Saturday, April 11, 2020

Resilience During War

This is my paternal grandfather, Owen Wallace, he was nothing short of amazing and resilient in every way. Born the second out of seven children, he grew up working hard every day on the family farm. When WWII broke out, he was drafted into the Army. He was a part of the invasion of Normandy on Omaha Beach and earned the bronze star for his valiant service. He also received the Golden Glove award for amateur boxing in the Army. 

When the war was over and he returned home, he sent word to a beautiful woman he met during his time in Europe. He married that woman, who became his first wife, his “war bride,” Berta. He had two sons with Berta and they ended up getting a divorce not many years later. He continued to farm and raise their two boys, until he met my grandmother, Angeline. Angeline already had six children of her own, but they fell in love and he ended up adopting my dad as his own son. Owen and Angeline had two more children together. A real life “Yours, Mine and Ours” story. And this man worked hard, delivering milk along his milk route, right up until he died at age 82. Everyone who knew him remarks on how hard of a worker and loving of a man he was.  

I will forever be grateful that he kept a detailed journal of his life and his experiences during the war. This man epitomizes enduring hard times and coming out on top and moving forward.

Post written by Stacy Wightman, Designer, Family Chartmasters LLC

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Hard work through challenges: Anders Ferdinand Gregersen #ResilientRoots

Andreas Ferdinand Gregersen's father died in the war between Denmark and Germany when he was only a year old.  His life in Denmark changed from that point on.  He and his widowed mother were very close, and his mother wanted the best for him.  When he was age thirteen she sent him with her friends the Madsens to Immigrate to America and she planned to follow the next year.  They would never see each other.  Andreas missed his mother for the rest of his life.  

Perhaps the letters from his mother were the motivation for his joining the pony express when he was 18 years old.  He worked all of his young years in heavy work, taking care of the "town herd" of cows, clearning and planting hundreds of acres.  He lived with several families that took care of the young boy and taught him English, writing and math in the evenings.  Eventually he found work cutting timber for the railroad and with the wages he made, be bought a strong wagon and some horses.  He witnessed the driving of the golden spike when the railroads from the east and west came together.  After his work in the railroad, he turned to the Nevada silver mines and began hauling food, wood, and bullion over long dangerous rocky trails to the mining communities.  After six years of hauling goods, he had saved considerable money and decided to visit the families who had helped him in his youth.  He returned to visit the Sylvesters whose daughter Althea had quite grown up.  Andrew left to add to his means so that he could take care of a wife and then soon returned to be married.  Eventually they moved to Silver Reef , Utah where they had a very comfortable life.  They had servants, dressed lavishly and celebrated holidays in great style.  Althea always dressed up in the afternoon for Andreas' return from work.

Eventually they purchased a ranch from a renowned agriculturist with many well developed fruit trees, grapes and beautiful gardens.  They had apples, plums pears and almonds and worked to preserve and bottle all the fruit.  Their home was situated at the crossroads of between two well established settlements so they had many visitors and lots of people came to trade and buy fruit.  Andreas continued to work the mines.  They had ten children and educated them well with the many books and musical instruments they had at the ranch.  Eventually the children all left for colleges graduating as teachers, business people, dentists, and lawyers.  In his later years, he took exquisite care of his mother in law and continued to urge his mother to come to America until the dreadful day he received the black edged letter that announced the death of his mother.  He sobbed and sobbed and no one could comfort him.  Andrew was kind and compassionate because of his loneliness as a young man.  He was healthy and loved to play jokes on people.  His children all came to say their last goodbyes as he passed on July 26th, 1922.  

Andreas was my great great grandfather.  I hope I have those good hard working genes in me.  I do like to play jokes on people and I love my mother, but I'm glad that I've never had to be separated from her as Andreas was.  He was a hard working participant in the amazing settlement of the Western United States.  

Taken in part from "The Life of Andrew Ferdinand Gregerson" written by his daughter Althea G Hafen.  
Post written by Janet Hovorka, Manager, Family Chartmasters LLC

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

George Welton Ward and the Ward Family Legacy

George Welton Ward has the distinction of establishing the Ward family legacy in America. Throughout his life, his name was synonymous with a positive example and industrious work ethic – honorable characteristics that would shape the family’s solid reputation for generations.

Here is a journal entry from George's treacherous voyage across the plains:
"While traveling one Sunday afternoon, a violent hailstorm came up, and before we could all get our teams unhitched, the storm was on us in such fury that many of the teams ran away and jumped into the Platte river. Hailstones as large as hen’s eggs fell, and people were obliged to cover up their heads with quilts and blankets for protection against the frightful pelting. Some took refuge under the wagons until the storm passed. Some of the wagons were overturned and many persons were hurt. The singular part of it was that half a mile up the road there was not enough rain to lay the dust. The storm was local, and did not extend more than half or three-quarters of a mile in every direction. In more recent years these local storms have been known as ‘cloud-bursts.’

When we arrived at the Black Hills we were all worn out. Our cattle were footsore, and the horses having no grain, were weak and tired. Our provisions began to run low, and things looked decidedly squally. It was getting late in the season, and father was fearful we might get caught in a snowstorm in the mountains, when allmight perish with cold and hunger."

Despite all the adversity he was faced with, George left a legacy of hard work. George Welton prided himself in doing his farm work carefully and systematically. He trained his family of boys to be thorough in their work, as well. Because of his training, the work of George Welton Ward’s family drew attention among their neighbors. Edwin Cordon remarked, “There wasn’t a man that could stack grain to shed water like George Welton Ward."

I'm grateful to George Welton Ward for establishing the legacy of my family in the United States. #ResilientRoots

Post written by Katherine Ward, Marketing Director, Family Chartmasters LLC