Monday, August 23, 2010

History Comes Alive

When I was growing up, I thought history was a dead and dreary subject. I shudder to think of the many hours I sat through a subject that seemed removed from life, or the life that I knew. I felt like I was sitting in a pile of dry, brittle, blowing, and disconnected leaves.

Yet, as a kid, I loved a pile of leaves in the fall. By contrast, those leaves of “history” as we were taught were without color; they were without life.

Looking more closely, I could see that “history” as taught at that time was largely the history of males who happened to be white, dead, and “winners” of the spoils of their time. Big pieces were missing, including the daily flow of lives, the lives and contribution of women, and the struggle and gifts of various ethnicities and racial groups.

Many years later, I came to see a history which had life breathed back into it. I came to know that our relatives lived in the context of their times. Their story (our story) was very much alive. To understand them, I needed to understand the context of their story to the degree that it could be fully reconstructed. That would be at best difficult, yet much was still possible to reconstruct.

What you will see in the following text are historical events that occurred primarily during the life times of Isaac and Catherine (Powell) South. Isaac and Catherine were my Great Great Grandparents.

They are buried at Ft. Madison Cemetery in northeastern Adair County. Their grave site is marked by a tall, old, sturdy, and unpretentious stone, seemingly outside the reaches of memory. They are easy to overlook by we modern ones who are intent upon the now and the immediate future. But I chose not to overlook them. This narrative is a piece which has allowed me to see them and history come alive.

The dates of their lifetimes are from 1833-1912. Isaac was born 1st and lived the longer. The dates of their lives are marked in between lines as follows. And their picture is above. You will see what was happening in their lives. It is brief and primarily constructed from clippings that Grandmother Lottie Hart Brenz (their Granddaughter) kept throughout her life. Plus, you will see what was going on in their historical context.

Admittedly, the events listed drew me in. Isaac and Catherine would surely write their own list. Other family members would construct their own list too.

Some of the events that I chose came from pieces that I know of their story. Railroads were significant, drawing away 2 of their sons to Colorado, serving as a major system of transportation and a major means of transforming their world.

"Books” in the family archive provided other important clues for my study. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which was given to me many years ago by Mother, would be an example. I am eager to find it in our collection of packed treasures. I believe that it belonged to my Grandfather Fred A. Brenz (who married Lottie Hart, a Granddaughter of Isaac and Catherine).

The examples are also recollections that sit within the shadow of my own earlier memories. Old Hymns, which I heard while Aunt Louise Brenz Wells and the child that was me pounded at the piano keys on their farm, are primary. I also heard those Hymns being hummed from the likes of Aunt Lula Hart and others. While very rarely heard these days, those old Hymns ring out in the cherished archives of my heart and mind. I believe those memories, among others, are an extension of the lives of earlier ancestors.

Other recordings come from experiences in my own life which have had meaning, such as interest in John Muir, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, among others. Who knows? My ancestors may have had connections to them too.

Yet, in looking at a broader read of history, I find discomfort. Over the years, I have struggled to understand: “How could anyone in earlier times have supported ‘slavery’, or the horrific treatment of Native People whose land we now reside upon today, never mind the subjugation of Women?”

I have resolved those questions by believing that, while violence is to be deplored, people should be understood in the context of their times and that as a humanity we seek to move ever toward the Light. I know that those who follow us will see the primitiveness of our thinking and I hope they too will see that we did move ever toward the Light.

I have one further note. Reduction of “history” to a few short pages is not without its limitations. The treatment of Native American History in northeast Missouri is particularly incomplete. I have simply done the best that I could.

So there you have it. What follows is my collection of historical anecdotes which breathed life into the times of our earlier Ancestors. Richard and Melanie helped broaden my list and served as Readers of earlier versions of this text. Sources of dates and information are given. Personal information came from Grandmother Lottie Hart Brenz's Scrapbook of Clippings and family lore. Sources for information on historical context drew heavily from the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, which is among my favorites, as well as other sources. Family members and friends are invited to add their own dates.

And so, we begin:

1816: James Hart Stark and a small band of pioneers moved from Kentucky, settling on the west bank of the Mississippi in a place that would become Louisiana, Missouri. Stark brought a bundle of apple scions from his family orchard. Stark's efforts would be the foundation for Stark Brothers, orchardists who provided fruit trees to many, including my Grandfather Fred Albert Brenz and perhaps others in my family too.;jsessionid=C511105C107E4154CE9596A23EC2AF41

1830: The 1830 Census lists the U.S. population of the 24 states to be 12,866,020 of which 2,009,043 were slaves. Population center was about 170 miles west of Washington, D.C.
The last state to have been admitted was Missouri in 1821.

1832: The Black Hawk War was fought in the Midwestern United States. The war was named for Black Hawk, war chief of the Sauk, Fox, and Kickapoo tribes who fought for possession of lands in the area.
In Adair County, the Blackhawk War caused considerable fear among the early settlers although all fighting was far away. To ease fears, militia units were dispatched and 2 small forts constructed. A detachment of troops established Fort Matson (later called Fort Madison). After months of no hostile Native American activity in the Adair County area, both forts were abandoned. (Note: Isaac and Catherine South are buried at Fort Madison Cemetery, which is across the road from the site of old Ft. Matson.)
1833: Isaac South is born April 20 in Bethel, Ohio (Source: Isaac South Obituary #2).,_Missouri
Andrew Jackson was the 7th President of the U.S.

1837: The Treaty of 1837 removed the Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri into Kansas across the Missouri river to the Great Nemaha. The Missouri band became officially known as the Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska.

1838: Catherine Powell is born June 12 in Bethel, Ohio. (Source: Catherine Powell South Obituary 1& 2)
The artist George Catlin returns east, after visiting 50 Native American tribes whom he views as a vanishing race and some of whom were relatively untouched at the time of his visits. He assembles paintings and artifacts into his Indian Gallery and begins delivering public lectures from his personal recollections of life among the American Indians.
The Cherokee Nation is forcibly removed in the winter from their lands in the Southeast United States to Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma), resulting in the deaths of 4,000. Removal resulted from the Treaty of New Echota, which exchanged Native American land in the East for lands West of the Mississippi, but which was never accepted by the leadership or majority of the Cherokee.

1839(~): Samuel Clemens (later known as the author Mark Twain) is 4 years old and moves with his family to Hannibal, Missouri. This port town on the Mississippi River serves as inspiration for the setting of his later books The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

1841: From 1841 until 1869, the Oregon Trail was one of the main overland migration routes on the North American continent, leading from locations on the Missouri River to the Oregon Country.

1846: Elias Howe was awarded 1st U.S. patent for a sewing machine using lockstitch design.
(Unknown) Isaac South is converted as a young man, joining the Baptist Church in Bethel, Ohio. (Source: Isaac South Obituary)

1848: Catherine Powell is converted as a young girl. (Source: Catherine Powell South Obituary #1).
The Seneca Falls Convention on women's rights was hosted by Lucretia Mott, Mary Ann M'Clintock and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, with some 300 attending.
At the time, women were considered property of husbands. They (we) could not vote, hold office, hold property, divorce, retain possession of children if divorced by husbands. (Source: PBS Special: Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. A film by Ken Burns and Paul Barnes)

1850-60: Created in the early 19th century, the Underground Railroad was at its height between 1850 and 1860. By 1850, 100,000 slaves had escaped via the "Railroad". Harriet Tubman makes 13 trips to the South helping to free 70 people.

1851 Stephen Foster writes “Old Folks at Home” (also known as “Swanee River”).

1852: Also mother to 7, Harriet Beecher Stowe begins publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin which depicts life of African-Americans under slavery. Political issues regarding slavery became tangible to millions, energizing anti-slavery forces in the North and provoking widespread anger in the South.

1853: Isaac South and Catherine Powell marry October 25, Bethel, Ohio. (Source: Isaac South Obituary #2) They are ages 19 and 14. [Glinda’s Note: Date of marriage (either 1853 or 1854) differs between Isaac and Catherine’s obituaries.]

1854: Isaac South and Catherine Powell marry October 25, Bethel, Ohio. (Source: Catherine Powell South Obituary) They are ages 20 and 15.
Henry David Thoreau publishes Walden, which is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, and manual for self reliance.

1855: Son William H. South is born. (Source: Orchard Mesa Cemetery-IOOF-records, Grand Junction, Colorado

1856: Isaac and Catherine (Powell) South move from Ohio to Iowa. (Source: Isaac South Obituary #2; Catherine Powell South Obituary #1) They are about 23 and 18. .

1857: Dr. William S. Pitts writes "The Church in the Wildwood" following a coach ride that stopped in Bradford, Iowa.

1858: The 7 Lincoln-Douglas Debates brought together Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas for a seat in the United States Senate. All debates focused on slavery among other issues that Lincoln would face in his Presidency. Three debates (including 1 at Quincy, Illinois, October 13) drew especially large numbers and was of monumental importance to citizens across the nation.

1859: Daughter Louisa Mariah South is born July 29 in Lee County, Iowa. She is converted at an early age. (Source: Louisa Mariah South Obituary).

1860: The Pony Express begins in April and lasts until October 1861. This fast mail service crossed the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, and was the west's most direct means of east-west communication before the telegraph.

1861-65: American Civil War is fought.

1862: The Homestead Act is enacted and is one of several United States federal laws giving applicants freehold title to up to 160 acres of undeveloped federal land outside the original 13 colonies.
Battle of Kirksville is fought August 6.

1864: The Sand Creek massacre occurs November 29 when a 700-man force of Colorado Territory militia attacked and destroyed a village of friendly Cheyenne and Arapaho encamped in southeastern Colorado Territory, killing and mutilating an estimated 70–163 Indians, 2/3 of whom were women and children.
Stephen Foster, who will be acknowledged as the Father of American Music, dies at age 37. His works include: “Oh Susanna”, “My Old Kentucky Home”, “Beautiful Dreamer”, “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair”.

1865: Daughter Emma South is born. (Source: Ft. Madison Cemetery Records on line.
Abraham Lincoln is assassinated on Good Friday, April 14.
The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which officially abolishes slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime, is adopted December 6.

1868: John Muir makes his 1st visit to Yosemite, staying for 2 weeks. "We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us.”

1869: On May 10, the ceremonial "Golden Spike" was driven joining rails of the First Transcontinental Railroad across the United States at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory.

1871: The Great Chicago Fire burns from October 8 to October 10, killing hundreds and destroying 4 square miles. The fire was one of the largest U.S. disasters of the 19th century. Rebuilding begins almost immediately.

1872: Daughter Mary L. South is born in Lee County Iowa, September 18.
Buffalo Bill Cody makes his stage debut in Chicago in The Scouts of the Prairie, one of the original Wild West Shows.

1873: Fanny Crosby, 1 of the most prolific hymnists in history who just happened to be blind, publishes “Blessed Assurance”. She writes at least 8,000 hymns under over a hundred pseudonyms over the course of her life (1820-1915). Hymns also include: “To God Be the Glory”.

1875: The name and backing of P.T. Barnum is added to what will become the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, or the “Greatest Show on Earth”.

1876: Isaac and Catherine move with their family to Adair County. They reside in Adair County until death. (Isaac South’s Obituary #2). Isaac and Catherine are ages 43 and 38. (Note: John A. South’s 1918 obituary says he was “the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Isaac South, of Clay township”.)
F. & J. Heinz launch their Heinz Tomato Ketchup, advertised as: "Blessed relief for Mother and the other women in the household!" Branding products becomes a means of insuring consistency of product and customer allegiance.
The Centennial International Exhibition, the 1st World's Fair in the U.S., is held in Philadelphia. The Fair celebrates the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 10 million visitors attend, equal to 20% of the U.S. population (many were repeat visitors). Exhibits include: Alexander Graham Bell's telephone, Remington Typographic Machine (typewriter), Heinz Ketchup, Wallace-Farmer Electric Dynamo (precursor to electric light), Hires Root Beer, Kudzu (plant species suggested for erosion control).
Unkn Louisa Mariah South Hart is united with the Baptist church at Sperry. (Source: Louisa South Hart’s Obituary)

1877: Andrew W. Willauer (who will wed Granddaughter Daisy South) is born December 8.

1879: Daughter Louisa Mariah South marries Robert Nelson Hart August 31. She moves her membership to the M.E. Church South at Trinity where her husband is a member. (Source: Louisa Mariah South Hart Obituary)

1880: Census data show that Isaac South was head of household, married to “Cathrine” South, white, American, male, 47 years old, farmer, and resided in Clay Township, Adair County, Missouri. His mother’s birth place was New York and his father’s Ohio. (The 1880 Census took 7 years to complete.)
First attempt to construct the Panama Canal begins by the French and is later abandoned after 21,900 workers die, largely from disease and landslides. U.S. launches 2nd effort, resulting in 5,600 deaths and opening the Canal in 1914.

1881: Clara Barton and a circle of acquaintances found the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C. May 21.

1882: Granddaughter Daisy South is born September 4.
Grand Junction, Colorado, consisted of 150 men and two women. The town offered a free plot of land to the first woman married there in order to entice more women. The newly built bridge across the Colorado brought the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad to the area.

1883: Buffalo numbering 40-60 million prior to white settlement are systematically reduced to less than 1,000 as a means of eradicating the Indian presence.

1886: The Statue of Liberty, which is a gift of the people of France and dedicated October 28, becomes an iconic symbol of freedom and of the United States.

1887: Popular thinking is illustrated in published history text showing hierarchy of “civilized” (those who could read and write) over “uncivilized” (barbaric) peoples.

1890: On Dec. 29, the Wounded Knee Massacre occurs on the Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation, where the U.S. Cavalry fires indiscriminantly from all sides on Indian men, women, children and some of their own troops.

1892: A.T. Still founds the first school of osteopathy (American School of Osteopathy) in Kirksville, Missouri.

1897: Andrew Willauer starts as a Call Boy on the railroad in the Grand Junction, Colorado, area. His schooling is frequently interrupted by his duties, which frequently required riding as much as five miles on his bicycle. (Source: Andrew Willauer obituary) (Andy will marry Granddaughter Daisy South.)

1898: Son John A. South marries Fannie Pickens April 3. (Source: John A. South Obituary)
Spain and the U.S. enter the Spanish American War.

1901: Andy Willauer becomes a brakeman on the railroad.

1902: Daughter Emma South Stewart dies. (Source: Ft. Madison Cemetery Records on line. She was pregnant and fell while hanging curtains. She is buried in Ft. Madison Cemetery with the baby in her arms. (Source: Family story)

1903: The Wright Brothers make the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight.

1904: The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, informally known as the Saint Louis World's Fair, opens. Notable attendees included John Philip Sousa (whose band performed several times during the fair), Scott Joplin, Thomas Edison, 24 year old Helen Keller (who gave a lecture in the main auditorium), J.T. Stinson, (a well-regarded fruit specialist who introduced the phrase, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away"), famous French organist Alexandre Guilmant (who played 40 recitals from memory on the great organ in Festival Hall, then the largest pipe organ in the world), Geronimo (the famous former Apache war chief who was "on display" in a teepee in the Ethnology Exhibit).

1906: San Francisco is the site of a major earthquake.

1907: Isaac and Catherine (Powell) South move to Schuyler County, Greentop. [Source: Catherine (Powell) South Obituary #1]
Granddaughter Daisy South marries Andrew Willauer January 23 in Grand Junction, Colorado. (Source: Andrew Willauer Obituary)
Early 20th century immigration to the United States sees a dramatic influx of people from Southern and Eastern Europe. European immigration peaks, when 1,285,349 persons entered the country in this year alone.

1908: Mary L. South marries Gideon Lorton in February 19. Gideon has a son Leslie by a previous marriage to Beatrice Pickens who died May 6, 1901. (Sources: Mary L South Lorton Obituary and Gideon Lorton Obituary).
The week prior to April 20, Mrs. Isaac South “visited her daughters near Trinity.” She returned home “accompanied by Mrs. Mary Lorton, Mrs. Lou Hart and Miss Lottie Hart who spent the day with Mr. and Mrs. South, it being the 75th birthday anniversary of Mr. South.” (Source: Article from Grandmother Lottie Hart Brenz’s Scrapbook of Clippings)
Andy Willauer becomes a railroad conductor, usually on the Grand Junction-Salida run.
The Ford Model T (also known as the Tin Lizzie) was produced by Henry Ford's Ford Motor Company from 1908 through 1927. The Model T set 1908 as the historic year that the automobile became popular. Ford's innovations included assembly line production instead of individual hand crafting.

1909: Isaac and Catherine (Powell) South live in Kirksville, where Granddaughter Lottie Hart (Brenz) stays during the week as she attends the Wagner Conservatory of Music. [Source: Family Story-Dorothy (Brenz) Bloskovich]
On October 25, 18 relatives of Mr. and Mrs. Isaac South assembled for their 55th wedding anniversary. (Source: Article from Grandmother Lottie Hart Brenz’s Scrapbook of Clippings)

1910: Isaac is in failing health the last 2 years of his life and “was very patient and willing to go. He never tired of talking of the heavenly home, telling his loved ones he longed to be there.” (Source: Isaac South Obituary #2)
Catherine (Powell) South dies June 26 at 72 years and 14 days. Death is caused by erysipelas and exema. She and Isaac lived together 55 years and 8 months. She has two daughters and one son dead, and two sons and two daughters living. Burial: Ft. Madison Cemetery. (Source: Catherine Powell South Obituary #1 & 2)

1911: Isaac makes his home in Kirksville. (Source: Isaac South Obituary)
Granddaughter Lottie Hart marries Fred A. Brenz, November 15.

1912: Isaac South dies of chronic nephritis April 27 at the home of his daughter Mary L. South Lorton on 401 East Washington Street, Kirksville, Missouri. He was 79 years and 7 days. He had been a resident of Adair County 35 years. Burial: Ft. Madison Cemetery (Source: Isaac South Obituary #1 & 2)
Louisa South Hart and her husband moved to Kirksville. She unites with the Mulanix ME. Church South. (Source: Louisa South Hart Obituary)
Charles Austin Miles publishes the hymn “In the Garden”.
William Howard Taft was the 27th U.S. President.

1913: Daughter Louisa Mariah South Hart’s husband Robert Nelson dies. (Source: Louisa Mariah South Hart Obituary)

1917: Daughter Louisa Mariah South Hart dies September 17 at the home of her daughter Mrs. Fred A. Brenz (Lottie Hart) 5 miles northeast of Kirksville. She is 58 years, 1 month and 19 days. Burial: Ft. Madison Cemetery. (Source: Louisa Mariah South Hart Obituary)

1918: Son John A. South dies at his home in Dewey, Oklahoma. He leaves his wife Fannie, 3 children: Roscoe, Marion, Woodrow, and brother William H. South. He is buried in Cherry Vale, Kansas. (Source: John A. South Obituary)

1920: The 1920 Census lists the resident population of the United States as 106,021,537, an increase of 15.0 percent over the 92,228,496 recorded during the 1910 Census. In 1920, the U.S. included 48 states.

1927: Son William H. South and his wife Addie A. die and are buried in Grand Junction, Colorado. (Source: Mary L. South Lorton is the only surviving child of Isaac and Catherine.

1932: Mary L. South Lorton dies at home July 5. She is 59 years, 9 months and 17 days of age. She is the last member of Isaac and Catherine's children. (Source: Mary L. South Lorton Obituary)

1943: Andy Willauer retires from the railroad.

Date Unknown: Daisy and Andy Willauer make trips by rail from their home in Grand Junction, Colorado, to northeast Missouri to visit the South family. On one such trip (between 1933-45), they go to Washington, DC, where Daisy, as President of the Colorado Red Cross, is a delegate to the Red Cross National Convention. Mrs. Franklin Roosevelt entertains the Red Cross in the Garden at the White House.

1965: Andy Willauer dies and is buried in Grand Junction, Colorado.

1976: Daisy Willauer dies and is buried in Grand Junction, Colorado.

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