F A M I L Y
L E T T E R S
Carroll County Illinois
Albert Getz Writes a Letter
November 10, 1959
Contributed by Roger M. Goetz 2014
(Mentioned name - Hay, Proehl, Gillogly, Dauphin, Wolfley
On Tuesday, November 10, 1959, Albert took pen in hand to write a letter from his home at 1326 Jenifer Street, Madison 4, Wisconsin to Mr. & Mrs. Melvin R. Getz at 57000 North Crestwood Blvd., Milwaukee 9, Wisconsin. Melvin Ripper Getz (1912-2006) was a son of Albert’s brother Jacob George Goetz, later Getz (1867-1957).
The letter begins as follows:
Dear Melvin & Carol:-
I see it is just a month since you wrote us for some family records.
It is a pleasure to try to climb the family tree, but some things slip from memory with the years. The only person of our immediate family that I can get first hand information from is Aunt Louisa and I don’t get to visit with her very often, and she has such an interesting family of her own that she likes to talk about, that the things of yesteryear are hardly ever discussed.
The Aunt Louisa to whom Albert refers was his sister Louisa Elizabeth, nee Goetz (1879-1097), widow of William August Proehl (1878-1952).
In the next paragraph Albert mentions his late wife Bertha Estelle, nee Gillogly (1884-1944), and their children Horace Raymond (1907-1997), Harriette Elizabeth (1909-1996), and Lois Lavonne (1912-1999), as well as some of his wife’s relatives.
We moved from Mt. Carroll to Madison Sept. 6, 1924 – so Harriette & Lois could attend school – Horace and Kenneth Duncan were on the farm for about two weeks until I got back – then he drove the Ford car we had and with the Dog Juddy came to Madison to Register at the University which started about Sept. 20. Harriette had two years of Hi- School in Mt. Carroll. Lois entered eighth grade here. Laurel E. Gillogly was the Latin teacher here and her influence helped us to get to Madison. She taught here a few more years then she entered the Chicago school system where she is still teaching. She was born July 4, 1893. She had an accident and broke her hip last spring so I don’t know if she is teaching now or not. Her sister Edna is a Librarian in South Bend, Ind. They are Bertha’s first cousins and Mrs. Fred Dauphin is their aunt and Fred Sattler their uncle.
In the next paragraph, Albert shifts his attention to his parents.
My mother came from a small village “Winterkasten” not far from Darmstadt [Germany] and my father came from Klein-Gumpen, also near Darmstadt. They came to America in October or November 1866. Lived with a cousin of my mother, a Mr. Keil in Marion, Ohio, until about March 1867 when they came to Morley, Jones County, Iowa, near Anamosa and lived with a cousin or relative of Father’s, then in spring they came to Carroll Co. [Illinois] just across the Mississippi River. And Mother’s cousin George Weidman had a log house (small) on a 40 acre tract of land he had just bought – the 40 just west of the Old Pleasant Hill School. There they lived a year or two then they managed to buy the George Hay farm. They lived there until October 23, 1880, when the house burned and a new house had been built – the house that Jake Glen lives in now where I was born Aug. 27, 81.
During the winter of 1871-72, Father went back to Germany alone to get a small inheritance of a few hundred dollars. Shortly after that he purchased the Jacob Wolfley farm which Lawrence has now. The legal abstract of the farm would give the exact names & dates. Later the McClay 80 acres was bought, that is the west 80 of the old farm.
A little human interest story: about this time the Kansas wheat fields were opened and everybody wanted to go and get rich quick. Some did but many failed because the grasshoppers came and destroyed their crops. The Hays, cousins to the Woodland Hays, did O. K. and Mr. Hay came back to Lanark and connected with the Bank there. His daughter Helen Hay became head of Red Cross during World War One. When the Hays went [to Kansas], they gave old furniture to the folks among which was the cradle that rocked us all – and it also rocked all of Harriette’s children and Harriette treasures it highly. It is about the only thing Mother saved from the fire.
I did not intend to write so much but I hope you get some idea of the hardships those early settlers endured.
I am feeling pretty good but it is only two months now, and it is going to take a long time to recover. But the Drs. in Calif. did relieve me of the severe pain I had but my back is weak.
Horace put me on the plane & I flew direct to Milwaukee. There I changed planes and flew direct to Madison – left Los Angeles at 8 a.m., in Mil. at 5 p.m., home at 7. We had a snow storm over the Continental divide and [the] plane tossed about. I did not get sick. From Denver to Mil. the weather was good and I enjoyed my first plane ride.
Uncle Albert & Edith [Albert’s second wife]
Edith and another dietition & her (Edith’s) niece 14 yrs. old who was with us came from Calif. in 4 days from Barstow via 66. Our ‘58 Mercury has lots of power and when there is a double Hy [double highway = four lanes] it is fun to cross the country.
We left here Aug. 8 and went via Yellowstone and then south to Salt Lake City. We were out of Yellowstone 1 day when the earthquake shook it. There were about 28,000 people there and they almost panicked to get out. They shut all the roads until the National Guard took over and controlled all traffic.
We plan to go to Mt. Carroll this Sat. evening and Sunday, Nov. 14-15, and hope to see your mother [the widow of Jacob George Goetz, later Getz] as this will be our only trip down this winter. We are going to Harriette for Thanksgiving. Marlen [Harriette’s son] is doing fine in Hawaii – he will serve 2 years.
My operation was Sept. 3 and the women left Sept. 4 and got home midnight the 8th. They had to get back as both are teaching at the University & Sonja high school.
Horace and Helen [Horace’s wife] are fine but the fire was 600 feet of[f] them. They were too close for comfort.