I’ve been working on the story of my grandparents August and Johanna nee Yeske Glaubitz. Johanna emigrated in about 1885 from Pomerania and joined her brothers and a sister who lived near Turtle Lake Wis.
My grandfather, August, immigrated in 1881 with some relatives, and homesteaded the hilliest 120 acres in all Johnstown Township. August and Johanna were married on Christmas day, 1886. The family narrative was that August grew up in Berlin, spent his teenage years on Riverboats and then joined the merchant marine and sailed much of the world.
I was about to wrap up the story, when I received some newly translated letters written from Germany following World War I. My cousin had found them several years ago in the homestead farmhouse. They were in German script which is difficult to read.
In one letter, in fact it’s only a partial letter, from his older sister Franziska she recalls August’s in 1857. Then she writes, “Wilhelm Lochmann’s sister milked the cow.” What’s this? Grandpa wasn’t a city slicker from Berlin after all? It turns out that the past can be alive, History doesn’t sit still.
Gleanings from other letters revealed that the family lived on a small 4 acre farm in Silesia down near the Giant Mountains which form the border with the Czech Republic (Bohemia in the 19th century.)
I had written an imagined life for grandpa growing up in Berlin. Now I have to start over, study Silesia and write a whole new scenario. That’s both exciting and a bummer.
Since both Pomerania and Silesia are in Poland since 1945, I wrote the family that we probably weren’t German, but Polish. My niece Ava took advantage of this news and invited her parents over for a polish supper.
Grandpa did come from Berlin, because at some point, probably after their parents died and the oldest brother inherited the farm, they all moved to the growing city.
Now as to why he homesteaded the hilliest 120 acres in Johnstown Township, that remains almost as great a mystery as the workings of God for good in our lives.