Amanuensis Monday, Blogging Prompts, Hoffmann, Hoffmann Line, Swing

Amanuensis Monday – Early Diary Years

Grandma on horseback on a hunting trip

Grandma Hoffmann began keeping a diary in earnest in about 1975, and I have a separate blog dedicated to those posts.  Grandma was always a record-keeper, however, and I’ve uncovered some documents which essentially constitute a much earlier diary record.

A series of sheets of paper, about 3″x 5″, fastened together with now-rusty paper clips, each sheet covers one month and has some sections pre-typed.  It seems Grandma originally intended the sheets to track her work schedule, with “Work” typed next to each weekday, and “Work A.M.” typed next to each Saturday. Grandma then added further details about her daily activities.

At this time, Grandma was 24 years old and (I think – someone may be able to confirm for me) working for Selective Service. This, as well as the date of this month’s diary sheet, makes it particularly fitting for this Memorial Day. She and Grandpa had moved from Illinois to Idaho within the previous 18 months. Both loved the West, but when Grandpa seemed more interested in the hunting and fishing that had drawn him there, Grandma was the one who first went out and got a job. An earlier record sheet indicates Grandma began work on January 29 1941, and Grandpa on February 17.

DECEMBER 1941

Mon. 1 W/□ – W/o□ Work [check mark]
Tues. 2 – Work [check mark]
Wed. 3 x – Work [check mark]
Thurs. 4 – Work [check mark]
Fri. 5 – Work [check mark]
Sat. 6 [check mark] – Work A.M. [check mark] Get permanent
Sun. 7 – U.S. attacked by Japan
Mon. 8 – Work [check mark] U.S. declared War on Japan
Tues. 9 – Work [check mark]
Wed. 10 – Work [check mark]
Thurs. 11 – Work Quit working – last day.
Fri. 12 – Work Washed & cleaned basement
Sat. 13 – Work A.M. Quit working Cleaned house
Sun. x 14 – Went to Helen’s
Mon. 15 x – Work Ironed & went downtown
Tues. x 16 ? – Work Finished ironing & mended. Went to Caldwell at nite.
Wed. 17 x – Work Mended, etc.
Thurs. 18 x – Work – Got telegram – left for home [Illinois] 12:00 noon.
Fri. 19– Work – Night of Xmas party.
Sat. x 20 – Work A.M. Go Home (?) Arrived home 1:20 P.M.
Sun. x 21 – Hoffmann’s for supper – stayed at folks all nite
Mon. 22 – Mom’s birthday – Bill [Grandma’s sister Marilyn] & Fran married. Went home w/Sam & Norm 
Tues. 23 – Stayed at Marie & Herman’s all nite
Wed. 24 – Folks all nite.
Thurs. 25 – Christmas – stayed at Joe’s Mother’s all nite.
Fri. 26 – Went to Bill & Millie’s – stayed at Lee & Eileen’s.
Sat. 27 x – Came home – Stayed folks’ all nite.
Sun. 28 – Roy & Phyllis went home – Martha’s for supper.
Mon. 29 – went to Peoria – saw Ann & Mary.
Tues. 30 –
Wed. 31 – Sam & Norma’s New Year’s eve.

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Blogging Prompts, Hoffmann, Hoffmann Line, Slagel, Wedding Wednesday

Wedding Wednesday – Estimable and Industrious

 

Only Known Picture of Paul Hoffmann

Because of religious restrictions, there are no photographs commemorating the wedding of my great-grandparents, Paul and Emma (Slagel) Hoffman.  The picture above is the only known photograph that exists of Paul.  A handful of photos of Emma from later years do exist, but Paul died in 1933, which was a tragic blow for the family.

There is, however, an account of their wedding in a local newspaper (possibly the Fairbury Blade), which marks the occasion.

MARRIAGES

HOFFMAN-SLAGLE

Mr. Paul Hoffman and Miss Emma Slagle were united in marriage at the Amish church southeast of Fairbury, Sunday, December 7 [1902]. The ceremony was performed at 3 o’clock by Rev. Chris Garber in the presence of a large concourse of people. The bride is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Slagle, of south of Fairbury, and is a most estimable young lady. The groom is a resident of Cisna [sic] Park and a brother of Mrs. J. G. Swing, of this city. He is an industrious and energetic young man. They will reside on a farm south of Fairbury and their friends join us in wishing them success and happiness during life. A number of Fairbury people were present at the wedding.

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Blogging Prompts, Bollinger, Cemeteries, Hoffmann Line, Research, Swing, Tombstone Tuesday

Tombstone Tuesday – Darmstadt to Fairbury

Karl Schwing, my 3G-grandfather, was born in 1813 in Darmstadt, Germany.  His father was apparently also named Karl Schwing, according to the History of the Schwing Family, which provides many of the following details. While in Germany, Karl was a Lutheran minister; he was married twice in the “Old Country” but lost both wives shortly after childbirth, the second wife buried at sea during the trip from Germany to America. Karl would later join the German Apostolic Christian Church.

In 1851 Karl married Saloma Bollinger, my 3G-grandmother, in Akron, Ohio. They had a son, John B., in 1852, and in 1853 the two older children, Karl and Margaret, died. Four more children followed John’s birth: Charles; Henry Edward; Albert Carl, Sr.; and Joseph Gilbert. Both the 1860 and 1870 censuses show Karl working as a tailor in Akron. In 1877 the family moved to Livingston County, Illinois, where Karl worked as a farmer. Three years later, the oldest surviving son, John, died in Chatsworth, Illinois, of lung fever. Karl only outlived his son by three months. The Livingston Yesterday series from the Pontiac Public Library (taken from the Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Illinois) states that on 10 August, 1880, “at the zenith of his powers,” Karl died. He is buried in the South Apostolic Christian Cemetery outside Fairbury, Illinois. Karl’s widow Saloma lived for two more decades, residing with all three sons at various times. She died in early 1900 and is buried in Graceland Cemetery in Fairbury.

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Blogging Prompts, Fairbury, Hoffmann Line, Obituaries, Research, Slagel, Sunday's Obituary, Swing

Sunday’s Obituary – A Grandma by Any Other Name

Lena and Albert Swing

Last night Mom and I were discussing family names, and how when she was a child she was grateful that she hadn’t been named after either of her grandmothers because she found their names very old-fashioned.

Lena Agnes Hunkler was born 22 December 1892 in Washington, Illinois (hit by the recent devastating tornado). At 20 years of age she married Albert Carl Swing, and they had three children. After living mainly in Illinois and Indiana, they eventually moved to Texas for Lena’s health. Lena died in Harlingen, Texas, on 13 June 1964 and was buried in Restlawn Cemetery in LaFeria. Apparently this newspaper needed to hire a new editor.

Mrs. Lena Swing

Forrest (PNS)–Mrs. Lena Swing, 71, died at 5 a.m. Saturday in Harlingen, Tex.

The Cox Funeral Home is in charge of services, which will be at 2 p.m. Monday in Harlingen. She was the former Lena Hunkler, and was born Dec. 22, 1892, in Washington, Ill. She married Albert Swing June 18, 1913, in Washington. Surviving are her husband; one son, Roy, Harlingen; two daughters, Mrs. Marilyn DuRuary [sic], Harlingen, and Mrs. Thelma Hoffman [sic], Boise, Idaho [sic]; two sisters, Hilda of Missouri [sic], and Bertha of Texas, and a brother, John Hunkler, who lives near Peoria. She and her husband operated the Swing Transfer Co. in Forrest. They left here 18 years ago to move to Texas.

Emma Alice Slagel was born 5 March 1880 in Fairbury, Illinois. She married Paul Hoffmann on 7 December 1902 in Fairbury, and she gave birth to 10 children. Paul died in a tragic railroad accident four days after their youngest child, Clyde’s, seventh birthday. Emma remained in Fairbury, dying on Christmas Day 1961. She is buried in Fairbury’s Graceland Cemetery.

Services for Emma Hoffman Thursday

Mrs. Emma Hoffman, 81, died at her home, 505 S Fourth, at 11:45 a.m. Monday. She had been ill three years.

Her funeral will be at the Cook Funeral Home at 2 p.m. Thursday, Rev. Peter Schaffer officiating. Burial will be in Graceland Cemetery.

Visitation begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.

She was born in Fairbury, March 5, 1880, the daughter of Sam and Mary Demler Slagel. She was married to Paul Hoffman in 1902. He passed away in 1933. She lived on a farm south of Fairbury until moving to town in 1943.

Surviving are three daughters, Mrs. Marie Kilgus, Fairbury; Mrs. Alice Himelick, Kokomo, Ind.; Miss Leona Hoffman, at home; five sons, Joe, Caldwell, Idaho; Sam, Paul, Clyde and Ralph, all of Fairbury; one brother, Dan Slagel, Fairbury; 36 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, a son and a daughter.

She was a member of the Apostolic Church Fairbury.

The family suggests that any tangible expressions of sympathy be in the form of donations to the Cancer Society.

I actually like both “Lena” and “Emma,” but then I tend to like the old-fashioned names best.  Well, usually.  My own grandmothers take the cake in the old-fashioned name department, even if Blanche and Velma were the sweetest grandmas ever.

Blanche Wilson Confirmation Photo, 1926
Velma Swing Graduation Photo, 1933
Blogging Prompts, Friday Funny, Hoffmann Line, Swing

Friday Funny – Grandma’s Pants

 

Velma Swing Wearing Roy’s Pants

This photo is one of many shared with me by Grandma Hoffmann. Luckily I had Grandma’s word for it that this was actually a picture of her, wearing her older brother, Roy’s, pants. I don’t know if there was a particular occasion for this cross-dressing, or if Grandma regularly wore Uncle Roy’s hand-me-downs, but it’s pretty entertaining. I also like the pump there in the corner.

This picture always reminds me of a funny story Grandma once told during a family interview.  Eventually I’ll finish transcribing the interview, but this particular anecdote involves Grandma, storytelling, and a slop bucket. When about three years old, Grandma was talking to her family and walking backward while doing so. She stumbled up against a big bucket in the kitchen where they put scraps and dish water for the hogs, and poor Grandma sat right down in the bucket.  “And everybody laughed at me.  It wasn’t a bit funny.” Though relaying the story all those years later, Grandma was able to laugh.

It reminds me of another NOT FUNNY experience someone else had that involved falling into water accidentally. And also being dressed in someone else’s clothes….

 

Blogging Prompts, Family Recipe Friday, Hoffmann, Hoffmann Line, Swing

Family Recipe Friday – Grandma’s Cranberry Jelly

Another recipe from Grandma Hoffmann‘s recipe binder – this one written on the back of a ticket to the Van Buren School Carnival.  Back when it cost 30 cents, apparently. This is the cranberry jelly that makes its appearance on the Thanksgiving table every year.  The story I have heard is that both this version and canned cranberry had to be served when Mom, Jay, Paula, and Carla were little.  Uncle Jay, in particular insisted on “the kind with the ring.”  Now if only we had had this recipe close at hand for Thanksgiving 2012 – somehow that year we remembered things incorrectly and boiled at length.  FYI – this results in a thick sticky glop.  Grandma’s instructions, when followed, result in a much more successful end product.

Blogging Prompts, Fairbury, Funeral Card Friday, Hoffmann, Hoffmann Line

Funeral Card Friday – Burial Arrangements for Paul Hoffmann

So I’ve defined “funeral card” pretty loosely today – this is the receipt for the funeral arrangements for my great-grandfather, Paul Hoffmann, eighty years ago this week (and reblogged on Sunday). Peter Schaeffer, a fellow church member riding in the first car when Paul Hoffmann drove into the path of an oncoming train in Bucyrus, Ohio, seems to have made the necessary arrangements to have the bodies returned to Fairbury for burial.

Interestingly, Wise Funeral Home is still in operation in Bucyrus and has been since 1845. According to the online Inflation Calculator, the $125 paid to Wise in 1933 is equivalent to $2187.50 today. It is difficult to make comparisons with Wise’s current price list, since I’m not sure what would constitute “crepe cloth casket full trimmed; outside box and personal service.”

I’ve uploaded images of newspaper accounts of the train accident from the Bucyrus News-Journal on my vital statistics page. These accounts can never capture the sorrow that befell the family, however, when 55-year-old Paul was killed so unexpectedly.

Blogging Prompts, Family Recipe Friday, Hoffmann, Hoffmann Line

Family Recipe Friday – Mincemeat

Today’s recipe comes again from Grandma Hoffmann’s treasure trove of handwritten and clipped recipes. This one, however, remains a mystery – it’s not in Grandma’s handwriting, and I thought it might have been written by her mother, but Mom says no.  So – whose recipe for mincemeat is this?

My closest connections to mincemeat are the memories of Christmas 1996, spent in Newtownards, Northern Ireland, with the family of Fiona, a fellow student in the MA program in Medieval Studies at the University of York (England). Over that holiday Fiona’s grandmother, a spry 94, insisted upon my eating great quantities of sausage, boiled potatoes, pound cake studded with candied cherries…and little mincemeat pies topped with whipped cream. When I finally reached the point where I could barely move or breathe (at nearly every meal), Granny Sloan would ask, if I remember it correctly (somewhere I have the exact phrase written down), “Are you close cousins?” which apparently means “Have you had enough to eat?”

Based on the quantities in this recipe, I think it would be sufficient to make close cousins of us all.

Blogging Prompts, Hoffmann, Hoffmann Line, Research, Swing, Thriller Thursday

Thriller Thursday – The Murder of Leroy Sinn

Leroy Gilbert Sinn, my second cousin once removed, was born in Indiana in 1925. He was the son of Albert C. and Eugenie C. (Swing) Sinn. Eugenie was the daughter of Joseph G. Swing and Lydia Hoffmann and the granddaughter of Jacob and Christina (Schmidt) Hoffmann.

Leroy attended Valparaiso University and became a patent attorney. In March 1957 Leroy married Ivalou Kellam, and they had four children: Brian Thomas, Mark Allen, Eric Bradley, and Julie Ann. Leroy and Ivalou lived in Massachusetts and later moved to Oldwick, New Jersey.

In January 1996 Leroy had a leg infection which required his admission to Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, New Jersey. It was there on January 21 that Leroy unexpectedly died. He was buried in Kouts, Indiana.

Nearly eight years later, on December 12, 2003, after a series of suspicious activities and deaths, hospital nurse Charles Cullen was arrested. He was 43 years old and charged with one count of murder and one count of attempted murder. During his interrogation, Charles Cullen stated he had killed more than 40 individuals during the past 16 years. He pleaded guilty in November 2004 and, to avoid the death penalty, offered to provide authorities with further details regarding his crimes. One of the crimes he admitted seven months later was the killing of Leroy Sinn as well as four other individuals at Hunterdon Medical Center. According to his confession, he injected Leroy with the heart medication digoxin, “And it was my intent to cause his death.” It is suspected that Charles Cullen may have killed many more individuals than he has yet named. Some believe it possible he may have as many as 400 victims and be the country’s most prolific serial killer.