Sunday, January 18, 2009

Harvesting wheat in Oregon in 1915

The following is from an unpublished book writeen by Marie Dorothy Jacobsen, a friend of our grandmother, Alma Beck and her sisters (our great-aunts) Adele and Lulu. The book is a collection of letters and pictures Marie sent home during a trip she took to the west coast during the summer of 1915. The following excerpt describes the portion of her trip when she visited the Becks girls in Oregon. [She consistently refers to Alma as Elma.]

Milton, Oregon
July 1915

Mrs. Beck and Adele were at the station to meet us. Adele teaches here in Milton and is planning on her B. E. degree soon. She is tall, lighthaired and has a sunny face. I like her. Then there is Lulu who is the prettiest of the girls and sings and plays the violin. She is a junior at high school. Reminds me of our own swede [a friend she often refers to in this journal] for she too loves to curl up with a book and eat peaches instead of apples while she’s reading. Elma is not at home this summer. She is out at her uncle’s farm in the cook house. A cook house is a covered wagon where they cook for the men in the fields. All they grow here is wheat, acres and acres of it. It is the prettiest picture one could wish to see, just like a big ocean of gold. It grows much higher than any wheat I have ever seen and stands up straight as can be. The straw seems stronger than ours too and they plant it only every other year in the same field. The rest of the time they cultivate the ground until there isn’t a sign of a weed. The fall that the “Summer Fallow”. Their farms are usually from fifteen hundred to three thousand acres and they harvest the wheat with huge machines called combines, that cut, thresh, and sack the grain all in one operation. Men get seven dollars a day here.

…The peaches and apricots are just ripe and I am sick of them already. We are sending you a box of apricots today, so look out for them. I have never tasted such fine cherries, berries, and plums as these in Oregon. They are so big and juicy and happen to be ripe now too. Most of the fruit is irrigated but the wheat grows by itself. We had a good chance to see this country for I made up my mind I’d wasted my visit unless I saw Elma. So we hired a Ford and drove thirty-five miles to see Uncle Henry’s. From there the Democrat Wagon (a light spring wagon) took us fifteen miles further to “Machateo” where they were harvesting “Uncle Henry’s” wheat. Across the road from “Uncle Henry’s’ house is the German Hall and we had an impromptu dance. The hired man is a student at the Oregon Agricultural College and with “Aunt Bertha” (Uncle Henry’s wife) was one Freda Sherning, the liveliest piece of humanity you ever saw. She was a ballet dancer over in Germany and a gay lady in Berlin. They have a dandy home, gas lights, running hot and cold water, and everything. Out as “Macheteo” we had a big welcome. The girls have a tent to sleep in and you can imagine the sleeping we six did. It’s the healthiest sort of life, the real thing in roughing it, Elma is getting strong and healthy for her next year at Boston. She is going to put the finishing touches on her music there. We rode the combine, took pictures, and tore around like wild things and then drove to Pendelton and from there took the train back to Milton…

These are the pictures Marie took of the cook house crew and the combine.

The second from the right of the four girls standing on the wagon appears to be standing and holding her head the same way our grandmother, Alma Beck, did in the other pictures of her taken that summer.

Alma's son Hugh (our father) is certain that in the fall of 1915 Alma continued her studies at the music conservatory in Walla Walla, Washington where she graduated in the spring of 1917. If Marie was correct that as of July 1915 Alma had been planning to go to Boston in the fall those plans must have fallen through.

Monday, January 05, 2009

How I tracked down my grandmother's cousins, Part 2

This is the 2nd part of a multi-part post. Be sure to read Part 1 first.

As explained in the previous post at the time of 1900 census our paternal grandmother's family, including sisters, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and first cousins looked like this:

In the 1910 census we find that Uncle Han's family has moved from Iowa to Prospect, Oregon, about 30 miles from Pendleton.

The babies that had been unnamed at the time of 1900 census are now listed as 9 years old Leona and Leonard. The addition to the family, 2year old son Arthur, is shown as being born in Oregon, indicating that the family moved before 1908.

The 1910 census shows Uncle Henry's family also has grown:

Daughter Frieda was born in 1902 and Hilda in 1906.

The census also shows 2 Paulson boys in the household - Frederick age 22 and Frank age 19- listed as servants. We can guess that they are somehow related to Aunt Maggie Paulson (Han's wife) or Uncle John Paulson (Sophia's husband) -- our 1915 picture of a huge crowd at Uncle Henry's farm said they were 'all related' -- but we have no information about the relationship.

We cannot find the family of Sophia Lorenzen and John Paulson in the 1910 Census. We do, however, find the family of Augusta Lorenzen and Catherine Meyer in Union, Umatilla County, Oregon.

Two children have been added to the family, son Vernon born 1905 and daughter Emily born 1909, both born in Iowa. The family must have just moved to Oregon within the year.

The 1920 census shows the family of Sophia Lorenzen and John Paulson in New Mexico.

We see that daughter Lillian (1903), son Ira (1907) and daughter Helen (1912) have been added to the family. The children were all born in Iowa so the family must have moved to New Mexico after 1912.

The 1920 census shows additions to the family of Augusta Lorenzen and Catherine Meyers:

Daughters Helen (1912) and Florence (1914) were born in Oregon.

That completes the discovery of our grandmother's 20 first cousins on her mother's side, of whom we knew nothing until a few weeks ago. Fifteen of them were named Lorenzen and were living in Umatilla County Oregon in 1915 when our grandmother and her sisters were there and those photos were taken.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

How I tracked down my grandmother's cousins.

In papers we inherited from our grandfather we had information about my father’s maternal grandmother and her parents. She was Telsche Friederika Lorenzen, born 11 Oct 1866 in the Village of Fedderingen, City of Heide in what was then Schleswig-Holstein, once a part of Denmark, an independent country for a while in the midlle of the 19th Century and, since 1864, a part of Germany. Her father was Johann Bracker Lorenzen, born 26 Dec 1828 and her mother was Wiebka Catharina Rohde born 1832, both also from Fedderingen. She had older brothers Hans, b. 1858, John, b. 1862, and a younger sister Sophia b. 1871 and a younger brother Augusta, b. 1874. The family immigrated to America when my ggrandmother was a little girl. My ggrandmother, Friederika Lorenzen, married my ggrandfather, William Beck in Iowa, where my greataunt Adele and grandmother Alma were born and then about 1897 the family moved to Minnesota where my greataunt Luella was born.

Here is a diagram of what we knew:

We had heard stories from my grandfather and father (my grandmother died when we were young) about my grandmother traveling to Oregon to visit her Lorenzen cousins and we had the following photographs:

In this photo we recognized the three young women as our grandmother and her two sisters. Writing on the back of the photo told us that the two boys were John and Gus Lorenzen and that the picture was taken at Lehman Springs, Oregon in 1915.

In this photo we recognized our grandmother and her sisters and we recognized the older women as their mother, Friedericka. Writing on the back said that the young woman in the center was Ann Lorenzen.

In this photo 'X's have ben penned in to show my grandmother and her 2 sisters. Writing on the back said that this was 'Uncle Henry Lorenzen's farm' and that the people in the photo were 'all related'.

This was all we knew about our grandmother's Lorenzen cousins until a few weeks ago when we visited my father's first cousin Herb, the son of my grandmother's sister, Adele. He is 85 years old and he has lost some memories but he could still remember a few things. Unlike my father he had visited the Lorenzen relatives out in Oregon. He told us that Uncle Henry's farm was near Pendleton, Oregon. He said that the John Lorenzen and Ann Lorenzen in the photos were brother and sister and he thought their father might be 'Uncle Henry' Lorenzen. Ann Lorenzen's married name had been Kilgore and John Lorenzen had had 3 daughters. He also remembered that his mother had had a first cousin out in Las Vegas, New Mexico named Ira Paulsen, so a sister of Friederika must have married someone named Paulsen.

I decided to see if I could take that bit of information and using the census, SSN death index and ship lists in, to which I had a subscription, to fill out this missing portion of our family tree.

This is a portion of the passenger list for the ship Vandalia sailing from Hamburg to New York, arriving 20 May 1872. It shows a Johann Lorenzen (age 41) with wife Wiebka (40), son Hans (14), son John (9), Telche (4) and Maria (baby). That seems to match our family if we assume that Maria is really Sophia.

Next I looked in census records for Lorenzens near Pendleton, Oregon.

Click on the image to see it larger. This is a portion of the 1900 census for a rural area of Umatilla County near the town of Pendleton. It shows a Henry Lorenzen, born in Germany 1862, emigrated in 1872, married 7 years to Bertha, born in Germany 1867, emigrated in 1887 and sons John, born in Oregon 1894, daughter Anna, born in Oregon in 1896, son Gustav, born in Oregon in 1898. There are the John, Ann and Gus from our photos and they would have been aged 21, 19 and 17 in 1915 when the pictures were taken. That seems about right. Henry's birthday seems to match the Friederika's brother John. Perhaps Henry (or Hermann) was his middle name and he used it the way my ggrandmother went by Friederika rather than Telsche.

Here is the family tree with this new information added:

Where was the rest of the family in 1900?

Click the image to see it full sized. This is a page from the 1900 census for Doon Township, Lyon, Iowa. I couldn't find any of the family in 1880 or 1890 census but here they all are. At the bottom of the previous page of the census is Hans R. Lorenzen, Head of Household, born Jan 1858 in Germany, married 6 years to wife Maggie, born April 1871 in Germany, son John H, born in Feb 1895 in (N.S.?). On this page we have son Fred M., born Jun 1896 in Iowa, son Herman C, born Jun 1898 in Iowa, and unnamed twin babies one male, one female born May 1900 in Iowa. Also in the household is Dora Paulson, sister-in-las to Hans. Wife Maggie's maiden name must be Paulson. The 1910 census shows this family has moved to Umatilla County, Oregon

The next line in the census, but listed as a separate household, is Wiebka Lorenzen, widow, born May 1832 in Germany. Johann had died before the 1900 census and Wiebka is living next-door to her son Hans' family.

Farther down the page we find John Paulson and wife Sophia and daughter Elma and son Herbert. The 1920 and 1930 census show this family moved to New Mexico and a son Ira born in 1907. This must be the Sophia married to a Paulson with a son Ira that lived in New Mexico.

At the bottom of the page we have a Gustav Lorenzen, born in 1874 in Iowa and married to a Katie Meyers. The 1910 and 1920 census show this family has moved to Umatilla County, Oregon. This must be Friederika's brother Augusta.

Goto Part2