An old family yarn Pt. 1


Now THAT's meta.

My mother’s cousin … who I guess is my first cousin once removed? Anyway, she has just published a book, Harry’s Journey, chronicling the life of my mother’s grandfather (my great-grandfather, pretty sure about that). I would love to link the publication for you, but, well, I can’t.

The book is published by Pathway Publishers, an Amish imprint operating in LaGrange, Ind. and Aylmer, Ontario. No web site. No Amazon store. There are apparently a few things in this world that are still beyond the reach of the all-seeing eye of Sauron Google. The book has a very DIY feel to it, featuring a font that looks like a san-serif version of Courier New.

This cousin, Joana S. Stauffer, lives out in Missouri, where much of the Stauffer Mennonite church has migrated over the decades. Hers is the second book I’ve read that deals with the Stauffer Church’s expansion to Southern Maryland. The first was my uncle’s book, Shunned, which I’ve mentioned before. Both books actually cover the same time period. My maternal great grandfather and my paternal grandfather were contemporaries, both coming to Southern Maryland with their families at about the same time.

I’m not too far into the book, but there are already some points of interest. First, both this book and Shunned are written in a historical fiction fashion, filling in details for the sake of telling a good story, rather than staying to the straight-and-narrow of nonfiction detachment. This is a quality that I’ve also seen in the Martyr’s Mirror, hearkening back to a time when history telling was more of a literary art than a strict science. Joana Stauffer readily confesses to taking poetic license in her book’s introduction and admits that some people may dispute the exact facts of the tale. She said her book splits the difference between the different stories she has heard and also changes the names of secondary characters. Uncle Willis’s book did the same thing.

The other thing that I was shocked to discover was that my great-grandfather was an orphan, whose father abandoned him and his siblings after the death of his mother. Harry was shuffled from home to home in both Harrisburg, Pa. and in the Mennonite enclave in Snyder County.

I’ll post some more once I finish the book.


3 Responses to “An old family yarn Pt. 1”

  1. I just finished reading Harry’s Journey. Did a Google search and found your website. Are you one of [redacted]’s boys? (She is my cousin, and I know Aunt [redacted] said one of her grandsons is a writer.) The older I get, the more I’m interested in history and geneology.

  2. OriginalSinnick Says:

    Hi Janice. The names in your comment were deleted. I’m curious if we know each other. I was attended the Loveville MD Mennonite School in the 1960s with a girl named Janice (had a huge crush on her). :-)

  3. To OriginalSinnick: I have relatives in the Loveville area, but I’ve lived in Lancaster County, PA my entire life. I’m pretty sure the Janice you’re referring to lives in Snyder County, PA.

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