"to love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage." lao-tzu


Grandpa's Birthday

This post is supposed to be about the life of my grandfather, Harold Frederick Jahns, Sr.  It's supposed to have the census images, maybe a pic or two, and the roll call of children and towns lived in and occupations through the years, ending with a pic of his tombstone.  But, since today would have been his 95th birthday, and I am feeling a bit emotional this week (my birthday, 45th, is next Wednesday, and my oldest child is graduating high school next Saturday), I have decided just to write a few memories down for today, and do the "technical" post next week - and that will also give me time to get the info together.

So- my earliest memory? Oreo's. I was 2. We (Dad, Mom, and me) lived in Angola, Indiana where my dad was attending Tri-State University (now called Trine).  We lived in a mobile home on a lake; my dad managed canoe rentals.  Grandpa had driven down from Detroit to visit. I remember Grandpa and I going out on the lake in one of the canoes, and he had brought with him a whole package of Oreo's - and I was allowed to have as many as I wanted. I can still remember sitting in the boat and taking Oreo's out of the package.  I am sure he got into trouble with my mother for that.  43 years later, a package of Oreo's is never safe if I am around.

Grandpa had bought a house in Detroit in 1952+/-; he lived in that house till his death.  My favorite place was the attic - it was knotty-pine paneling, wall-to-wall, with built in drawers and small doors leading to storage spaces under the rafters.  There were old comic books and teen magazines belonging to my dad and his siblings still in some of those drawers, along with a stack of um, "mens magazines" that we knew we shouldn't look at, but being kids we had to. The basement's only draw for me was the pyramid of empty Pringles cans stacked against one wall from floor to ceiling; I guess my Grandpa thought that was the neatest thing, potato chips in a can.  We were not allowed to touch it.

A constant at Grandpa's house was the set of drinking mugs he kept in the freezer; they were glass and fitted into black plastic holders that had handles.  They were kept in there of course for his beer; he would grudgingly allow us kids to use them. We were fascinated by them for some reason, and had to have our soda's served in them. I also remember being mesmerized by his coffee pot - it was one of those clear glass Pyrex ones where you could watch everything happening as the water boiled and filtered through the coffee grounds.

One bit of advice that I received from my grandfather when I was getting married was that "your housing should never cost you more than one weeks salary - any more than that, and life gets too hard."  We seriously took that advice, and somehow managed to keep rent and house payments close to that one week mark; I would love to say that I can still adhere to that standard, but the apartment complexes here don't seem to understand that concept.

Grandpa died in 1990; we knew he was sick, and had driven to Detroit from Dallas to visit him during Spring Break that year.  I was 23, and was not into the genealogy thing, family keepsakes or tidbits.  Ahhh, if I had known then what I know now.  Grandpa died a week after we got back to Dallas, and I decided not to go to the funeral.  It is one thing that I regret only in that there were a few certain things that I now wish I had: that glass coffee pot, the iron, the clock on the wall, the plaque hanging in great-grandma's room that was in German, and the topless hula girl figurine that sat on the front window sill.  I do have two small wooden side tables that belonged to him; I just recently spruced them up with a nice coat of red paint, and they are now residing in my bedroom as my bedside tables.

It goes without saying that I wish I had talked to Grandpa about our family, stories he may have had, information he probably knew that I can not find today.  Live and Learn.  Happy Birthday, Grandpa.


William Jahns

Today's post is about my great-grandfather, William Henry Jahns.  As noted in the last post, he is the son of Charles and Mary Jahns and was born on March 24, 1884, in Madison County, Illinois, and he remained with his parents until his marriage in 1909 to his first wife, Loretta Frances Reynolds.  They appear on the 1910 census living just down the road from Charles and Mary in Caseyville, St. Clair County, Illinois.

William occupation is that of a laborer in the coal mines; he also owns his home, with a mortgage. Loretta's occupation is listed as "none".
By 1920, there have been some changes in William's life. He now has four sons: William Charles, born July 21, 1910, Orville Ernest, born October 15, 1913, Harold Frederick Sr., born May 23, 1917, and the youngest, Robert Henry (whom for some reason I do not have his birth date).  The family is now living in Denver, Colorado, and have been since at least 1917, since that is where Harold and Robert were born.  William is a street car conductor.

At some point in the 20's, the family moves back to Illinois. By the 1930 Census, William and Loretta are divorced, with Loretta and the four boys living in East St. Louis, St. Clair County, Illinois, and William remarried and living in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. His second wife's name is Maude. William is a sheet metal worker with Detroit Air Craft.

On January 6, 1937, William applied for his Social Security Card, listing his address as 1428 W. Euclid, Detroit, Michigan, and that he is working for Lumber Product Corp. at Greenfield and Fullerton Streets. He lists Charles as his father, deceased, and Mary as his mother.

Of course, I have looked at this address on the 1940 Census, and he is no longer living there.  I will have to be patient and wait for an index.

Maude passed away in 1946, and  I think William remarried again - there is a wedding photo buried over at my brothers house, and her name is on the back of a photo; I am fairly sure it is not the wedding of William and Maude.  William lived the rest of his life in Detroit, passing away in August of 1968, and is buried next to Maude at Oakland Hills Memorial Gardens in Novi, Michigan.


Charles Jahns

As we learned in the last post, Charles (my Great-Great Grandfather) was born in December of 1849 in Hanover, Germany, and immigrated to the U.S. with his parents and siblings in 1866.  He married his wife, Mary Krauck (born January 1851 in St. Clair County, Illinois), on March 20, 1873 (Lic# 00000088) in Caseyville, St. Clair Co., Illinois.  There then followed at least 8 children: Carolina born March 18, 1876; Charles born May 11, 1878; Frederick born 1880; William born March 23,1884; George born November 15,1886; Louis born March 9, 1889; Charlotte born October 1891; and then finally Matilda born October 1894.
The 1880 Census shows the family (along with Charles' younger brother William) living in Pin Oak Twp, Madison County, Illinois.

The Ag Schedule for this year shows he owns 120 acres. One item I have yet to figure out is why there is a black line drawn through the row of their son, Charles.  I have not looked into him yet; I wonder if it means he had recently died. The family is also listed on the 1882 Patron List of PinOak.
At some point, the family picks up and moves to Caseyville, St. Clair Co., Illinois, for this is where we find them living on the 1900 Census.

Something of note is that it is stated that Mary bore 11 children, 6 of whom are living. I can maybe account for possibly 3 miscarriages or stillbirths if you look at the 3 and 4 year gaps in between some of the children. Since the 5 youngest are listed with the family, that means 1 of the oldest 3 has moved off on their own, and the other 2 must have passed away. Not having the 1890 Census once again makes research difficult.
The 1910 Census shows that not much has changed for the family as they are still in Caseyville. Their son William (my Great-Grandfather) has married and is living just down the road from them.

Sadly 1910 is the year in which Charles passes away; I have not been able to locate a death record for him yet.

Mary, along with her 2 youngest daughters and her son George, are listed in the 1916 Caseyville Directory, living on S. Second. The girls are listed with "CKM" as their occupation, but I have yet to figure that out; George is listed as a "Laborer".
The 1920 Census finds that Charlotte has married George Neutzel (also of Caseyville) and that Mary is now living with them.

George has followed his brother William and family out to Denver, Colorado and is enumerated there; Matilda's whereabouts are unknown at this time.
The 1930 Census still has the family in Caseyville.

This is Mary's last appearance on the Census rolls, as she passed away on August 8, 1937.
So, that's the quick rundown of this generation; next post I will deal with William, my Great-Grandfather.