Category Archives: South Dakota

Watertown Appleby Foley Grover Kampeska Pelican Rauville Waverly

I just had to make a hashtag out of it

I was looking through a genealogical database while at the local library the other day and decided to probe the Social Security Death Index.

In my grandfather’s file, there’s a long list of towns, places where he worked, I think. This is rather unusual. Most files only list one place, the last residence of the person.

Grandpa began working as a cashier at the age of 16 at a bank in Grover, South Dakota. It was called the State Bank of Grover. His older brother Herman worked there too. I think the bank went under in 1921, the same year as a robbery a la Bonnie and Clyde.

He worked in goverment for many years, first with the Works Progress Administration, then as the city and county auditor, in Watertown, South Dakota and Codington County. This may explain why his file is so thorough, because he was. Every year he helped many file their taxes.

I am assuming the list, chronologically, is backwards. It may also indicate where he and the family lived. Thus, his first job was at Waverly, where his parents lived for many years. Next is Rauville, where his parents were buried. I don’t know anything about Pelican. Kampeska is the name of the lake to the northwest of Watertown, and Grandpa owned a house there. His parents lived there for awhile. Next is Grover, followed by Foley and Appleby, two more places I know nothing about. And finally there is Watertown, where he lived and worked most of his life.

ajh

Name: Oscar Fromke
State of Issue: South Dakota
Date of Birth: Wednesday August 08, 1900
Date of Death: April 1976
Est. Age at Death: 75 years, 8 months
Last known residence:
City: WatertownApplebyFoleyGroverKampeskaPelicanRauvilleWaverly
County: Codington
State: South Dakota
ZIP Code: 57201
Latitude: 44.9156
Longitude: -97.1699

Name: Bernice Fromke
State of Issue: South Dakota
Date of Birth: Sunday November 03, 1912
Date of Death: February 1986
Est. Age at Death: 73 years, 3 months
Last known residence:
City: WatertownApplebyFoleyGroverKampeskaPelicanRauvilleWaverly
County: Codington
State: South Dakota
ZIP Code: 57201
Latitude: 44.9156
Longitude: -97.1699

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‘A devoted husband, a kind father, & a true friend’

130510344_1448998595 (1)Today while connecting up relatives on Find A Grave, I discovered a copy of my great grandfather‘s obituary. It’s probably from the Lake Preston Times, the paper serving the community where he lived and farmed. His son Everett, my great uncle, is still living, going strong at age 100. He looks just like him.

Unfortunately, his father George, as Everett explained to me a few years ago, had taken up a bad habit, passed on by his father Frank: chewing tobacco. Of course, today there are warning labels and such. But back then who knows how much they knew about the terrible consequences of tobacco. Sadly, the habit caught up with George Hay in 1941. It had taken his father Frank prematurely, too, in 1903.

In 1939, Everett had moved west, to Seattle. He was chasing after a girl, Grace, whose family had moved to Oregon. They were married the same year his father died. One day he got a call from his older sister Lois. She explained how sick there father was. So Everett packed up and returned home, taking over the family farm after his father had passed.

The move west would have to wait.

ajh

Herman, Pauline & Family

Herman Lentz and Pauline Fromke pose for a photo with their children.
Herman Lentz and Pauline Fromke pose for a photo with their children.

It really is amazing what you can find online. My latest discovery is pics of family from my Mother’s side of the family, specifically my great-great aunt and uncle, Herman Lentz and Pauline Fromke. Someone added them to a family tree on Ancestry.

Herman Lentz as a younger man.
Herman Lentz as a younger man, possibly his engagement photo.

My Mom has talked in the past about being double cousins with a branch of the family in North Dakota. Pauline is the sister of my great grandfather, Albert Fromke, and Herman is the brother of my great grandmother, Augusta Lentz. The puzzle that is the family tree is coming together bit by bit. Albert and Pauline’s parents are Carl Fromke and Caroline Radde. Augusta and Herman’s parents are Ludwig Lentz and Marie Scharnofske.

What is particularly interesting to me is information on the family tree.

Herman was born in “Steitch, Germany.” I don’t know anything about this place. I don’t recall having seen it before. I’ll have to investigate the spelling and see if I can find a copy of the original source.

In 1880, at the age of 16, he is recorded as living in Wausau, Wisconsin, though I am not sure about the accuracy of this because he supposedly emigrated in 1883 or 1893. I’m guessing 1883 is the right year.

They were married in 1889, in Baltimore, Maryland, according to the source on Ancestry. Why Baltimore? There were some folks named Fromke living there going back to the 1840s.

These latest discoveries should provide excellent opportunities for further documenting the family tree.

ajh

June 3, 1945

A photo from my grandparents’ — Raymond ‘Ray’ Hill and Marilyn Hay — wedding at the family homestead near Lake Preston, South Dakota. (front row: Geneva Estella Darling Hay, Azalea Hay Davis | back row: Everett Hay, Raymond ‘Ray’ Hill, Marilyn Hay Hill, Grace Leek Hay, Grace Hay Stucke

This is a photo I’ve never seen before. I wonder what other gems are lurking out there long forgotten in someone’s attic that I’ve never seen and don’t know about. It’s a photo taken on my grandparents’ wedding day.

According to what my mother wrote on Facebook, starting with the back row, left to right, pictured are Betty — a good friend of my grandmother and the maid of honor at the wedding, her older brother Everett — who just celebrated his 100th birthday, the bride and groom — my grandparents, Ray and Marilyn, Everett’s wife Grace, and the youngest sibling of the five also named Grace. In the front row are my great grandmother, Geneva Estella Darling Hay, Marilyn’s older sister Azalea — known to some as Kay, and the pianist from the Lake Preston Methodist Church.

Apparently the wedding took place at the family farm just south of town, what their father George named Fair Haven Farm. The oldest sibling of them all, Lois, was pregnant at the time and didn’t attend.

ajh

More on Brother Albert

albert_lentzFor a few years now I’ve made a point of trying to piece together my great-grandmother’s family by tracking down potential siblings.

One possible brother was Albert Lentz. I am convinced, after seeing an image of him online and the brief family pedigree someone added to Ancestry, that he is indeed an older sibling of my great-grandmother Augusta. He was born in 1842 in Prussia. A brief notice of his death appeared in the Los Angeles Times on March 31, 1921.

Albert married a woman named Wilhelmina Lange. She died in 1895 in Germantown, Codington County, South Dakota while giving birth. I don’t know if the child survived. He remarried at some point, and his second wife shared the same name, Wilhelmina. Her surname was Martins.

I will see what more I can find out about him. He may very well be the reason my great grandparents immigrated from Germany in 1887. He arrived years earlier. I will be looking up the details and sharing.

ajh

From Prussia To Los Angeles

albert_lentz_1842_1921
Albert Lentz, older brother of my great-grandmother Augusta. He was born in 1842 in Prussia and died in 1921 while living in Los Angeles.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn, after someone sent me a response to a query I made, that someone had uploaded an image of a man I thought likely to be a brother of my great-grandmother. Unfortunately, the pic didn’t make it as a PDF attachment via email, only the very left portion of it. So, I went hunting for it myself on Ancestry. Thankfully, it didn’t take much effort.

Sure enough, he certainly looks like her, though I have yet to get a decent photo of her uploaded for posterity. Those eyes and the nose. So alike. I am convinced the two are brother and sister based on their photos alone.

Yet, another clue is the family tree attached to his obviously poorly photocopied image of a photograph. It lists his parents as Henry Lentz and Marie Schenovsky, precisely the same name of the mother of Augusta my grandmother had jotted down years ago.

Henry, however, is something different. Our branch of the family has Augusta’s father listed as Ludwig Lentz, not Henry. I tend to think that Ludwig is probably the correct one. That’s not a common name to confuse. But who knows for sure until we can get more documentation.

The Schenovsky name, however, is a mistake that must flow from a common source. The actual name, after years of including Schenovsky in drafts of the family tree, I learned is Scharnofske. It’s easy to see how the name was bastardized.

ajh