An old family yarn Pt. 2: Quick roundup

So, I finally forced myself to sit down and read the rest of my cousin’s book, Harry’s Journey, after initially picking it up over two months ago. I didn’t want to to get lost in the stack of new books I received for Christmas. It was a lot to absorb, so I’ll just start with a few minor curiosities and delve into the more weighty stuff later.

  • I’ve remarked already about how uncomfortably intertwined my family tree has been, but reading about how my Stauffer great-grandfather was competing with a Martin boy for the attentions of his future wife, a Brubacher, was especially grueling. I have approximately a million and a half first cousins named Martin, my mother was a Stauffer and my father was a Brubacher. Ugh.
  • I now know what a “shivaree” is and that my great-grandparents were subjected to one on their wedding night. Thinking back to my own exhausting wedding day, I doubt I would have has as much patience or tolerance for a bunch of fools banging pots and pans on my front lawn on that of all nights. Sex be damned. All I wanted at that point was sleep.
  • My great-grandfather apparently made much of his money supplying tomatoes to the Chef Boyardee cannery. I assume this was long before it became the nightmarish approximation of cat food that it morphed into under the ConAgra regime.
  • I finally understand the actual reason that World War II spurred both my Stauffer great-grandfather and my Brubacher grandfather to move to Southern Maryland. The land was cheap, and farmers usually received deferments from the draft. Land was expensive or unavailable in Snyder county, so the young men faced the choice of either moving or violating their pacifist beliefs by serving in the military. My great-grandfather followed this movement after a nasty split in the Snyder County, Pa. church.
  • My great-grandfather was a preacher; hence, my grandfather was a preacher’s kid. Well, that explains the rebellious streak.
  • My family initially settled in Oakley, Md., further north than Loveville, where most of the Old Order Mennonite community is settled today.
  • Mennonites are big on humility. You can’t even become a preacher with out getting a subtle kick in the teeth. The way you are informed that you have been made a deacon, preacher or bishop is with the phrase “God has not spared you.” Ouch. Personally, I think this practice should be put to wider use.

2 Responses to “An old family yarn Pt. 2: Quick roundup”

  1. Danny L. Jorgensen Says:

    You seem to have more than a few genealogical devils in need of exorcism. Why do it publicly on the internet.

    If you have information to share about the family or religion that might be of interest to others–beyond your personal issues? I’d love to hear more.

    Do you know Joann? I do and as a sociologist and professor of religious studies I find her account charming, exceptionally unpretentious, invaluable ethnographically, and highly useful historically.

  2. Alice (Martin) Van Ryan Says:

    My Uncle Henry may have been the Henry Martin competing for Magdalena’s affections. The farm Harry was raised on was my Uncle Ira and Aunt Martha’s (Phares O Strauffer’s or Pos, as he was known, daughter) lived on while I was growing up in Kantz in the 60s and early 70s. The farm that Magdelena’s family lived on became my Uncle Titus’ farm, I think. I learned all this when trying to find out why the Martins (my grandparents were Harry and Katie Martin) left the Stauffer Pike church in the first place and how the Aaron Martin church ever came to be. I know how ornery the Martins can be, so I am assuming all they needed was Pos’ encouragement to go off and do their own thing. I am pretty sure they may have considered being or were a part of Pos’ church but that would not have lasted very long if so. My father was the youngest of Harry’s children and my uncles had children older than my dad, which is the the generations may seem off kilter. I attended the Aaron Martin church when I was a little girl, but my dad left that church and set about finding another, going from church to church. I tuned it all out very quickly but they went back to the Pike church in his old age. I found the book Harry’s journey wonderful because it talked about “home”, Kantz, the Kantz school, Middlecreek my playground as a little girl. I walked to Musser’s store when I was little. I knew Jim Wentzel (the farm machinery dealer’s son). It was a slice of home and special because of that.

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