Tag Archives: Hess Family

Picking a word – a memory by Linda Claire Groshans

Hess family in the woods

(The photo above is one of my favorite photos of my childhood family.)

After I got home from the book study group on a mid-winter January eve in 2014, my mind started to go into deep thought about a word. What word? Well, that was the question at the time.

The woman’s book group always gathered in one of the member’s homes where all of us drank coffee, tea, and enjoyed a dessert treat. We laughed and told our personal stories and then delved into the evening’s book topic. The book group’s main facilitator at that time was a woman named Penny. Penny always had brilliant insights and ideas. Everyone adored her creative mind and fun humor. On this 2014 evening, Penny posed a word challenge to the group. “You select a word,” she said and then continued, “your word will assist you through this new year with meditations and insight for your personal journey and growth.”

“Why should we do this?” asked Nancy whose logical mind was simply curious now.

“The word should embody what you want to be or what you want to work on during this New Year. It can be used instead of a New Year’s resolution. Your word will be a way to apply change into your life, a sort of guiding light.”

You could hear only silence as all of us started to think and then willingly accept the invitation to spend the next week in the selection of our word.

“You will need to spend time in deep contemplation, meditation and prayer.” Penny explained. “Your word will be a powerful aid to you in the coming year, and one that will guide you to a better self understanding.” Then, Penny told us, “I already picked my word”.

We all leaned forward in anticipation. “My word is BEGIN,” she said.

I loved Penny, but that word seemed an odd choice. Really, “begin?” Too simple? Or was it? Hmm, I would have to think about that later.

“Wow” I thought, “there is a lot at stake here.”

I am fascinated with words and I also possess the less than admirable trait of needing to be competitive. If I had to choose a word and go back to the next group meeting, I wanted my word to be the best, the most powerful. Certainly, I could do better than “begin.” My word would have to rock-and-roll the book group. I needed to win.

Over the next few days, I found myself saying various words out loud and waiting for a sign from the Universe. “Adventure, unconditional, boldness, ” I said testing those words. But, an annoying word begin to continue to come to me. I squelched it. It was not the grandiose word that I wanted. While at work, I listened carefully to conversations hoping to find that word that would impress. “Authentic and connection” seemed like good choices. But there it was again, that word creeping into my mind and becoming only the more powerful. I felt now, like the word was some sort of gift from the Universe but it was such an odd choice. Why would I even think this word? It wasn’t even a very pretty word. It wasn’t going to give me a winning edge.

Well, by now, you will want me to get on with it. The word that came to me in a repetitive way was “PRESERVE.”

I laughed at my chance to be a “word winner.” After all, doesn’t the word preserve make you think of pickles or jam?

In great humility to the Universe, I accepted this was my gift. My gift was the word “preserve” and I would just have to go with it. I was unsure of how to support the word, so at the next book study when we all shared our words, I was under no illusion that my word would wow the group. My word was the type of word that would only garner a few sweet smiles from friends who would then be announcing their profound choices.

I was right. My word underwhelmed everyone there.

But, it did not take long for my word to begin to work in my life. “Preserve” I would say to myself in the morning as I sipped my coffee while looking at some family photos.

PRESERVE…I stopped in my tracks. My word was perfect. These photos needed to be preserved in a way that they could be archived, indexed and shared. The actual original photos were only in my possession and could not be shared easily with other family. From that day forward, I began digitally preserving and sharing thousands of photographs all in indexed and searchable data cloud based websites. These photos have been viewed countless times by family, cousins, genealogists, historians, and others.

PRESERVE…my father was 90 years old at the time I made this word selection. His life, his memories, his stories needed to be preserved. I started the mission of documenting his life story. This was a man who had done remarkable things and was also the father who told whimsical talking stories about his dog Rover and his childhood adventures in the 1920’s. His WWII stories were stand outs. His work as the scientific advisor to the US Army was a story of genius. I started to research and write. I engaged myself in many conversations with my father and I promised him that I would continue to share his legacy and his stories. As I continued in this pursuit, I also realized that his story was the human story and I started to blog about so many others.

PRESERVE…friendships, associations, memories, ancestry, documents, our planet.

PRESERVE…I needed to start thinking about preserving my health. I began the habit of a morning walk that continues throughout these past 5 years. And, often these walks begin with my whispering the word that did become a guiding light.

Yes, my word, was and still is…”PRESERVE.”

Mary Ann Higbee Hess, 1813-1874 – my 2nd great grandmother (A story of a Michigan pioneer woman and mother of 12!)

The Hess/Higbee genealogy is well documented.  You can read the book Hess-Higbee Genealogy compiled by W. Emerson Babcock here:

https://archive.org/details/hesshigbeegeneal00lcbabc

When Mary Ann Higbee (my 2nd great grandmother) was born in Crawford, Ohio on December 12, 1813, her father, James, was 33, and her mother, Mary Fenton Higbee, was 31.

Mary Ann married George Waltour Hess on April 21, 1836 in Anapolis, Ohio. They had 12 children in 20 years. She died on March 24, 1874, in Michigan at the age of 60, and was buried in Berrien, Michigan.

In W. Emerson Babcock’s genealogy compilation, it is recounted that this young married couple “pressed the frontier” and made their way to Berrien County, Michigan.  The book (see page 22) then continues to describe the obstacles on their pioneer journey including the need for them to abandon their wagon when they were mid-stream in the St. Joseph River.  They mounted themselves on the horses and continued on their way through the forest trails of the Native Americans until they find Mary Ann’ parents who had gone before them to establish a dwelling. Mary Ann and George’s westward journey had taken them through Chicago towards St. Joseph, MI. They were literally traveling through marsh lands.  See here the documentation in A twentieth century history of Berrien County, MI Chapter XXVI. HagarCountyhttps://www.ancestry.com/interactive/16860/dvm_LocHist004592-00674-1?pid=1084&backurl=http%3a%2f%2fsearch.ancestry.com%2f%2fcgi-bin%2fsse.dll%3findiv%3d1%26db%3dGenealogy-glh19225593%26h%3d1084&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true#?imageId=dvm_LocHist004592-00674-1

 From the history of Berrien County.JPG

Mary Ann’s husband George was by nature a carpenter and also being of German descent, was able to speak and interpret German.  He served as a justice of the peace in the area and was “an old school Democrat.”  In looking over the news paper clipping below, it is obvious that there was a wave of immigration directly from Germany to Berrien starting in 1840.

clipping from an article in News Palladium 30 Dec. 1939

In historical accounts it is mentioned that George was “neat in appearance” and was able to do logging without getting his clothing “dirty.” Wow- a super great life skill! All kidding aside, it does seem that he was considered a respectable and kind man and community leader. I never heard stories from my family about Mary Ann or George, so all of my knowledge has come from searching Ancestry and the web and of course the entire Hess-Higbee compilation by Babcock.

Find a Grave photo of Mary Ann’s tombstone is here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/95816610/mary-a-hess

Here is my connection to Mary Ann Higbee Hess

Mary Ann Higbee (1813 – 1874)
2nd great-grandmother
Juan James Hess (1850 – 1929)
son of Mary Ann Higbee
Robert Lawrence Hess (1924 – 2017)
son of George Kellogg (W) Hess Sr.
Linda Claire Hess
You are the daughter of Robert Lawrence Hess

 

Johan Sprague born in Dorset, England in 1501 – my 13th great grandfather

When I received my DNA results from Ancestry.com, I was amazed to see a high percentage of my heritage was attributed to Great Britain.  If Ancestry has my DNA results right, Great Britain is the source of 53% of my heritage. As a little girl, I remember asking many times where my ancestors had come from, and the most common answer I received was, “Germany”.  Indeed, I do have many  German ancestors especially on my mother’s side of the family.  But, here, in this blog on Johan Sprague, I continue my unfolding documentation of my father’s ancestors and  I keep learning about my English/ Irish ancestry!

Johan Sprague was my 13th great grandfather.  Here is a view of how Johan connects to my father, Robert Lawrence Hess:

Johan Sprague (1501 – 1526)
13th great-grandfather
Enos Sprague (1525 – 1554)
son of Johan Sprague
Edward SPRAGUE (1576 – 1614)
son of Tristram SPRAGUE
Anthony William Sprague (1635 – 1719)
son of William Sprague Sr.
Jeremiah Sprague (1682 – 1759)
son of Anthony William Sprague
Knight Sprague (1711 – 1804)
son of Jeremiah Sprague
Anthony Sprague (1742 – 1831)
son of Knight Sprague
Anthony Sprague Jr (1766 – 1850)
son of Anthony SPRAGUE
Mary “Polly” Sprague (1792 – 1852)
daughter of Anthony Sprague Jr
John Kellogg Bishop (1827 – 1906)
son of Mary “Polly” Sprague
Dorothy (Dora) Bishop (1857 – 1904)
daughter of John Kellogg Bishop
George Kellogg (W) Hess Sr. (1891 – 1969)
son of Dorothy (Dora) Bishop
Robert Lawrence Hess (1924 – 2017)
son of George Kellogg (W) Hess Sr.
Now, I am going to share a link from a writing project that was done on the genealogy of the Sprague’s.  I am so very grateful for this story, but, is it only historical fiction?  Is it just a tall tale? I have made my own conclusion, but I will let you make your own decision!
  1.  1.0 1.1 Family History – The First Three Generations of Sprague’s Family. Written by students of International Training and Education Center, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Ms. Kelly Norman, teacher. It is not clear whether this unsourced material is based on research of the actual lives of persons, or whether it is historical fiction intended to illustrate the religion, politics, and health issues of the eras in which they lived. http://rubikgroup.weebly.com/1/post/2013/10/family-history-the-first-three-generations-of-spragues-family.html. Accessed June 7, 2015.

” On a bitter cold day in 1501, Johan Sprague was born in Dorset, England in a Catholic family. From 1512 to 1516, he was studied in a church near his house, but deep down in his heart, he did not believe in Catholicism. By midsummer in 1516, he was married Marie – a pastor’s daughter in the church who taught him. Nine years later, in 1525, they was has a first son – named Enos Sprague. In 1527, they had twins girls, Ava and Mia, but Ava died when she was two years old because of influenza. Three years later, when Mia was five years old, many people in their village got and died of smallpox, and she also got it, she survived but sadly it made her blind. In 1534, Henry VIII dissolved England’s monasteries because Pope did not allow him to divorces his first wife. “After Henry’s death, England tilted toward Calvinist-infused Protestantism during Edward VI’s six-year reign”[1]. Many evangelical churches springing up, Johan Sprague and his family left Catholicism and became Protestant, but not much people in the village knew about that. He really found his faith in Protestantism. Unfortunately, after Edward died, Mary I (also known as “Bloody Mary”) was crowned, people endured five years of reactionary Catholicism under Mary I, she was beheaded and burned many Protestants, nearly 300 Protestants were burned to death. Governments and Catholics had no evidence of Sprague family were Protestants, therefore they can safe. Unfortunately, in 1556, Sunday morning, Sprague family were be burned at their house, Johan, Marie, Mia and Enos’s children all dead, just Enos and his wife can alive, the neighbors around said it was just an accident, but someone believe that Catholics did.”

Sadly, if this story is true, Johan had a life cut short by heresy laws that disallowed Protestant beliefs. Henry the VIII had allowed Protestant beliefs in order that he may divorce his wife.   But, when Queen Mary I (or “Bloody Mary” ) came to power she had nearly 300 persons killed in her attempt to restore the Catholic Church and rid it of Protestants. If the story above is true, my 13th great grandfather, Johan and most of his family came to a horrible violent death.  However, Johann may have never had the twin girls referenced and he may have died at the age of 26 in 1526 rather that 1556 as this story sites.
Additional research
Note:  Even though Johan’s death date is first listed as 1526 in this research, it is also within the same research document listed as 1556.  Ugh…more confusion!
If his death date was really 1526, it makes the story of the twin girls and Johan’s death for heresy less likely! 
Watch for more blogs on the Sprague family coming soon!  I would be very grateful for any information you might wish to share on my family roots!

Military career of Dr. Robert L. Hess

My father, Robert Lawrence Hess, was born on 29 September 1924 in Orange, New Jersey. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy.  He was in sea service during WWII.  Here are some details of his service in the Navy.

Robert Hess attended the V-12 (victory 12 Navy College Training) at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This quote is from the link below, “The purpose of the V-12 program was to generate a large number of officers for both the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps to meet the demands of World War II, far beyond that turned out annually by the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis and standing U.S. Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School to that point.” program. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-12_Navy_College_Training_Program

In 1945, my father received 2 BSE degrees from the University of Michigan which he had earned in under 3 years time.  One degree was in Engineering Mechanics and the other one in Engineering Mathematics.

He went  on to officer training at Columbia University, New York.

He served as a Junior Division Officer, Main Engines Division, on a heavy cruiser called the USS Oregon City. His rank was Ensign.

Later, he served as an auxiliary Division officer on a pair of light escort carriers the USS Kula Gulf CVE-108 and the USS Manila Bay CVE-12

 

I believe that he received an American Theatre ribbon and a Victory Ribbon WWII.  As I understand it, the American Theatre described the Navy’s desire to secure the home land from the Axis powers.

Other military work:

In 1957 my father was given the title of Technical Director of Project Michigan.  He was instrumental in extending optical data processing to the field of automatic photo-interpretation.  He was able to apply his knowledge of physics and mathematics to research teams who represented them to general officers of the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense. The Department of the Army awarded him the Outstanding Civilian Service Award and Metal.

In 1964-1965 my father was the personal representative of the U.S. Army’s Chief of Staff for Intelligence and led teams of scientists through a comprehensive field review of the Army’s Combat Surveillance capabilities both in Europe and Korea.  The Army implemented over 70% of this technical recommendations for the Korea area.

My father would also become a civilian consultant to the Secretary of the Army, ASA (R&D), Chief of Staff, and the Chief of Research and Development to advise on scientific and related matters to the Army.

1943 Portrait photo in US Navy uniform

Robert Hess ensign winter series 2with text Robert in Navy Khakiswt hess given army award

 

Robert Hess U.S. Oregon City