This man tried to lay out a spiral stairway he'd drawn up. (I've kind of got too far ahead)
By the way, at age (??) he built a barn for Grandpa. So he was a natural carpenter. He worked in the brickyard only a short time until he learned some English. Then he got a job as a Finish Carpenter or Cabinet Maker in a shipyard when all cabins, cabinets, stairways, well everything on passenger ships was made of oak, walnut, mahogany & he could do some beautiful work with wood.
Since he was raised a Baptist, he sought out a German baptist church in Cleveland & fellowshipped with people who had migrated from Germany & Poland.
The reason he had to borrow money for passage to America, Grandpa had no money for his sons when they decided to leave home. He was considered well to do by their standards. He had loaned all of his money to Polish people, supposedly friends of his that he buddied with in the saloons.
In the First World War Grandpa, Grandma and the youngest son, then around 17, were exiled to Siberia. The boy died there of pneumonia. After the war they came back to Poland to nothing - no home, no money. They lived with Aunt Emlie. Grandma lost her mind. She'd go outside & start picking up sticks for firewood. The sticks would drop, she'd keep picking them up. She couldn't find her way back to the house. Her mind was like a child's. She died in the early 1920's. Grandpa died in 1933 broken hearted. He had wished to see Dad once before passing away since Dad had never gone home for a visit.
In the group of young people Dad fellowshipped with were the Ylrke boys, Adolph,Albert, Roudolph & Gust and their sister Martha. They grew up together in Poland, attended the same church and school.
Adolph had his first airplane ride when he climbed up to a stork's nest & reached in to get a young one. The mother stork pecked at his hand & he grabbed her by the neck & she spread her wings & took off. Adolph, only about 10 or 12, hung on and glided to the ground on the wings of a stork.
In this group of young people was the Wegner boys, older than Dad, Gotlib, Henry, Fred & Emiel^ Emjal was a buissinessman, went to Gladwin, Mich. & started selling
He'd buy then sell to the city immigrants. Soon his brothers had moved to Gladwin, Michigan.
The Yirkes already were there. Adolph Yirke married a girl from Alpena (Martha Vincoff). Albert Yirke had married a girl he knew from the old country, a Stienkrauss. Gotlib Wegner married Amanda Schultz, sister to Emial Schultz. Their aunt was married to our Uncle Joe & they stayed in Poland. In this Sunday school group, Dad net Mom "Roselia Beck" also raised in Poland, but a different area. She came over in April, 1904 & was seasick the whole 2 weeks at sea. Dad never got sick. He earned his keep by peeling potatoes & onions in the galley. Mother's first stop was Albany, N.Y. She had some relation there. I don't remember how long she stayed there. She went on to Cleveland because she had her oldest sister there. Aunt (???); also some cousins, the Grimple girls, she used to have pictures of them. Through moving they were destroyed.
September 5,1908 I joined the show, a little bald headed noise maker. I must have done something that irritated Dad because at age 21 Mom told me that there were times that Dad was so mean to her & me that she wished the Lord would take me home. He had a very un controlable temper as you will see later in this memo.
The Yerkes already were there. Adolph Yerke married a girl from Alpena (Martha Vincoff). Albert Yerke had married a girl he knew from the old country, a Stienkrauss. Gotlib Wegner married Amanda Schultz, sister to Emial Schultz. Their aunt was married to our Uncle Joe & they stayed in Poland. In this Sunday school group, Dad net Mom "Roselia Beck" also raised in Poland, but a different area. She came over in April, 1904 & was seasick the whole 2 weeks at sea. Dad never got s*ck. He earned his keep by peeling potatoes & onions in the galley. Mother's first stop was Albany, N.Y. She had some relation there. I don't remember how long she stayed there. She went on to Cleveland because she had her oldest sister there. Aunt ; also some cousins, the Grimple girls, she used to have pictures of them. Through moving they were destroyed.
September 5,1908 I joined thw show, a little bald headed noise maker. I must have done something that irritated Dad because at age 21 Mom told me that there were times that Dad was so mean to her & me that she wished the Lord would take me home. He had a very uncontrolable temper as you will see later in this memo.
Sometime in the spring of 1910 Cleveland was hit by a tornado in the area where we lived on the second floor of a wood frame house about 13 years old. The house vibrated, shook, windows rattled. Dad got scared, grabbed me up in his arms and ran to the door, opened it up and faced a sheet of water. It just poured so he closed the door and we sat and sweat out the storm. All that happened to our house was some broken windows and the chimney was blown off. At the end of the block a church was under construction. The steel structure was up until the storm twisted and tore it down. A few miles away out west side of Cleveland, a bridge over a river & deep valley was completely destroyed. At a park in the city a streetcar was picked up off the tracks and dropped on its side on park grounds. Since Mom always was such a Christian saint, I'm sure she prayed all through that storm.
About the time that I was 18 months old I had grown the curliest head of hair anyone ever had other than the negroes. I think it was later that year (1910) that Aunt Gustie came from the old country. She was around 16 or 17 years old and a pretty girl. I think she met Uncle Christ in Cleveland, married and went to Detroit & lived the rest of their lives in Michigan.
The young people in the early 1900's were no different than any other generation before or after. They dated, fellowshiped together as a Sunday School group. Mom actually dated Gotlib Wegner before Dad and he was a swell, kind & gentle man. As it turned out, Dad & Mom married May, 27, 1907. Gotlib Wegner and Amanda Schultz married. Don Kleiss & Adelia Deode married. Tony Deode & Bertha Balzer married.
Dad & Don Kleiss sort of chummed together and must have been pretty close because in 1911 they went to Michigan and each bought an 80 acre form 2 miles apart.
I have to backtrack, something I may do quite often.
There was another couple in the same group, Fred Peck & Gustie Rolloff. Mom & Dad were Best Man & Bridesmaid at their wedding. They were close friends for about 55 years. Whed Fred visited Dad in Tampa a couple of times without his wife Gustie, Dad told him not to come again without her. He never took her anywhere. They lived in Cleveland all their married life, raised 5 children; Edward, Evelyn, Lottie, Billie, Mildred.
March, 1912 Dad, Mom & I moved to Gladwin by train. I don't remember the train ride but I do remember the sleigh ride out to the farm. The only straight road was the townline which has been M-18 for about 50 years. From there one more mile east & then 2 miles north. The road was like a trail through a pasture. Stumps hadn't been removed yet so the road swung around them and the surfacing was just as the Lord had created it. Only in March it was froze and covered with snow, so much that many of the stumps were covered. It had drifted so that the fences were covered over in many places and the snow was froze so hard the horses & sleighs passed right over fences. The teamster took the way of least resistance. That's all I remember of that sleigh ride. Don't know where we stayed since our possessions had not arrived yet. We could have stayed at any one of our neighbors; Adolph Yerky's next door, the Henry Will's next south, the Christ Lange's across the road, or John Yerky's across Lake 19 which wa son Lange's farm.
Now our 80 acres had only 5 acres of cleared land so there wasn't much to farm, just garden, enough feed raised for a hog or 2, a few chickens, a horse, a cow or 2. The house was small, not over 20' x 24' built in the lumbering days of the late 1800's . A small barn, a spring rooted over where Mom kept milk in a mason jar, butter in a cloth hanging in the spring water. The water bubbled up out of the ground as though it was boiling & boy was it cold, about 40 or 45. That was our fridge and complete water supply. That Spring May 28,1912 Leonard was born, no doctor, just a midwife. Mrs. Shultz, known to everybody as Mama Schuftz, that Summer & Fall if Mom had chores to do outside or in the barn she had to leave baby & me alone. I wasn't 4 yet & she couldn't trust me for fear I would do some mischief so she had an empty flower basket in one corner & just put me in it. I could barely see out the top.
Since there wasn't much land to work, Dad kept busy clearing land on the southwest corner of the farm where he wanted to set up his permanent home, out buildings, which consisted of the least but most important (outhouse), tool shed, grainery, and barn, garden area. He had bought an old broken down stump puller probably for almost nothing & rebuilt it. A tripod of three 12" logs about 12 or more feet long fastened together at the top with one big bolt. Two legs have a large wooden wheel made up of built up boards spiked and bolted together and a large bolt through wheel and leg, the third leg had a heavy hardwood skid like a sleigh runner under it which he hooked the horses to and moved the tripod over the stump. Tied a chain around the stump & to the crossbeam. There was a large block and tackle hanging from the top of the tripod made up of 4 wooden pullies or wheels in each with a large rope threaded through the pullies. The second pulley was hooked to the end of the crossbeam. The rope coming from the top pulley went through a single large pulley at the bottom of the leg with the skid and if the stump wasn't real large, a team of horses pulling on this rope could literally lift a stump out of the ground. Most of the large stumps Dad blasted with dynamite or at least split them in smaller pieces. In the center of one field not far from the barn was a stone the size of an average dining table and it was just below the surface so that plow,drag, disc, or cultivator would hit it. Well Dad was going to get it out & off that field so he put several sticks of dynamite under it. When that blast went off the result was some dirt blown out from under and around the rock and all the chicks that were about to hatch dead in the shells from the shock. What do you do then? The clucks had no eggs to sit on and were still in incubation heat so we soaked them in cold water put them under a crate for a cooling off period and put some fresh hens on nests of fresh eggs to try again. And Dad tried another trick of his. He laid the explosive on top of the rock, covered it with mud. That blast broke the rock into smaller pieces that could be handled.
When Dad had the building site cleared he prepared to move the buildings, how would he do that? No tractors, not even self propelled steam power that could pull these buildings up that hill but he had his own plan. From somewhere he got an old winch or sometimes called a windlass. This had a cable wrapped around the cylinder. It was placed ahead of the object to be moved the length of the cable. There it was anchored to a stump, large stone in the ground, or a post hole was dug on away from the winch. Dad cut 2 timbers the length of the house plus 2 feet on each end.Flattened top, bottom and side with a broad ax, the front end like a sleigh runner, raised the house, put the timbers under it. Provided himself with about a dozen maple rollers 4 feet long and about 8 inches thick. The timbers were secured with spreaders so they wouldn't slide together. A length of cable fastened to the timbers, team hitched to the winch pole & then driven in a circle, winding the cable in until all the way, then moving the winch forward
and doing the same over again fron sun up to sun down. The first night was spent on the side of the hill. It was fell, froze that night & everything was set "like froze to the ground". At front end of the house was a ladder nailed to outside wall, a door at top. Some door had opened and our had gone up there for the night. It was real warm near the chimney. When Dad started to pull the house next morning the cable tightened up real tight, then all of a sudden everything broke loose from the ground and caused the house to lurch forward. Then from out of the attic came the cat. He didn't need the ladder, just flew like a flying squirrel, hitting the ground on the run. Every time this incident was mentioned it would bring Dad to tears of laughter. He moved the barn the same way. That winter he spent all of his days in the woods clearing land, making firewood, gathering logs for his next big project; building a new barn. Sometime that summerof 1912 he must have had the well drilled on the building site, I don't know when. All I know we had a very good well and no water ever tasted better.
In the late 1800's there was a big lumbering business in central and northern Michigan. They built a series of dams on rivers, dump the logs in the backed up water then open the dam & float the logs downstream to mills in Saginaw. Some of the logs would go astray on the banks of the river or get stuck somewhere & that's what the Sugar River was used for and it flowed through part of our farm on the northeast corner. That winter of 1913&1914 Dad hauled up and piled near the barn site a big pile of pine, poplar, ash, maple & hemlock logs. I used to play on that pile. He had made a skid out of oak, 2 runners with steel bottoms, a strong wooden stake on each end of the bolster with the back end of logs dragging. He'd haul them home when there was snow on the ground. He wore a full beard that winter. Many a night he came home with little icicles hanging from his beard and moustache. He'd pull them off and bounce them on the floor. The skid looked like the front half of a sleigh. The summer of 1914 a man by the name of Jack Hudson who had a sawmill moved it next to the log pile and cut all those logs into 2 inch plank that Dad built the frame for the barn.
That summer the month of July Gustie was born. A doll with naturally curly hair, she was the apple of Dad's eye. He loved her more than anything including Mom, Leonard, and myself.
I don't remember Dad ever talking about how much money he came from Cleveland with, how much he bought the farm for, or what the down payment was, if any. I do remember that everything he bought after we moved there, horses, cattle, hogs, chickens, farm tools was on bank notes, and there wasn't much clear land so he built barns for farmers. That was what he knew and could do best. The first barn was for Gotlib or $108.00 if gotlib got the material together. Gotlib gathered and Dad built. The barn is in use today by the oldest son Ted Wegner. In 1913, 1914 &1915 he built 6 or 7 barns, Yerke's,Cur's, Wegner's,Will's, Bishlin's, Young's, and one other that burned down around 1960 near Herman Doedes . I never did know how much his wages were but he did not make enough to pay off the notes, so in the fall of 1915 we had a Auction Sale, rented the farm to a bachelor Ed Winecoffe from Alpena. Brother-in-law to Adolph Yerke and moved the family onto the farm that was then known as the Fred Wegner farm south of Round Lake Baptist Church & Dad went to Detroit and worked in auto factories. He boarded with Aunt Gustie & Uncle Christ. They had one child Marge about 11/2 years old then. Uncle Christ was a conductor on a steetcar.
At the age of 6 years I started to school, walking 1 mile to Millsville School. I was handicapped, I could not speak or understand one word of English, only German. But I was fortunate that my first teacher was German too so he could talk to me but I was awfully bashful. The first day of school went inside, sat on bench near the door & that's as far as I would go. Would you beleive it took the teacher 3 weeks to get me to a seat? I had 2 friends who walked with me Elsie & Emo Llnge our neighbors. They couldn't get me to leave the bench. I think Dad whipped me several times for that stubbornness. There was one other kid started that year, Russel Hager. He & I were in our class alone. There were 29 students that year, first through eighth grade. Each student carried a half or one gallon syrup pail with our lunch. Our recess and noon hour recreation was Pump, Pump, Pull Away, Ant-I-Over, Tug-O-War, Baseball. In the winter it was Doo & Deer, Foy & Goose, snow forts & snowfights. Some winter mornings the school was so cold we played 3 Deep or Rachel & Jacob. By the year 2000 there won't be anyone left who remembers any of these games. In those days there was lots of work to on the farm, all by hand & with horses. Land was cleared with ax and crosscut saw. Usually 2 men to a saw, stump pulled out with team of horses, the large ones were blown out with dynamite. Brush & stumps were piled & burned. Stones were picked by hand, loaded on stone boat, if too large to carry - rolled on, hauled to fence row or near lane, anywhere out of the way. Dad hauled his stones on yard near building site. He planned to build a stone veneered house (never got to that). Then the cleared land was plowed with a 2 or 3 horse team pulling a 1 furrow walking plow. Many a mile I walked behind a plow from the time I was 13. Then back the team to a drag and again walk back forth across that field to sort of mulch the ground & mix in whatever had been spread on it. Then you planted by hand, broadcasting, drill, hoe, whatever way was available. Crops were gathered by hand, hay was cut by mowing machine, raked by dump rake into winnows, piled in shocks that 2 men could pick up with forks and load on wagon. Before barns farmers had to build stacks with hay, oats, rye, wheat in such a way that they would not get we through when it rained. We planted our potatoes by hand. One person would make a hole with a hoe, the other would drop a seed potato in the hole & the first would close or cover the hole with soil, take one step and plant another. Corn was planted by hand one hill at a time with a planter. In fall potatoes were dug with a fork, left to dry for a couple hours & picked up & bagged by hand. When the plants were growing, we had to hoe the weed out and hill the plants. Potatoes grow underground, if not kept well covered, exposeure to sun turns them green & they're not good. Beans had to be pulled by hand stood upside down in bunches before taking on a wagon & hauling home. Corn was cut by hand with a scythe, stood up in shocks like small wigwams. So you see, every mouthful of food we or the animals ate did not come easy, you sweat for it.
I remember the first year Dad worked in Detroit. I was about 13, plowing with a walking plow pulled by a pair of young horses about 4 or 5 years old. They were walking quite fast & the plow point hit a large stone underground. The impact threw the plow to the side. The plow handles hit me chest high from the side & just knocked me against a fence out of breath. Everything was work, work, work, from sunup to sunset. We didn't have any trouble sleeping. Even the cows did not give milk. We had to sit on a little stool, 10 or 12 quart pail between our knees, taking the milk from them every morning and nite. You never missed a day. There was no going away for a 2 or 3 day weekend unless you had someone to take your place.
I have to regress a little. My only sister Augusta was born in July 1914 (I've never known the date). She was a pretty girl. At about a year and a half, long brown hair in natural curls. Dad
idolized her, almost worshipped her. In the spring of 1916 Dad made sale, rented the farm to Winecoff and moved the family to the Fred Wegner house south of Round Lake Baptist Church (now in 1983 known as the Winkler place) and he went to Detroit. We had kept our cows so Mom & us 3 kids had milk, cream, and butter. We had our chickens too. I don't remember if we farmed any of the land. I'd remember the cows hay fields that had been cut to keep them out of the cornfield. Maybe someone else was farming the land.
Mom got work at Martin Fiddler's home a mile south. He was a widower, his wife was killed in a fall down basement stairs, so Mom did his washing and some housework. Some days we kids went with her. One day in August she went alone, we kids played along the road. That afternoon we walked a little ways south of our place, about in front of the old Russel place. Toots (we always called Augusta Toots) got sick and lay down on the side of an embankment. I don't remember if she walked home or if Mom carried her but the next day when Dr. Bowlton came in his horse & buggy she was totally helpless. She had Polio (then called Infantile Paralysis). Mom called Dad, he came home by train soon as he could. The only way she could be handled was on a pillow. Couldn't move a finger, she never lost her speech. She wanted Dad to carry her so he did for almost 2 weeks. Mom & Dad kept her with them nites. One night when they went to bed she said "Mommie, Daddy I'm going bye bye with the dollies". (You see she just loved dolls but never had one of her own.) "Are you coming along?" Of course they said yes. She did not speak again. Seemed satisfied and an hour later went to be with her Lord. She must have seen the angels coming to carry away her soul.
In those days it was thought that Polio was a very contagious disease so we were put under quarantine for 6 weeks but no one else came down with it. Dad had to get back to his job so evereything went fast. The Dr. sent the undertaker out next day.
Rogers with his horse drawn white hearse prepared Toots" little body for burial. In close living room put her in a little white casket. Mr. Tally minister from Skeel's church was there. He also was my teacher at Sherman School. We had her funeral service right there. Mom & Dad, Leonard & I and Rev. Tally & Rogers. Dad tried to take a picture but it was no good. Nobody dared to go along with them to the cemetery even to buy a grave lot so Rogers had her buried on someone else's lot and never made a record of it and to this day we do not know the location of her grave. All we know is it's somewhere in S.W. corner of Old Highland Cemetery, Gladwin, MI.
That day Dad's clothes had to be fumigated. In a closed room & sealed then he went in with a pan of germicide treated waterand bathed himself then climbed out a window & down a ladder from 2nd floor and returned to Detroit. He would write to Mom in German. She couldn't write or read his handwriting so we'd sneak across the field through the cow pasture and across Grandma Deode's field & she would answer his letter for Mom. In October we got out of quarantine. Dad had us move to Detroit after we sold all our household belongings at auction sale. That's the first train ride I can remember. Arriving in Detroit at nite, the train seemed to stop at every little hamlet and seemed to back up as much as go forward. Anyway it took all day to go 155 miles. Uncle Christ Stockman picked us up at the Michigan Central Station in a car. I don't know if it was his or a borrowed one. We lived with him on Burns Ave. Then just before Christmas we all moved to a larger house, 2 story across the alley on Rhons Ave. near Harper Ave. That was the first real Christmas I can remember. Helen & August Grimer gave us kids
quite a number of gifts. She was Uncle Christ's sister. I had learned a recitation in German to recite at Christmas program in Burns Avenue Baptist Church & I had memorized it perfectly. Well when I got on the platform & looked out over the audience I started to cry & forgot all about the poem. Every Saturday 10 to 12 AM Rev. Graff had German school for all kids through high school. I always went, walked from our house.
January 29, 1917 Walter made his entry inti this world. I don't remember that I even suspected his ultimate arrival. We lived on Rhons several months then we moved to an upstairs flat near Warren Ave East. Huppies lived downstairs. Harold Huppie was about my age. He took me to his school. The first day I got out a little early for lunch & tried to go home by myself and got lost. Went back to school & waited for Harold. I didn't get lost after that. This home was also in walking distance to church. We lived there 'til just before Easter. Mom, Len, Walt, & I went to Cleveland for Easter. Stayed with Aunt . They always had big Christmases so there were lots of toys & dolls. Clarence had an electric train. It was stored in the attic. Well I found it and was having a ball 'till Ruth & Liddie found me. I never got to the attic again. We stayed at Uncle Gust's a couple of days. He worked out of a bakery. Had a bread route. I enjoyed all the goodies he brought home, things I had never seen before. From there we got on the train & went back to Detroit & packed to return to Gladwin.
The First World War was getting hot. U.S. was drafting young men by the thousands, single, married, with families and of course, Dad & Uncle Christ did not want any part of the war. Dad worked in a auto factory and Uncle Christ was a conductor on a streetcar. So Dad sent us home to Gladwin. We had nothing but our clothes so Gotlib Wegners took us in. I went back to Sherman School thinking I was still in the first grade. The teacher said no, I was supposed to be in the 2nd. You see I went there in early spring of 1916, when school let out unbeknownst to me I had passed to the 2nd. Maybe it was from 2nd to third I'm not sure and I or Mom were not told then because of Toots" death. Our quarantine & move to Detroit I did not get back to Sherman 'till spring of 1917. Mr. Tally was still our teacher. That's where I remember seeing the kids play games at recess & noon where some would kind of tumble or just fall & roll and we'd see Pillsbury Best on the seat of the girls' bloomers & Portland Cement printed on boys overalls that were made from washed and bleached cement bags and flour bags. People were poor in those days. Many times we kids would have to take a dozen eggs in a gallon syrup pail, walk 4 miles to a country store to exchange them for salt, rice, pepper or something we could not raise and our pay for the trip was a penny's worth of candy or just a stick of gum.
We lived at Wegner's through May 1917. I walked the mile to Sherman School short cutting through Wegner's pasture. Took sick at school one day, went home early, got into the pasture, couldn't go no further so lay beside a log, went to sleep. When I woke I had a problem, something itching & biting me and would you believe it I had ants in my pants. That rotten log was full of them black ants about 3/8 inch long & could they pinch. Leonard was turning 5 the May 28th, he had a old habit. Always licking his upper lip when he had a runny nose. That bothered Mrs. Wegner so one morning a breakfast she picked up a big bread knife, walked up to him, reached for his tongue as though she was about to cut it off. You know that cured him.
The last week in May Mother took Len, Walt, & I and we went to Kleisses for a few days while Mrs. Kleiss had her 5lb1oz baby, "Gladys". Sometime later we moved back to the house near
the Baptist church where Toots' died, only we lived in the front part & another family lived in the back kitchen & 2 bedrooms. Rudy, and Hilda Wagner & their parents.
That fall, the war was taking every able bodied man. Dad quit his job in Detroit, came back home, took his farm back and rented another a mile north of ours in Millsville just past the Sugar River where the Millsville School stood & where I started to learn the 3 r's. This farm was known as the Avery place. The family that lived there before we moved in was Rasch. They had one boy, George my age & a girl older, Sadie. They moved to Flint. We kept our work horses & milk cows there but young cattle and sheep were kept at our own farm at Lake 19 one mile south of Millsville. Once a day Dad would go there and do the chores. That was fall, winter, & spring. Clean barn & bed with fresh straw so the animals would have a clean place to lie down. In the summer then we turned out in the pasture, through which flowed the Sugar River. In the winter we would turn the livestock out so they could come to the well & someone would pump water by hand for them. In winter on very cold & windy days they'd drink, turn, and run for the barn. One time I was to pump the water for them. It was very cold and windy. There was hoar frost on the pump handle. I took a lick at it with my tongue and stuck to the handle, got scared, tore loose, and the skin from my tongue stayed on the handle. I never did that again. The school was about 150 yards from the house and from house to school fence was pig pen. Leonard & I would start off to school on the run when the bell started to ring and never were late. In winter I'd run home, harness up my dog Tip, hitch him to my sleigh and away we'd go to the other farm, water & feed stock, come home, have lunch & back to school all in 1 hour. When going downhill the sleigh would catch up to Tip, bump his hind legs. He'd jump to one side and stop, dump me off & I'd go sledding on my stomach downhill, the snow being smooth in the sleigh runner tracks. The school was on a hill & we kids who had sleds brought them to school. Then at recess & noon we'd coast down that hill. My first year in school August & Emma Lange were still in school their last year. Their oldest sister had gone to Detroit, married, so for a good Christmas present for August, her husband Charlie built him a bobsled that 4 kids could ride on. He brought it to school this one particular time and 4 of us kids got on. Carl Allen in front & I in back, he was a year older than I, down the hill we went. At the bottom we went off the side of the road. There was a sheet oft ice where the melted snow run off on warm days & spread out, and in that ice was a road grader left there the summer before. Well, on the ice Carl had no control of the sled, hit the grader head on and smashed his nose. That was the first time I'd seen a person injured & bleeding. Needless to say that bobsled never came to school again & Carl went through life with a battered looking nose. Another memorable experience I had was that Geo. Roschgave me a small homemade sled. "It was the Rosch farm we moved on in 1917." We had a coasting party one bright & cold moonlit night on Snover's Hill (Esther Kleiss's home when she was born). I on my little sled, coming down that hill plenty fast. Suddenly I saw about 4 older kids walking back up the hill in front of me. Hit one of the boys at the ankles, took his feet out from under him and I went underneath him before he hit the ground. He never knew who that was until about 30 years later when we met at Otto & Esther's house & were reminiscing (Esther & Otto lived on the Snover homestead) on Sugar River Road across form Arthur Hager homestead.
When Art Hager bought that land there was not a spot to build a shack, he cut down big trees & burned them to make room for a home site, built a log cabin. I visited there many times. His only son, my age & I were in the same class, he at the head & I at the tail or vise versa. Russel had four sisters, Burnis, Thelma, "Twins <Evetyn & Marion pg 27>. Dad was so scared
of the military, he rented more land & plowed it up & before he got to planting, the war ended. Some crops that he did plant were not worth harvesting. One field was so stony that his effort to plow it was in vain. He just gave up. He did a lot of hard work for nothing.