Wednesday, November 25, 2009

From Whence I Came...Emilie Auguste Christina Schluessler

Emilie Auguste Christina Schluessler (known as Amelia) was born November 25, 1876 in Sterling Township, Macomb County, Michigan to William Schluessler and Emilie Werner (aka Emilie Schauer). She would one day become my paternal great-grandmother, mother of my grandmother, Ella Wellhausen Schulte. Amelia was the 5th and final child of William and Emilie Schluessler, however, hers was a special birth in that she appeared with a twin brother, Albert.

She would be the only great-grandparent that I actually knew as she did not pass away until I was 16 and I remember her well.

On December 3, 1876, Amelia was baptized in the Lutheran faith at St. John's Lutheran Church in Fraser, MI.

I don't have much information about her childhood or school years but I do have a photo of my great-grandmother in a school play. This photo was a tin type and scanned very well. The young man with her in the boat is unknown. Despite knowing my great-grandmother, I naturally knew her as an elderly person, and seeing her as a young girl was very interesting.

Amelia Schluessler in school play
ca 1890

On February 14, 1895, again at St. John's Lutheran Church in Fraser, Amelia married George Wellhausen. They had a wedding party of 3 couples and began their married life in Sterling Township, later moving to Utica, MI.

George and Amelia had two daughters - Gertrude and my grandmother, Ella, followed 10 years after Ella's birth by a son, George, Jr.

4 Generations
Ella Wellhausen Schulte holding son, Melbourne Schulte
William Schluessler and daughter, Amelia Schluessler Wellhausen
ca 1921

Mother and Daughter
Amelia Wellhausen &
Ella Schulte
ca 1925

George & Amelia Wellhausen with
grandson, Lynwood Wellhausen
ca 1935

While Amelia's husband, George, passed away in 1938 at a young age, she continued to live in Utica and later lived with her daughter, Gertrude
. She was very social and enjoyed being with friends and family, though one of her favorite things to do was to visit the cemetery where her husband was buried and sit and eat lunch there. Hmm, sounds spooky to me but it was known far and wide that "Great Grandma loved to go sit in the cemetery". Too bad she didn't utilize that time in the cemetery for genealogy research which she could have documented and shared with her great-granddaughter!

Amelia Wellhausen with adult children
Gertrude Kolberg, George Wellhausen, Jr. and
Ella Schulte
ca 1942

Amelia Wellhausen
as I remember her
ca 1950

Amelia Wellhausen with adult children
George Wellhausen, Jr., Gertrude Kolberg and
Ella Schulte
ca 1955

On May 25, 1963 in St. Clair Shores, MI, Amelia Wellhausen passed away at the age of 86 and was buried with her husband, George, in Utica Cemetery, Utica, MI.

While I can't say that she was any more of a loving grandmother than her daughter, Ella, was, she was always pleasant, smiled and never uttered a nasty comment about anyone. She had a good life, financial security and her grandchildren gave her pleasure. One could not ask for more.

Above photos from personal collection of Cheryl Schulte

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

From Whence I Came...August Gottlieb Kolberg

My maternal great-grandfather, August Gottlieb Colberg (Kolberg) was born on November 24, 1854 in Klein Tuchen, Kreis Bütow, Pommern. He was christened the following day, November 25, 1854, at the Evangelical Church in Groß Tuchen, Kreis Bütow, Pommern. His sponsors were (1) August Colberg-likely the brother of his father, (2) August Goll, (3) Helene Litwinke.

Jasia, please note this birth certificate from a German, Lutheran church is actually written in Polish which owes to the fact that the village is now part of Poland and the churchbooks are housed in the Catholic church there!

Birth Certificate of August Colberg
November 24, 1854

August was the 3rd son of Friedrich Wilhelm Colberg, Sr. and Henriette Amalie Kautz of Klein Tuchen. This couple would eventually have 12 children with 11 sons and 1 daughter. Four sons and the one daughter died in childhood with 7 sons living to adulthood.

On October 4, 1878, in Groß Tuchen, August was married to Bertha Kramp at the above named Evangelical Church.

Evangelical Church of Groß Tuchen, Kreis Bütow, Pommern

They had at least 3 children while still living in Germany with 2 of the children dying in infancy.

August, Bertha and 3 year old daughter, Hedwig, immigrated to America on the ship Lessing arriving at the port of Castle Garden in New York on November 28, 1883. They had traveled from the port of Hamburg in Germany, on to the port of Havre in France and then on to the US. Their name was spelled "Colberg" on the ship passenger list. Bertha's sister, Emilie Kramp, and Emilie's future husband, Friedrich Skibbe, also traveled with them on the same ship. Upon arriving in New York, they traveled on to Lincoln Township in Berrien County, MI to join August's younger brother, Heinrich, who had arrived a few years earlier.

Over the course of their years in the US, August and Bertha had a total of 6 more known children with one son dying in infancy. Times were hard, farming did not produce much income but the family still grew.

In 1903, August owned 17 acres of land in Lincoln Township according to a plat book in the St. Joseph Public Library, St. Joseph, MI. The farm, home and property were located on Cleveland Avenue between what is now Rockey Weed and Linco Roads in Lincoln Township (Stevensville). I have searched for this property and located it by going out Cleveland Avenue, towards the town of Baroda and found the property on the left side of Cleveland Avenue, the third farm before Linco Road.

By 1917, August was a laborer and tenant farmer with a house and lot on St. Joseph Avenue in Stevensville.

Besides farming, August was a cabinetmaker and made such items as coffins.

While I don't have much definitive information on his life, the facts that I do have don't display a very happy lifestyle for August & Bertha. While August and his 4 brothers all became farmers in Berrien County, August's farm was probably the least productive. His wife, Bertha, had to supplement the income by picking berries on farms of the other brothers and then selling them for additional income. It also did not help that August had a propensity for alcohol and his wife, Bertha, certainly did not have a happy life.

Bertha Kolberg passed away first on February 26, 1915 and, interestingly, each of the 5 Kolberg brothers lost their wives at early ages. It would appear that the hard work of farming alongside their husbands, coupled with the enormous number of children that they had, made the lives of the Kolberg spouses hard and short.

In later years, August lived with his daughter, Amelia Mielke, and her family in Stevensville...

August Kolberg
ca 1918
Stevensville, MI

until his death on April 24, 1920 in Stevensville. He and Bertha are buried in City Cemetery in St. Joseph, MI.

While I was growing up, my grandmother, Ella Kolberg Kijak, never shared any information with me on either of her parents. While she was the baby of their family and was undoubtedly special to her mother, it just was something she never discussed. I only have the two above photos of August and only the one of Bertha but I am pleased to have what items I do possess and to have the limited knowledge of my great-grandfather that has been shared with me.

Above photos/documents from personal collection of Cheryl Schulte

Sunday, November 15, 2009

From Whence I Came...Ella Anna Helene Wellhausen

Ella Anna Helene Wellhausen was my paternal grandmother, born on November 15, 1896 in Detroit, MI to George Wellhausen and Emilie Schluessler. She was their second daughter and a son followed 10 years later. While the family had originally lived in Sterling Township in Macomb County, Michigan where their first child was born, they had moved temporarily to Detroit to live with Emilie's sister and that is where my grandmother was born.

Interestingly, I don't know if my grandmother was even aware of being born in Detroit as she always swore to me that she was born in Sterling Township and was baptized at St. John's Lutheran Church in Fraser. She sent me on a good number of wild goose chases when I began my genealogy. Quite by accident, while researching my Feucht family and THEIR connection with Trinity Lutheran Church in Detroit, I came upon the baptismal record of my grandmother showing she was indeed born in Detroit and baptized there as well. When I informed her of this she said she was never aware of it. She also told me that she could remember her mother speaking of the brief time the family had lived in Detroit with her mother's sister but she didn't realize that she was actually born there as well.

As young girls, Ella and her sister, Gertrude, took part in a dancing competition and were named the "Dancing Darlings of Macomb County". They certainly did look darling and their sisterly relationship lasted for Gertrude's entire life with Ella assuming caregiver duties when sister, Gertrude's, health declined.

Ella did grow up in Sterling Township with her older sister and younger brother. She attended St. John's Lutheran Church where she was confirmed but I have no idea where she actually went to school. Nor do I know how she met my grandfather, Elmer Schulte, when he was born and grew up in Detroit. I am guessing that it was through her Aunt Lena Herz in Detroit whose sons were friends of Elmer but I don't know that for certain.

Ella and Elmer were married on Christmas Eve, 1917 in Waco, TX before my grandfather shipped out to the War in Europe.

Ella Wellhausen Schulte
December 24, 1917
Waco, TX

During Elmer's time overseas, Ella lived with her father-in-law, Rudolph Schulte, and his wife, Elizabeth. Funny to see my grandmother doing some type of needlework, whether crocheting or knitting, as I never knew her to do any sewing of any type.

Elizabeth Feucht Schulte &
Ella Wellhausen Schulte
ca 1918
Detroit, MI

When Elmer returned, several years later, they began their family life in Detroit. Together they had three children - sons, Melbourne and Mylen (my father) and daughter, Marilyn. Their life was rather affluent. Both my grandparents inherited money from their parents and my grandmother never had to work outside her home.

Elmer & Ella Schulte
with son, Melbourne, ca 1922

Detroit, MI

Ella raised her children, belonged to several clubs and activities with other women friends and socialized with family frequently. She and Elmer had several very nice homes in various areas of Detroit

Elmer, Mylen & Ella Schulte
ca 1942
Detroit, MI

Elmer & Ella Schulte
w/son Melbourne & daughter, Marilyn
ca 1942
Detroit, MI

and in their later years they built a home on Springer Avenue in what was East Detroit, MI (now Eastpointe). When Ella's sister, Gertrude, needed assistance due to failing health, Ella and Elmer moved back to Detroit to Gertrude's home on Engleside Drive. While living there, my grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on December 24, 1967.

Elmer & Ella Schulte
December 24, 1967
East Detroit, MI

They were living there when my grandfather passed away on January 21, 1968. Following his death, my grandmother continued to care for her sister until Gertrude had to be placed in a nursing home. At this time, as well, my grandmother rekindled a childhood relationship with a man who had also lost his wife. Within a few years of my grandfather's death, my grandmother married Robert Bloss who she had known when they were both 5 year old children. Their marriage was short lived as Robert was not in the best of health and he passed away soon after their marriage.

Ella continued her independent life in several apartments after the death of Robert. She maintained her own home, did her own cooking and cleaning and continued her activities with family and friends. She lived independently until the age of 90 when her fading memory forced her to enter a nursing home as well. On December 28, 1989, at the age of 93, my grandmother passed away and is buried, with my grandfather, in Gethsemane Cemetery in Detroit. Both her sister, Gertrude, and her much younger brother, George, had predeceased her.

I was fortunate enough to have known all 4 of my grandparents. My grandmother, Ella Schulte, I knew the best as I grew up in East Detroit and she and my grandfather lived there as well. While she was a good Christian person she was not what I would characterize as a loving grandmother. I really think that children annoyed her. She didn't like having children in her home and she complained royally about crumbs or disarray. My grandfather, on the other hand, was a wonderful loving grandfather. Memories of my grandmother are many but they are memories more of a gruff, unsmiling person who my grandfather tried at all times to soften up. I can remember the times he would grab her in a hug and kiss her only to have her gruffly push him away. It was something he never minded and his humor and good nature lasted his whole life. My grandmother's aloof, gruff ways continued through her entire life as well.

The one thing that she did do for me, though, was to initiate my love for genealogy. I can remember in 1977 that she showed me an onyx ring with a small diamond in the center. She told me that she had worn a diamond necklace on her wedding day in 1917 and that necklace had 3 diamonds in it. Over the years the necklace broke and she had the 3 stones set in 3 different black onyx rings. She actually gave me the ring and it started me questioning her about her ancestry, her parents, grandparents, etc. Once I began that, I was off and running on my research. I was fortunate that she remembered not only her parents but her grandparents and great grandparents as well and her memory was sharp. She did share much information with me over the years, though she tempered it with quite a bit of false information, that had me running down false leads. Her comments at those times were "you don't need to know the truth, just let sleeping dogs lie". Luckily I was able to discern the truth from the fiction and when confronted with my facts she would confirm my data. I do have to give her the credit for my love of genealogy and she did give me all my grandfather's war medals as well as the medals of my great-grandfather, funeral home guest books, photos and cemetery burial records. Initially she indicated to me that she was saving all these items for one of her grandsons, but as none of the three of them had any interest, she did finally allow me to take possession of the memorabilia and I am very grateful for that.

When all is said and done, while she was not a loving, affectionate grandmother, she was a good person and she led a very good life wanting for nothing. Her health was good, she had no undue financial problems and she was able to build a life that suited her.

Above photos from personal collection of Cheryl Schulte