Sunday, September 30, 2018

Blacksmithing ~ A Lost Art

I am aware that I am getting this post about an old occupation in a little late for Labor Day, but at least it is still in the month of September.

I recently rediscovered this article from the Herald-Tribune, the local paper for the Batesville, Indiana area.  Although, I could not find a specific date that it was published, I can say that it is somewhere in the year 1964.

George Washington Hillman is my great-grandmother's brother. I never knew him, because he passed away before I was born. After reading this article, I really wish that I had gotten the chance to meet him!

He was the only brother to several sisters.  As my great-grandmother recieved training in a typical female occupation at the time, teaching; her brother also recieved training in a typically male profession.  

He learned the trade of blacksmithing as a young man of 20, and worked for the next four years, in Moores Hill, Indiana.  When the United States entered World War I, he did not abandon his occupation.

He joined the U.S. Army as part of the Rainbow Division, where they put his blacksmithing skills to good use. He not only shod horses himself for the cavalry, but he was also a supervisor of four other men.

Returning home from the war, he didn't break stride in his chosen career path. Although, within a 20 year time period, he moved his shop from Moores Hill, to Sunman, and finally to Negangard's Corner, he never stopped blacksmithing.

Through the 1920-30's, shoeing horses was the main income in his blacksmithing shop. However, there were still wagon wheels to be repaired, and tools and plowshares to be sharpened.

He spent many years in the 1940's at some of the major racetracks in the U.S. Not for the betting, but for shoeing horses.  Although it was the same work that he had been doing for decades, racehorses provided a new challenge to him.  Racehorses and workhorses both put a lot of wear on the shoes, but in completely different ways.

When this article was written, Uncle George was already 71 years old.  He estimated that he had shod about 100 animals in the previous year.

My husband has taken up learning the art of blacksmithing, and I think he would have really enjoyed meeting my great-uncle George, also.  I could just see them now, sitting and talking about the tricks of the trade!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Facts, Assumptions, and Outright Guesses

We are all guilty of it, and we know it!

I mean it's just human nature, right?!

Whenever we start something new, we always start off with the easier steps first. And, genealogy is no different!

You have seen my many posts about the Hillmans and Moores of Moores Hill area so far, and that is because their history goes back to early statehood years here in Indiana. You have not seen any posts about their East Coast years, because I have hit a brick wall at the moment.

And that is when we all switch over to another line of the tree, isn't it? Or is that just me? LOL

So, on to the Schrader line...

With Schraders, Schmidts, Langes, Steffens, Haessigs, (etc. etc.) taking up a lot of room on my family tree, I have had to learn a lot of German history to even begin my research into these lines. And how does that history tie into the specific dates and places of my ancestors?


Before I even begin looking at my German history notes, I have to remember that my paternal great-grandfather, Albert Cordt, changed the spelling from Schroeder to Schrader. And, it was his father, Cordt Albert, and mother, Margaretha (Lange) that came from Germany in the late 1850's (1857, I think).

Here is where I am getting a little stuck, as I am trying to knock one brick at a time out of this brick wall.

And here, is where I have a combination of the facts, assumptions, and outright guesses that I was referring to in my title.

According to my research into German history, I have discovered that in 1848-1849 there were uprisings and riots. However, I was not able to find where these took place in Germany. I only am curious because it leads to some questions that I cannot answer just yet.

  • I will have to look closer at my notes, but this is only approximately 8 years before the Schraders bought their land outside of Batesville.
  • When did they leave Germany?
  • Where did they leave from in Germany?
  • I know where the German church is that much of the congregation of Adam’s Lutheran Church originated. This would be Heiligenfelde, that you see on the map below.
  • And since they have been a member of this church since arriving in Indiana, I would have to assume they are from same area. This assumption is based on several factors:

    • On census records, they are listed as being from Hannover, Westphalia, and from Prussia.
    • This is consistent with where the church is located.
    • This is consistent with the location names for the area. Hannover is still a town.
    • Researching German history, Westphalia and Prussia are names of this region during this time period.
And, this is all I have. Just a bunch of facts, assumptions, and outright guesses!!
If anyone reading this post happens to know much more about Germany (or this area specifically), I
would love some help!

Thanks so very much! Brick walls are so very much easier with a little help along the way!!