Category Archives: Hess Family

47% German

47

Linda Claire in German mountain climber outfit 1959

I have done genealogy research long enough to realize that this passion of mine is viewed by some folks as quite boring. But, I have always had a preoccupation and interest in where I came from and who my ancestors were. I am born to be a story teller and so I wanted to know the stories of my own roots and my own family history. These stories showed me a pathway to the social and cultural history of my ancestors. They were stories that I memorized and retold.

At a very early age, I begged my mother to tell me the stories of our family. She related the stories of her childhood during the Great Depression and how her grandmother immigrated to America from Germany. OK, I decided, I am of a clear German heritage.

Well, this made sense. After all, all our Christmas cookies were from our German recipes … lebkuchen and springle’s are still my favorite. My Grandmother used German words for household items. Well, correction, I thought she was using all German words. For instance, when she wanted us to get our bumbershoots and we understood that to mean we were to bring our umbrellas, it turns out that the word bumbershoot is from the USA. The first known use of the word was not even until 1876.

One of our family favorite side dishes were German kniffles. Yes, that is a true variation of the word spatzen. Our family was Sud Deutsch. Southern Germany. So, there were some words common to that region that were not generally used elsewhere.

Ann Arbor was settled in part by a large German community. My family was a part of that settlement. Bethlehem Church, where we attended worship, continued sermons in German into the mid-60’s.

Our family sang together. I learned a special yodeling song from my mother. We often sang songs in German. On a family car ride we might sing,”Du, du, liegest mir am Herzen, du, du, liegest mir im Zinn”. At Christmas, our Ann Arbor church on 4th Avenue sang some German carols.

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!

Growing up, it was not uncommon to be asked about my heritage. “German”, I would clearly state. “I am such a German girl”.

BUT…

BUT…

BUT…

wait for it. wait for it. wait for it.

This was literally less than a half truth.

Although my father loved to tell stories, they were really never about his family. I do remember that he had told us we had American patriots in our family. He said that my sisters and I qualified to be Daughters of the American Revolution. We never joined. I was incurious about his family stories because he seemed to be.

Fast forward, in 2016, I spit into a small container to send away to Ancestry.com for my DNA results. Also, by this time, I had done enough research to know what the results would say. During my entire childhood and early to mid adult years, I believed it to be true that I was of 100% German ancestry. Turns out this is actually only 47% true.

47% true? How did we disregard that other 53% of our heritage? That 53% that is represented by primarily English and some Irish roots. This was not represented in our family customs, diets, music, clothing, church, and more. I have now read many historical facts and stories about my English ancestors. You could say, that I am getting to know them.

I guess I am somewhat sad that I can no longer ask my father the millions of questions I have. The good news is that as an adult I have started connecting with my first cousins. They have provided me with stories that my father’s brother (my uncle) knew about the family. The story that I like best is about my ancestors being captured by pirates. Clearly, that rates among my favorites.

Linda Claire Hess’ first grade 1960/61 school year.

0005 1st grade

Click, clack, click. My dark red buckle shoes made such a nice tapping as I walked .8 miles from our home on Harbrooke Avenue to Haisley Elementary School on Duncan Street in Ann Arbor, MI. I loved my brown cotton plaid dress with the stiff white collar. It tied at the back with a perfect bow. My pretty ankle socks were decorated with lace around the edges. My long blonde hair was arranged in pigtails that bobbed when I skipped. My bangs were cut very short, this was because my mother claimed my eyes looked bigger when you could see more of my face. I never understood how my eyes could be bigger, but I did try to open them extra wide every time she wanted to trim my bangs again. A neighbor, Mrs. Hodgson, had been very upsetting to me when she told me that I had an especially long neck. Good grief, what was I to do? Did I appear to others as a sort of swan-girl? Well, later in life, I am ever so happy to have a long neck, as it provides me with the best chance to have a chin. LOL.

I always walked next to my older sister Mary Ann on the way to school. We had a few walking safety rules. First and most important was NEVER to walk on the grass of “Crabby Appleton’s” yard. I have absolutely no idea of the actual name of the neighbor that spent her mornings policing her grass, but she certainly was feared by us. We slowed down as we approached her corner lot, held hands and made sure to keep our heads down as we walked past.

Our other safety rule was “Watch, Look, and Listen.” We carefully checked each corner for any sign of traffic before crossing. Also, we knew that any home with a big blue hand cut-out in a front window meant it was a home where a kind adult helper was available to assist us along our walk to and from school.

We had no lunch boxes because we would make the walk home at lunch time to eat in our own kitchen. My favorite lunches were any that were served in the Campbell Soup Kids bowls. I loved those chubby cheeked children smiling up at me.

It was the 1960/ 61 school year and I had already had the best of luck. My adored Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Reinke, was also going to be my 1st grade teacher. This was good fortune beyond belief. She had the kindest of natures, short red hair, some freckles kissing her cheeks, and hands always ready to pat me so gently on my shoulders. It was good to be with her. She also knew how to tell her right hand from her left hand and this was extremely important so that you would not make any mistakes when playing Hokey Pokey. “Put your right leg in and you shake it all about.” Funny that so many years later in life, I would see someone driving through town with a bumper sticker that asked, “What if the Hokey Pokey is what it’s all about?” I laughed at that suggestion but there was also some reality to the question!

I was already a top notch reader when I entered first grade. I loved the Dick and Jane readers. I could take the books home and read them proudly to my family. After school, our mother would sometimes take us to Slater’s Book Store up on State Street near the Nickels Arcade. It was there that I got my all time favorite book to read aloud. It was called “10 Apples Up On Top” by Dr. Seuss. It was hilarious when all the apples fell off the head of the main character.

During my first grade year, JFK became our 35th president. Our country was deeply in the midst of the Cold War. Part of my memory of that time were the Scholastic School Newspapers that showed us photos of Khrushchev. I memorized his face in case I ever came across him so that I would be careful to act in my own defense. I held my special stuffed animal “Magic Bear” closer at night as a self defense measure too. The Ann Arbor schools trained students in a plan called “duck and cover” drills. Remember, close your eyes so you don’t see the flash of the nuclear blast! And, it is best to cover your head not only with your hands but your books too.

I was a happy child. After school, I could play with my sisters and my neighbor friends. About this time my creative father built us an elaborate playhouse and he also made me a wooden elephant to ride. Well, actually, you had to pretend the elephant was in motion. I think we were also one of the few families that had a magic carpet. I took many an imaginary rides on the woven bamboo rug that had our last name “Hess” woven into the pattern. The rug had been a gift from a visiting faculty member, so it had come from across the ocean to my house. What luck and an obvious indicator that it was the genuine article.

My father also built a secret passageway in our home to use as a play spot. Everything was planned to bolster our creative natures. And speaking of nature, that is what my parents loved. We took many family walks gathering dried grasses and cattails.

My 65 year old self loved my 6 year old self. She was happy, she skipped, she played Hokey Pokey, rode on magic carpets, laughed at silly riddles, and loved her dolls, stuffed animals, sisters, parents and extended family and family friends. She was entertained by Chutes and Ladders, Leap-frog, Limbo lower, and singing in the car with her family…”You are my Sunshine.”

My Grandmother was magical. Her name was Amelia Grayer Ream.

Amelia Ream beautiful portrait pic with glasses

I had a magical Grandmother. I believe that she may have even been an angel .

Her name was Amelia Grayer Ream but I called her “Grandma Pet.” In 2012 I became a grandmother. I asked my family to let me also be called “Grandma Pet” it was my way to honor her.

Grandma was magical in nature, but this was not to say that her life was without a great deal of struggle, heartache, physical pain, and at one point a complete mental collapse. I think what made her magical was her response to these life challenges. She became more full of grace, she carried a smile on her lips and in her eyes, she laughed in a contagious manner. She knew her friends because she cared to listen to them. She clapped for us because of the delight we brought her. Her most beautiful attribute was her complete love for family. When I sat on her lap, it was as if I had entered a safe, cozy, spot where the eyes looking down at me reflected only admiration and joy. I still remember leaning into her soft body and being surrounded by her arms while I smiled back up at her hoping she could see my love for her. All these many years later, my memories of her are filled from my senses. I can see her, I can hear her and feel her touch. During my sleepovers with her, we would share a bed and ever so quietly as I snuggled close to her she would recite the 23rd Psalm in a way that still brings me comfort.

My sisters and I loved to watch the Lawrence Welk show on her black and white TV. The TV had a funny film laid on top of the screen. This film was blue at the top of the screen and  green at the bottom. This gave the rather lame impression that we were watching in color.

My grandmother’s body was full of rheumatoid arthritis. Because she could not dance along with the Lennon Sisters on the Lawrence Welk show, my sisters and I twirled and danced for her.  As a young child I heard people say that my Grandma was crippled. The only evidence I had of this was that she had to crawl up instead of walk up the stairs. Being a child, I did the best I could and just crawled with her turning my head to smile and encourage. I was rather proud to hear how she liked getting injections in her joints. I thought it must be very special to enjoy getting a shot.

When I arrived on the planet, my Grandmother Pet was already 68 years old. By this time, she had been a widow for 24 years. She had never remarried. She was still running her “tourist” house at 520 N. Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor. She  lived on the main floor of this grand 3 story home. The 2 stories above her housed the rented rooms for the guests traveling through the city (mostly sales persons or folks associated with the University.) The basement level had a huge mangle for the sheets to be pressed for the guests.

Grandma Pet Amelia Ream Tourist Home on N. Main Street Ann Arbor

We always walked in the back door to visit Grandma. This would lead us straight into her kitchen. Again, I need to use the word magic. She could whip up everyone’s favorites in that kitchen on a short order notice. If I was there with my 2 sisters, she would make each of us our special meal. 3 girls and 3 menus! There was also a special jar in the kitchen. She called it the riddle jar. My Grandmother had to lead a very frugal life so she found inexpensive ways to entertain. She would find funny jokes in the newspaper and cut them out into little strips of paper that would be folded and added to the riddle jar. The very special treat that came with the riddle jar were Purple Cows for me and my sisters. In case you do not know, a purple cow was a float with vanilla ice cream on grape soda pop. My sisters and I were allowed to take turns pulling out a slip of paper from the jar and reading the jokes aloud. We laughed. Oh, how we laughed and laughed. I still thank her for making humor a part of our family treasure.

She was born in Ann Arbor, MI in September of 1885. She fell and love and married my grandfather Grover Cleveland Ream. He was a carpenter. Many of the fine sorority and fraternity houses in Ann Arbor were built by my grandfather. He also built the home on North Main Street.

Grandma Pet was 27 when she married. My grandparents had twin boys that died in infancy in 1913. They had another son in 1919 who also died as a 2 day old infant. Then they had my Uncle Bob and 8 years after that, my mother Gretchen was born. My Grandmother Pet was 40 years old when my mother was born. My Grandfather died at the age of 45. My mother was only 5 years old at the time of her father’s death. This was a sadness that would be a part of my mother’s life story because she was not old enough to have more that a couple of memories of her own father. The lesson we learned from her was to always treasure each moment we share with those we love.

My Grandmother was left alone as a single mother just as the Great Depression was beginning.

2 days after my birthday in 1965, my father woke me up very early in the morning. He hugged me and told me that Grandma Pet was now an angel. He told me she had died overnight and had gone to heaven. I was so heartbroken, but also I knew that she always had been an angel. I still love her with my whole heart. I also am honored to carry her namesake, “Grandma Pet.”

Joseph Francis Fenton (or Finton) 1761-1851. My 4th great grandfather.

Joseph Francis Fenton was my 4th great grandfather.

Here is how I relate:

I wanted to write about this ancestor partly because he has been so carefully researched by many other folk on Ancestry and they have shared valuable photos and other documents about Joseph. I wanted to pool all of these resources into one spot in order to share them easily with my family.

Joseph’s surname was Finton and this is how his first grave marker was inscribed, but later, when a new plaque was made the surname was changed to Fenton.

When Joseph Francis Finton was born on February 28, 1761, in Dutchess, New York, his father, William, was 29 and his mother, Mary George Fenton, was 29. He married Margaret Swegals in 1781 in New York. They had 11 children in 24 years. Joseph’s wife Margaret Swegals (my 4th great grandmother) died of measles on 30 March 1822.

Later, in 1825, he married Thankful Gillett and he had no children with this second wife.

He died on October 23, 1851, in Barrington, New York, at the impressive age of 90, and was buried in Penn Yan, New York.

He had a military background:

Source is DAR Lineage Book NSDAR Volume 166:1921


This is what is inscribed on a tablet:
Dedication of Joseph F. Finton Tablet in Penn Yan Cemetery, Nov. 27, 1934

Enlisted June 1778 for 3 years, under Capt. Craig, went recruiting for 3 months. Joined 3rd Pa. Regt. in the fall under Col. Craig (brother of Capt. Craig) Lt. Col. Wiliams & Major Biles.

He was in the assault and taking of Stoney Point in 1779, and in an engagement at Bargains Point, at the time of Arnold’s defection, soldier went to West Point and remained there some time. He was also in New Jersey a long time.

This photo of his tombstone also shows military associations:

Lived from 1761 to 1851


The burying ground of the Finton family was located on the family farm until most of the burials were removed to Lakeview Cemetery in Penn Yan, where they are today.

JOSEPH COMES TO BARRINGTON

The source (Page 145-148-The Fintons and Crosbys) gives us the following information about the farm.

“Joseph Finton was a revolutionary soldier, and came with his family into Barrington, (then Wayne) from New Jersey in the Spring of 1806, and settled on land in the northwest part of the town, which, for some unexplained reason, was not run into lots and numbered wih the original survey. There was enough of this land for about five lots, and it was marked on an early map as “very poor.” Mr. Finton chose this location rather than land more heavily timbered in Milo, because in the open, less wooded land, there seemed a prospect of sooner getting food for stock, which was an object of great importance to pioneer settler. The Bath road at that time was a crooked way through the woods, and Mr. Joseph S. Finton, who lives now on the spot where his after settled, thinks it was not opened as a highway till after the lake road. Their first school for that neighborhood, was in a log house, north of the Barrington line, near the present residence of Job. L. Babcock, on land long owned by Jonathan Bailey. The house was warmed by a hugh old fashioned fireplace, capable of holding almost a cord of wood. School was principally attended to in the winter; and Mr. Finton says that on all the pleasant days they had to stay at home and break flax. Cotton was not king then, and flax wrought by home industry, was the most important element for clothing the family.”

The photo below of the Fenton farm was as pictured after the 1851 death of Joseph.

Finton Farm 1876


The next photograph was not taken until 1925 (Joseph had died in 1851)

1926 photo of the Finton Farm

Robert L. Hess’s History of Research, Service and Teaching Contributions to the University of Michigan

For INTRA-UNIVERSITY CORRESPONDENCE!

THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

November 20, 1984

MEMORANDUM TO:

FROM: Prof. Walter Debler

SUBJECT: Robert L. Hess’s History of Research, Service and Teaching Contributions to the University of Michigan.

Professor Hess received his B.S.E. in Engineering Mathematics and B.S.E. in Engineering Mechanics from the University of Michigan, after which he served as an Engineering Officer in the U.S. Navy.

Upon release from active world war II service he returned to Ann Arbor, the home of his wife, Gretchen R. (Ream) Hess and on a visit to the Engineering Mechanics office was hired as a full-time instructor and was asked to undertake a research project by Prof. J. Ormondroyd. The project became the basis of his Doctorial Thesis, “The Dynamics of Ship’s Structures, including Shear Deformations”.

This work was directed by Professor· Ormondroyd and became one of the first major engineering works to be programmed for the ENIAC (that being done by the David Taylor Model Basin, Dept. of the Navy).

During the three years of full time teaching, (Dr.) Hess served in the U.S. Naval Ready Reserve and spent his training periods at the Model Basin. He was honored by being requested to provide, along with his brother, 40 hours of lectures on mathematics and advanced dynamics for the scientific staff of the Navy at the Model Basin.

Professor Hess was recruited by the Bell Telephone Laboratories and joined BTL as a Member of the Technical Staff in the fall of 1949, being assigned to a ‘heavy-tube’ Development Group. The many research projects he participated in included the assignment to undertake the development of a pilot line for the production of both the material for and the devices known as ‘point-contact’, type A transistors. (This was before the courts orderd BTL to place the technology on the market and was thus a unique endeavor for Dr. Hess.) It was typical of him to have the breadth of both interest and scientific knowledge that brought him such a coveted assignment and also success in it. He developed new techniques of crystal growing and zone-purifying as well as a novel method of doping the contact area to created photo-sensitive transistors.

In his third year at BTL Dean G.G. Brown called him with an unsolicited offer to return to the U. of M. as an Assistant Prof. of Chemical and Metallurgical Eng. and Assistant Professor of Engineering Mechanics and to also take on a Phoenix Project dealing with the atomic structure of glass. Dean Brown gave Prof. Hess the challenge of creating a new course in structure of glass and ceramics. At the end of his third year Hess was promoted to Associate Professor of Engineering Mechanics and left the Chem. Met. Dept. He undertook the reactivation of the Dept.’s Photo-Elasticity Lab. and generated a course for it as well as teaching. in the areas of elasticity and dynamics.

In about 1957, Vice President and Dean of Faculties, Prof. M. Niehus asked Prof. Hess to join an elete committee of engineers and scientists to oversee the work of the Willow Run Laboratories which at that time was experiencing troubled relationships with the Department of the Army, its prime source of support. In Jan. 1958 Dean Niehuss requested that Hess take leave of his teaching and consulting practice and join a new management team, headed by Prof. J.A. Boyd {now Chairman of Harris Corp.) to salvage and redirect the Willow Run Laboratories. Hess was given the specific assignment of Technical Director of Project Michigan as well as an Assistant Directorship of WRL. In addition Hess became the Head of the Applied Research Group of the Labs. In March of 1958 Dean Attwood informed Hess of the approval of his promotion to full Professorship. (A promotion which was said to make Hess the youngest full professor in the College’s history.)

Prof. Hess soon developed a keen ability to manage multiple teams of researchers on topics varying from information processing, semiconductor development, infrared scanning and synthetic antenna radar. He was able to apply his knowledge of basic physics and mathematics to the tasks as a member of the teams involved and to also represent them to the top military officers and, upon the creation of a Department of Defense to the scientific part of that community. In his unique fashion and with unusual modesty his term of management, which after three years included the project directorship as well as it technical direction, Hess always put his staff in the foreground and sacrificed personal fame in the process. Never-the-less upon his decision to return to teaching, the Department of the Army awarded Prof. Hess with THE OUTSTANDING CIVILIAN SERVICE MEDAL the inscription of which read in part ‘Hess succeeded in establishing and maintaining the University of Michigan as the leading free world authority in surveillance technology’.

His own proven scientific talent and professional imagination contributed additionally to the accomplishments of a broad team of scientists and technicians. The rare combination of skill, foresight and devotion to country…’. During the years of 1964 and 1965·, Hess served as the personal representative of the U.S. Army’s Assist Chief of Staff for Intelligence and led teams of scientists through a comprehensive field review of the Army’s Combat Surveillance capabilities in Europe and in Korea. As a token of the regard that the Army had for Hess’s abilities, over 70% of his recommendations from the Korean area were implemented. In 1965 Professor Hess visited with President H. Hatcher with the view of leaving the Project Michigan assignment and returning to full-time teaching. By that time, the I.S.T. had been created and W.R.L. was part of it and Hess was one of its directors. President Hatcher, through Prof. Norman, Vice President for Research offered Hess the challenge of using the $10 million original gift from the automobile industry to create the Highway Safety Research Institute. A counter offer on Hess’ part allowed him to hire a top level ‘internal administrator’ for H.S.R.I. and thus to be able to devote his attention to building the staff and its research programs and to also return to teaching, which was his first love. With a regentially appointed Executive Committee and with the cooperation of dozens of the University’s faculty Hess was able in a few years to build a building, hire internationally known figures and to build a program of research spanning fields from Law to Medicine and from Engineering to Psychology. His untiring drive established the Institute as the world’s premiere institution of its kind and brought not only many millions of research dollars to our campus for the support of researchers, faculty and graduate students but also continued to enhance the reputation of the University of Michigan.

During a long period of the H.S.R.I. years, Hess also served the University as a Consultant to the Army’ Science Board where he both chaired and participated in the study of many of the nation’s outstanding technical problems and challanges.

During the last five years Professor Hess undertook two major research studies while teaching a nearly full load and directing the H.S.R.I. These were first the review of the complete research findings in the scientific, engineering and medical communities of the experimentation protocols and the knowledge in the area of blunt trauma to the human head and second, the same for the area of blunt trauma to the thorax. In each case an annotated history of the development of the government’s use of the knowledge in its regulation was developed and recommendations were put forward for the future of research in the field. The second of these studies was selected for publication in the S.A.E.’s transactions. Hess served the University by membership on President Nixon’s Highway Safety Advisory Committee and also undertook service as a Consultant to the World Health Organization.

Prof Hess resigned his position as Director of U.M.T.R.I. (the succesor to H.S.R.I.) and returned to a full time faculty teaching role in January of 1984. In keeping with his reputation, he has undertaken the teaching of the Control Systems course, ME461, a new course for him, with vigor and has provided new leadership in its laboratory and course work with several software packages he has written to enhance the depth and breath of the educational experience of the students He also accepted an assignment as the Mechanical Engineering Program Adviser and has written software packages now in use by that office to materially enhance the efficiency of the process and to allow the Adviser to take a proactive rather than a reactive role in counseling. He is also supervising the trial use of a professional in this office.

All in all, Professor Hess’ academic and service accomplishments are outstanding and the respect that he has rightfully gained from his peers is only reflective of the credit he has always given to them over 32 years of devoted service to the University. In the classroom, the laboratory and the office he has represented the best the University of Michigan could offer its students and country.

What kind of work did our grandparents do?

My nephew, Kevin, inspired me by a question that he asked some time ago. That question has very much been in the back of my mind for some time now. The question was, “what kind of work (occupations) did our ancestors have?” So, today, I thought I would start to document some of the occupations that make up my story of ancestry and the also the ancestry story of those that I love. I will simply write a paragraph or so about several of those ancestors and hope that you will enjoy sharing your insight into this topic as well.

GROVER CLEVELAND REAM – CARPENTER – MY MATERNAL GRANDFATHER

I will start with my maternal grandfather. His name was Grover Cleveland Ream. He was born on 16 Sept. 1885 in Denver, Miami County, Indiana. In the US census from 1900, Grover was living in Ann Arbor, MI and was a mere 14 years old. The 1900 census shows that his father Benjamin Ream (my great grandfather) was a carpenter. Grover, like his father, would also become a carpenter. It was always my understanding that he was exceptional at his trade. I found a copy of his death certificate that shows the last date that he was engaged in his occupation was February of 1931. He died the next month on 26 Mar 1931. He was young, only 45 years old at his death. My mother was a mere 5 years old at the time her father died. In my ancestry notes, I have copies of news articles showing his association with the Carpenter’s Union 512 of Ann Arbor where he served as an officer. In addition to many of the important buildings he constructed, there was also the home he built for his family at 520 N. Main Street, Ann Arbor, MI that would become not only a residence, but a guest home.

EMILIE “AMELIA” ANGELINA GRAYER REAM – GUEST HOUSE HOST – MY MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER

My maternal grandmother was Emilie “Amelia” Angelina Grayer Ream. She was born on 14 Sept. 1885 in Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Michigan. Actually, as I write this blog, I notice for the first time that my grandparents birthdays were a mere 2 days apart. My grandmother would affectionally be called “Grandma Pet. ” I loved her beyond measure. She died 1 day after my 11th birthday party on 13 Feb 1965. I have many treasured memories of her humor, sweetness, and joy for life. My grandmother’s occupation was to run the guest home in her residence on Main Street in Ann Arbor. I was under the impression that the guests who stayed at the home were primarily business or sales men who were often associated the University of Michigan. In the basement of the home was a large ironing mangle (it impressed me greatly) that was used to iron the sheets of the house guests.

GEORGE KELLOGG HESS, SR. – ELECTRICAL ENGINEER, ORCHARD FARMER, POLITICAL ACTIVIST – MY PATERNAL GRANDFATHER

My paternal grandfather was George Kellogg Hess, Sr. He was born 6 Sept. 1891 in Benton Harbor, Berrien County, Michigan. He was born on a successful fruit farm whose harvests supplied the Chicago market and other large cities. He wanted to leave the farm! My father told me that George did NOT want to be a farmer. In the WWI draft application he completed on 5 June 1917, he states that he is employed by Western Electric Company, Hawthorne Station, Chicago. He went on to graduate from the University of Michigan in 1921 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. I have been told that he was a genius. He worked in Chicago for the electrical company until 1930. Perhaps you will recall the story my father told us so often. My father became direly ill in 1930 (he was 5 years old) and the doctors in Chicago said the only hope for my father’s survival was to move the family to the countryside and out of the large city. What? I know…huh? Anyway, this put George back at the orchard farm in Benton Harbor, MI. This was the same place he had so wanted to leave as a young man. My father’s story is even more amazing because at exactly the same time as my father became ill, George’s father Juan Hess died leaving the farm to George. George must have not liked going back to the farm enough that when his obituary was written it states that he “was a retired electrical engineer” without mention of his successful management of the farm. I have collected numerous newspaper articles that show that George was an activist, even to the point of traveling to Washington to lobby for certain changes that primarily related to pipelines, farm taxes and migrant workers.

HENRIETTA SPRUHAN – PATERNAL GRANDMOTHER- MUSICIAN AND DICTAPHONE OPERATOR

Henrietta was born on 31 Jan 1894 in Illinois. In 1914 she graduated from the Chicago Musical College. She was a very accomplished pianist. (As a note, in 1930 when the family was forced to move to Benton Harbor, MI and back to the farm, she would not agree to go unless she had her grand piano too.) In the 1920 census, Henrietta was 26 years old and single. She is living with her parents. In the census records, she lists her occupation as Dictaphone Operator. I recall that my father told me this was an honorable position that she was able to claim because her pianist’s hands moved so quickly on the keys of the dictaphone.

EUGENE LUDLOW BARNES “E.L.” – PATERNAL GRANDFATHER OF MY SISTER’S HUSBAND- SCHOOL TEACHER, COACH, SHEET METAL WORKER AT A SHIP YARD, A CHEIF DEPUTY SHERIFF AND UNION OFFICIAL.

E.L. was born on 5 August 1906 in Bond, Stone, Mississippi. His home in the 1930 census (when he was 23 years old) was in Columbia, Marion, Mississippi. He listed his occupation as school teacher. In the 1940 census, he still is a teacher and states that he has had 3 years of college education. (This question was particular to the 1940 census, so I don’t know when he actually attended college.) It is known that he was a graduate of Mississippi College. In 1940 he was living in Hattiesburg, Forrest, Mississippi.

ALICE “CHRISTINE” THOMPSON- PATERNAL GRANDMOTHER OF MY SISTER’S HUSBAND- STUDENT, HOMEMAKER

Christine was born on 10 June 1905 in Grange, Lawrence County, Mississippi. In the 1930 census she is 24 years old and states that she is a student. This must have been college, but I do not have educational records for her. In the 1940 census she lists her education level as having completed 1 year of college.

FRANCESCO “FRANK” BIVONA- MATERNAL GRANDFATHER OF MY SISTER’S HUSBAND- CLERK IN SILK FACTORY, CONTRACTOR, INSURANCE AGENT

Frank was born on the 30 November 1904 in Mendoza, Argentina. He arrived in New York in 1916. In the 1920 census, Frank states that he is a clerk in a silk factory. In his 1928 petition for citizenship, he lists his occupation as contractor. In the 1940 census, he lists his occupation as an Insurance Agent. In the 1940 census, folks were asked to record their level of education. Frank states that he had completed school through 6th grade.

ANGELINA “ANGIE” CIRABISI – MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER OF MY SISTER’S HUSBAND – CLOTHING INDUSTRY

Angie was born on 6 September 1909 in New York City, New York. In the 1940 census she lists her occupation as worker in the clothing industry.