All posts by aaronjhill

Born in Iowa, I now live in Seattle. My parents met in South Dakota. During the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl many families left. My great uncle made his way west in 1939 with some of his hometown friends. Their destination was Anacortes, Washington, where they'd landed jobs building a log mill. My great uncle continued to Seattle, for a time living in the Greenlake neighborhood with a family from that same hometown.

The World Wars, Hitler & Some Amazing Stories

Recently I have been looking through some library books on the First World War. One I happened to come across, Atlas of the First World War by Martin Gilbert, has some maps of interest. There is some detailed background on the Zeppelin airship L.59, which was sent to Africa with a mountain of supplies for von Lettow-Vorbeck, leader of a ragtag band of men in East Africa. Sadly, long after the mission to Africa, this mighty aircraft went down, probably in the Adriatic, and every one of the crew with it.

Ever since reading a brief write-up on him and the campaign in a Reader’s Digest book (Facts & Fallacies: Stories of the Strange and Unusual), I’ve been hooked. It’d make a great movie and I’d love to direct it, on location in Africa. From my copy I also learned about Sławomir Rawicz and his book The Long Walk, which would also make a terrific film, and one I’d love to do mostly on location in Poland, Russia, the Gobi Desert, Tibet and finally India.

Now returning to Gilbert’s Atlas, there are many maps I’d like to note. Of course, Hitler always brings a fair amount of attention, even well into the 21st century. I’ve never known much about his service during WWI, other than that he had a funny-looking mustache and was a corporal, but Gilbert dedicates a page in his book to tracking him during this period.

Young Hitler was in at least five major battles including the infamous Somme, and was repeatedly wounded. He spent time at the Pasewalk Military Hospital in Pomerania (the region where some of my ancestors lived) and at the Beelitz Military Hospital in Berlin. At Pasewalk Hitler recovered from a British gas attack and while there was apparently declared a psychopath by one of the doctors. At the end of war he was on guard duty at the Traunstein POW Camp in Bavaria keeping an eye on Russian prisoners.

Pasewalk isn’t too far from Szczecin (Stettin), where a few relatives lived in the 1930s and 40s. What happened to them during and at the end of World War II, I don’t know. Hopefully they avoided the Soviets and the resulting occupation of Poland. I am sure they either left or were forcibly expelled, as was most of the remaining German population in areas beyond the Oder River. They likely ended up being relocated to places within Germany proper, as we know it today.

During my research on the military hospitals I came across this site with several images: ‘Postcards from the Great War’. I also happened on this site about Hitler as a younger man and his connection to Erich Maria Remarque, author of All Quiet on the Western Front, which is another among the books I’ve been reading.

Awhile back I watched the 1930 film on DVD with Lew Ayres, who I first saw in the original Battlestar Galatica pilot movie. I liked the movie, but like the book even better. Some of the scenes in the book are just too grotesque and horrific to really capture on film. Remarque has a remarkable innocence to his writing and displays a sad honesty. He portrays what my great uncle occasionally, yet briefly mentioned in his letters from France, although he never went into any detail. I cringe at the idea of watching the 1979 remake with Richard Thomas and Ernest Borgnine.

Tomorrow I will be writing about some of the genetics books I have recently discovered.


Message in a Bottle

The Spokesman-Review has a story on some people finding a glass bottle after 86 years since being cast into a creek. It had “an old-fashioned cork stopper.” The bottle contained a surprisingly well-preserved letter written in pencil and dated March 30, 1913. I came across the article reprinted in The Seattle Times. With a little leg work, the letter writer’s nephew was found and talked about his uncle, who died in 1978. The reporter ended the story with a nice touch: “Emmett, we finally found your bottle.”

The Other Parkers of Coles County, Illinois

Today I came across The History of Coles County, Illinois at the Internet Archive. There is quite a bit of material on the Parker family, albeit the wrong one. However, there is some information on my Parker line as well.

Another family of Parkers, and not related to those above mentioned, settled in this township in the winter of 1825-26, on what is called Parker Prairie, and from them the prairie received its name. George Parker and his sons, Samuel, Daniel, Jeptha and William Parker composed this settlement. They were originally from Butler County, Ohio, and removed to Crawford County, 111., in 1817, locating south of Palestine, where they remained until their settlement in this town, on Parker Prairie. Samuel Parker went back to Crawford Countv and died there, some of them died here, and Daniel and Jeptha are still living in the township, prominent farmers. George Parker is said to have entered the first land in Coles County.

In 1826, a settlement was made by the Parkers on what was known as Parker’s Prairie, and which lies partly in Hutton Township. George Parker and his sons Joseph, Daniel and Jephthah were the first in this immediate neighborhood, and from them this beautiful prairie received its name.

Joseph Parker killed a large bear, in 1828, near Buyess Berkley’s, and many other members of the Bruin family were slaughtered in an early day by the pioneers.

Blogging My Notes

This blog will serve as a place to post and organize my notes on genealogy and history. It can be difficult when at a library doing research to keep my little scraps of paper together, so I have decided to take most notes electronically and archive them for future use and reference.