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Monday, August 29, 2016

Once to Every Man and Nation

Once to every man and nation,
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
Some great cause, some great decision,
Offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever,
’Twixt that darkness and that light.

Then to side with truth is noble,
When we share her wretched crust,
Ere her cause bring fame and profit,
And ’tis prosperous to be just;
Then it is the brave man chooses
While the coward stands aside,
Till the multitude make virtue
Of the faith they had denied.

By the light of burning martyrs,
Christ, Thy bleeding feet we track,
Toiling up new Calv’ries ever
With the cross that turns not back;
New occasions teach new duties,
Time makes ancient good uncouth,
They must upward still and onward,
Who would keep abreast of truth.

Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet the truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong;
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow,
Keeping watch above His own.

James Russell Lowell wrote these words as a poem protesting America's war with Mexico.
The poem was published in the Boston Courier on December 11, 1845. The original poem
was 90 lines long. The words above were arranged by Garrett Horder in his Hymns 
Supplemental to Existing Collections, 1896, and can be sung to the tune of Oh The Deep,
Deep Love of Jesus.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Henry and Peter Burkholder

Three Burkholder brothers immigrated from Switzerland with their widowed mother in 1754. One of them is my ancestor, Christian Burkholder. Several years ago I traced the first three generations of his descendants. 
Christian's oldest brother, Ulrich, is often confused with another Ulrich Burkholder who immigrated from Germany in 1732. I decided to trace the first three generations of "our" Ulrich in an attempt to resolve some of the confusion.
This leaves one more brother, Peter. He moved to Virginia and no one down there ever published a Burkholder book. Some of Peter's descendants are found in other family histories such as the Brennaman Book, but there is no book to find all of them in one place. It didn't seem fair to leave Peter in obscurity, so I took on the challenge of tracing three generations of his descendants. 
I had pretty well completed it but lacked information on Henry, one of Peter's sons, and Peter who was a grandson. Genealogy research is much easier since a lot of documents can be found online, but there are still some things found only in county courthouses. I had exhausted all resources and would not be satisfied until I had a few more documents to confirm what I had written. I don't want to publish anything on a presumption because serious mistakes have been made that way. So the only thing left to do was make a trip to Virginia.
My sister went with me on Tuesday and visited a friend of hers while I dug out the documents in the Rockingham County courthouse. Found 'em!
Two entries in the 1834 Minute Books confirm that grandson Peter Burkholder died in 1834 and left two minor children, Enos and Leah.

Leah has disappeared from the pages of history. She either died young or married and changed her name. Enos never married and died in Elkhart County, Indiana. The story of Enos' life was written by his cousin and was included in John C. Wenger's book The Mennonites in Indiana and Michigan. Peter and his wife both died young and Enos lived with his aunts and uncles in Ohio and Indiana. 
Peter is buried with his parents, David and Barbara. His wife, Anna, is buried behind him in the next row. She died at the age of 27. My sister and I went to the cemetery and found their stones.
The things I needed on Henry Burkholder were in Augusta County. I thought I wouldn't have time to go down there. When I finished in Harrisonburg by 1p.m. and discovered the Augusta county courthouse was only a half an hour south, I decided to make a run for it. 
We arrived with an hour and a half until closing time at 5. I found a will that identified Henry's wife as Margaret Hildebrand, daughter of Henry Hildebrand. We also found two documents related to the settlement of Henry's estate. The first one appointed an administrator for his estate in 1838 and the other named his minor children in 1839. 
The 1830 census lists two males and six females ages 19 and under in  Henry and Margaret's home. By following census, I found Margaret living with her son, Ulrich, and moving with him to Illinois. In tracking the family through census and other documents, I have identified six of Henry and Margaret's children: Magdalena (ca. 1815-aft. 1880; never married), Elizabeth (ca. 1817-aft. 1883; never married), Margaret (b. ca. 1819), Susanna, and Barbara (minors in 1839, b. 1825), and Ulrich (ca. 1828-Oct. 6, 1877 in McPhearson County, Kansas).
Ulrich had a son William Henry Burkholder who remained in McPhearson County, Kansas, and had 11 children. Some stayed in Kansas and others moved as far west as California.
This is one of my favorite hobbies---finding a family no one else has traced. But there are still a lot of unanswered questions. I don't know where Henry, Margaret, or any of their children are buried. They seem to have fallen through the cracks of the paper work. Maybe someone will be able to take what I've found and develop it further someday. But I've had the satisfaction of digging out a family that had been lost in history.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Did you Notice?

My grandson has been spending one day per week with me since he was just a few months old. He's four now and is learning about the world in which he lives. He recently had a conversation with his parents who were trying to explain the cycles of life and death, old people pass on and new people come as babies. 
Shortly after he arrived today he shared this new knowledge with me. He said to me, "Grandma, did you notice you're getting old and you might die soon?" I assured him I had noticed but I didn't think I would die today. He was satisfied and no more was said on the subject.
I remember very well when I was four and sat on the lawn waiting for my sister to come home from school. I wanted to go to school so badly I could taste it. And I had to wait SO long until I was old enough to go to school. A year is long when you are four. 
I finally did go to first grade when I was a little shy of six years old. As soon as I could read, I devoured every reading book as soon as I got it. But then summer came and it was a long time before school started again. I had forgotten some things over summer and needed to refresh my memory, especially in math. 
After that, time moved a little faster and I marched through ten grades. My parents wanted me to graduate from high school but I was having problems with Algebra and gave up. I said I can sit in school until I'm forty and never pass Algebra. Two more years of school seemed like a long time, so I quit and got a job.
I had just turned seventeen when I started dating the guy I eventually married. The Vietnam War was going on and he was drafted a few months after we started dating. He moved out of state to serve two years of I-W service (alternate service for conscientious objectors). I still thought two years was a long time. But those two years eventually passed and we were married two months after he finished his service.
After that the pace picked up and the years rolled along faster and faster. With a growing family and work load there was never enough time in a day to get everything done. Before we knew what happened we had been married twenty years and had six children. We were never in the habit of going off by ourselves to celebrate anniversaries, but that year we did. We went to the New England states and had a wonderful break from responsibility.
We came back, shouldered the load again, and time moved faster than ever. I wondered why I thought two years was long. Two years were nothing and went by in a flash. Five years was short and I only stopped to mark the decades when the numbers on the calendar or in my age rolled over. 
Ten years went by, and another ten, and we were married forty years. The nest was starting to empty as our older children had married and established their own homes. When I looked at the family pictures we had taken through the years, the change was obvious. My hair had changed color without any help from me, and I looked like my mother. Yes, I noticed I was getting old but life was still full and busy and aging wasn't hurting me. 
Now another nine years has passed faster than ever before and the aches and pains of aging have set in. Next year we will mark our fiftieth anniversary, Lord willing. I remember when my grandparents had their fiftieth anniversary and thinking that was really unusual. Fifty years seemed like a very long time and Grandma didn't tell me how short fifty years can be. 
Also, at the end of next year I will reach my "threescore years and ten." Whatever time I am given beyond that is a bonus. The signs are all in place that I am getting old and might die soon. I doubt I'll ever reach the point of being able to say I have done everything I want to do because time goes faster and faster, and I keep getting new ideas for things I should do. But I do want to be a good steward of whatever time I have left and use it wisely. The road isn't as long looking back as it is when you're looking ahead.

 Ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. James 4:14