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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cambria City Family - 1889 Flood - Johnstown


On this anniversary of the 1889 Flood. I thought it would be interesting to take the time to look at how the flood impacted one family from the Cambria City neighborhood. A lot of folks had ancestors that either died or lived through the disaster - it's almost like a badge of honor - at least it is to me - lucky enough to have had stories about the disaster passed down. I have often talked about my own relatives in regards to the flood. But today - a new story - sent in by cousin Jude Waples and it's all about her family -The Schafers: You are looking at a picture of Jacob Schafer. He was born in 1840 in Prussia and died in the Johnstown Flood. He was a member of the household (servant or soldier?) at the Royal residence of Wilhelm I in Brandenburg, Prussia. In this picture, he is
holding the reins of the Emperor's White Stallion. Her mother says he was
Captain of the Horse under William I, but in this photo, he is quite young
and his uniform looks like he was part of the Horse Guard who rode with the
King. 
There is a picture of Jacob wearing his Prussian uniform taken in
Johnstown pre-1889. He was married to Maria Mann. The Schafer or Schaeffer, there are various spellings, arrived in America
in 1873 from Prussia. Records show they place their home in Hesse Cassel.
They left from Bremen.
Jacob work as a Roll Turner at the Cambria Iron Works.
The Schafer Family owned a 'Saloon'...in those days more like a B&B or
boarding house. Jacob lived at 301 Chestnut Street in Cambria City. But also owned the house at 302 Chestnut.
Several Families which married into the Schafer family also lived on
Chestnut including the Klink, Miller and Gloor families.
This is a picture of their daughter Amelia and her husband Charles Frederick Gloor.
At the time of the Johnstown Flood, Maria and her husband Jacob, daughter
Amelia - (with her newborn daughter Katherine in her arms) and youngest
brother William, ran to a brick hotel that was close by. They thought it
would be safer. When the water hit, the corner of the building collapsed and
William was swept off the building. Both parents lost their lives trying to
save him. William was saved further down river by a farmer who pulled him
from the water. He was blinded by the debris. He was about
10 years of age. He never married and lived with his sister Louisa (Klink)
until his death in 1942.  Jacob's body was found beneath the rubble and
identified by a ring at the Morrellville morgue. 
Jacob is buried in the Grandview Cemetery.  It is thought that Maria was
swept back down (from the backwash) to the Stone Bridge where she died in the fire that erupted
there. Her body was never recovered. She may be among the unidentified
buried at Grandview.
 The picture is of the Schafer children who survived the 1889 Flood. Katherine, Amelia,
George, Augusta, William and Louisa. Jacob and Maria had two other children
who died prior to the flood, an infant and Minnie who died  about age five
of sunstroke. But that's not even the most interesting bit.
This is a painting of Frederick the Great who had an affair with
Anna Katerina Orzelska - one of Jude's early ancestors - and her connection to royality through Maria Mann - Jacob's wife. Family lore says that the beautiful Anna had an affair with the king and had two children by him. The beautiful Anna herself was the illegitimate daughter of August II the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland. He had over 300 children, legend has it. Her and her brother were the only two he recognised. She was a paramour to many people, including her own father and brother...and died, as a nun.
But take a minute and compare the picture of Anna Orzelska and then of the one of her mother Shirley. Look like each other a lot don't you think?
 Also compare this early picture of the Schafer's, look at them and look at the picture
of Frederick. Jude says the all have his eyes, deep set blue eyes. Especially the
Shaffers as they got older. My Lenz cousin connection of the family is through Amelia - who in the pictures I have of her - had the most amazing eyes - you know - the kind that just draw you in - even now - after all these years.







Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dawn - 1977 Flood


Dawn - 1977 Flood

'36 Flood - High Water Mark

 
'36 Flood - High Water Mark

Bucknell Hotel - Morrellville

 
My Aunt Dorothy (Hanzel) Kinnel sitting on the roof of the old Bucknell Hotel corner of Fairfield and D - 1940's. My grandparents lived there for a time right after my mother was born. My mother used to say that the place had the biggest roaches and silverfish.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Scootin around Grandview


Went scootin around Grandview the other day with a friend of mine. I borrowed her iPhone since my camera refused to work. First up - you are looking at the Civil War Memorial.
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George Reed - Medal of Honor - Civil War. Please excuse it being lopsided - I'm not used to the camera - I even managed to get my thumb in some pictures.
Next time I go up - I will take better pictures of this stone.

Civil War Funeral - Somerset County

I was looking for something different for this Memorial Day so I thought I'd repost this from September 2011 - considering it was one of my most popular posts from 2011. Hope you enjoy it: I was invited to a Civil War Funeral Reenactment in Somerset County - just outside of Rockwood - in the middle of nowhere for a very special afternoon. The ceremony was held at Mt. Union Church - built in the 1830's.
A tiny but very beautiful church.
Folks lining up for the "viewing of the body" inside the building with the black draped around it.
The widow and the other womenfolk mourning for their lost loved one.
Inside the "Parlor" viewing the body.
Hundreds of vintage photographs lining the walls. 
And the many offerings of flowers.
The "mortal remains" of Mr. Adam Cain who fought for the Union - of course this isn't a "real" corpse. But you have to appreciate the effort this actor went through - from the corpse-like makeup to the little touches - like having dirty fingernails. The makeup was so good that some folks had to touch the "body" just to make sure - saying afterwards - the body was warm - so it must be a person.
More folks lining up to go inside for the funeral service. 
But some - had to make a brief detour - for nature calling. The old-fashioned way.
Waiting for the ceremony to begin. As you can see - it's literally a step back in time to a way of life - only now brought alive in the pages of a history book. Just wish more young people would take the time to explore the past - they have no idea the hidden treasures they are missing. 
The church walls are lined with hundreds of pictures - it's all so interesting that you don't know where to look first. 
The menfolk milling around outside before hand.
Bringing the casket inside. 
Union and Confederate troops as pallbearers - since Somerset was so close to the Mason-Dixon Line.
The Minister and the start of the service. I have to say - for us modern folk - it's a tight fit when it comes to sitting in the pews. People were a lot skinnier and shorter back then - from the lack of proper food to the utter harshness of life itself.
video
Vocal Tribute - Miss Adia Dobbins signing "Poor Wayfaring Stranger". I was sitting in the last row - which was why she is half hidden behind a pole and unfortunately - uploading video compresses the file and it comes out a bit on the soft side. But her voice rings out - loud and clear. By the time she was done - alot of folks were wiping tears from their eyes - truly moved. This is the second time I have heard her sing and I have to say - she truly has a gift!
The Mt. Union Sacred Harp Singers provided the musical accompaniment. They were just wonderful - but I wasn't close enough to capture their sound - since string instruments are hard to pickup without a proper mic. 
Heading back outside with the casket.
Wish I knew more about uniform types - to help explain what branches they represent.
The Mourners heading out of church.
Loading the casket on the wagon to go to the cemetery.
Family members looking on...
as we line up to walk to the cemetery
Mt. Union Cemetery straight past the corn field.
Soldiers on each side lining up behind the wagon.
video
Walking behind the casket with the drums playing...
Walking past the stalks of corn - in a way kind of reminds me of Gettysburg.
Reaching the gates of the cemetery.
The Widow following behind her husbands casket.
Even the horse was decked out in period garb.
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Praying over the grave
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What a view from the cemetery - just beautiful on this early fall evening. 
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It's back to the church for some cake and punch.
Again - I wish I could tell you exactly which regiments these solders belonged to.
And the actors gathering around for a group photo - they all did such a wonderful job - that for a couple of hours - you forgot all about time - and enjoyed living in the moment - 1864.