Monday, August 28, 2017

The Lange Family Farm

Grandma and Grandpa Lange purchased 193-1/2 acres of land from Susie G. Dyson and Frank Dyson, her husband for $3,500. The deed was signed on 16 December 1919. The legal description of the land was as follows:

"...that lot of ground situate, lying and being in Brandywine District, of Prince George's County aforesaid, known as Vineyard Brook's Choice, or by which ever name or names it may be known, and described as follows; that is to say: Beginning for the same at a small Gum tree on the north side of Wilsons Mill Race said tree being the southwest boundary of Mrs. Mary C. Townsend land and running thence with the north side of said Mill Race south forty-six and one-half degrees west ten and four-fifths perches to a large Poplar tree south fifty-one and one-fifth degrees west thirty and one-half perches south sixty-one degrees wet five and two-thirds perches north eighty-six degrees west twenty-one perches south seventy-two degrees west seventeen and one-half degrees west eleven and on-half perches south one and one-half degrees west and one-fifth perches to a Gum tree on south side of said Race then up Mattaponi Branch south eighty-four and one-fourth degrees west eleven and two-fifths perches south sixty-six and one-half degrees west six perches to a Sycamore tree south sixty-two and one-half degrees west five perches north eighty-five and one-half degrees west twenty-eight perches; thence leaving said branch north fifty-two and one-half degrees west thirty and two-fifths perches to Mattaponi Branch and up (note at fourteen and two-thirds perches is large Persimmon tree in the line) said branch north thirty-nine and one-half degrees west fifteen perches north forty-three and one-half degrees west five and one-half perches north thirty-five degrees west eight perches north sixteen degrees west three perches north twenty-three and one-half degrees west four perches north fifteen degrees west and one-half perches north fifty-one degrees west four perches north five and one-half degrees west eleven perches north forty-three and one-half degrees west fourteen perches south seventy-nine degrees west eight perches, north fifty-eight and one-half degrees west five and one-half perches south sixty-one degrees west nine and one-third perches north sixty degrees west twelve and one-half perches north eighty-eight and one-half degrees west five and one-half perches south sixty-eight degrees west nine perches to a Sycamore and Gum tree leaving said Branch north forty and three-fourths degrees west twelve perches north fifty-four and one-half degrees east fifty-one perches to the ninth line Vinyard [sic] and with said line reversely south eighty degrees east twenty-six perches north twenty-five degrees east sixty perches to the first line of "Brook's Lot" and "Widows Trouble" north forty-seven and three fourths degrees east nineteen perches north twenty-three and three-fourths degrees fifteen perches north forty-eight and three-fourths degrees east fifty-two perches (note at twenty perches Gate and Private Road) north sixty-four and one-fourth degrees west nine perches north fifty-one and one-half degrees east twelve perches north sixty-two and one-half degrees east forty-nine perches to the northwest boundary of Mrs. Mary C. Townsend line and then with her lands reversely south seventeen and one-half degrees east fifty-one and four-fifths perches south sixty-two degrees west eleven and nine-twenty-fifths perches to an Ash tree and then down a small branch south twenty-two and one-half degrees east ten perches south six and one-half degrees east sixteen perches south eighteen degrees west six perches south eleven and one-fourth degrees east sixteen perches to the mouth of the Quarter Spring Branch, then south sixty-two perches to a Cedar tree on south side of a ravine south forty-five and one-half degrees east seventy-one and twenty-two-fifths perches to a Walnut tree on the north side of Mattaponi Branch south fifty-eight and three-fourths degrees east five and two-thirds perches to the beginning; containing one hundred and ninety-three and one-half acres more or less according to a survey of same made by W. I. Latimer, Surveyor of Prince George's County in August 1880.

The legal description makes me long for the Cadastral method of land descriptions! You have to wonder if all the gum, sycamore, persimmon, walnut and ash trees are still standing. And I wonder what the history is behind the parcel of land known as "Widows Trouble."

The land passed to Susie G. Dyson through the will of Laura S. Huntt in1913. Laura S. Hunt inherited the land from James Eli Huntt in 1892, who purchased it from Lemuel F. Lusby in 1890. In 1878 the land had been owned by William Holliday Early, a prominent land owner in the district. The community of the same name developed as a small crossroads village at the convergence of an old stage coach road (now Rt. 301) and old Indian Head Road. William H. Early had a store, post office, and blacksmith shop just west of the village. The establishment of the Popes Creek Line of the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad in the 1870s brought new development to the area, including a hotel.

Locatioln of Grandma and Grandpa's farm on the 1878 Hopkins map;
courtesy of the Maryland State Archives

In 1929 Grandma and Grandpa Lange sold 10 acres of land to Thomas J. Shumate. The legal description was as follows:

Part of a tract of ground in Brandywine District, Prince George's County, Maryland, it being part of the "Vinyard [sic] Farm." Beginning at a point on the east side of the road leading into the farm at a distance 16 feet from the end of 330 feet from the beginning of the thirty-fifth line of the whole tract, and running along said east side of said road South 1 degree 15' East 660 feet, thence North 88 degrees 45' East 660 feet to a stake near the quarter spring branch, thence North 1 degree 15' West 660 feet to a stake, thence South 88 degrees 45' West 660 feet to the place of beginning, containing ten (10) acres, according to a survey made by Millard Thorne, Surveyor, August 25, 1929.

The same parcel of land was sold back to Grandma and Grandpa Lange by Glenn and Mary P. Efort on 18 December 1951 per the deed and the settlement sheet indicated the purchase price was $5,700 plus $67.85 in settlement fees.

In a life sketch about her parents which appeared in Our Schalin Family, 1770-2003, Mom wrote:

"They bought the farm in Maryland where six more children were born to them. They worked hard cutting pulpwood to pay for the farm and build a new home. They raised tobacco for one year (a big money crop) but because of religious beliefs did not pursue that further. Instead, they started a poultry business and also kept horses, cows and pigs. Gustav began an egg route in Washington, District of Columbia, delivering eggs to some of the U.S. Senators in the Senate Office Building.

Ruth, Arnold, and Walter Lange, c1920, the three children not born on the
farm; personal collection

Minnie's life was busy and she worked hard raising nine children and working side-by-side with Gustav on the farm. They had no electricity or running water. Although there was always time to play with her children -- tag, hide and seek, and ball games, even putting on boxing gloves to spare with one son! She had a gift for story telling. When she worked with the children, cutting and husking corn, fixing the road, hoeing the garden, planting potatoes, bringing in the hay, feeding the chickens, or whatever, she would tell them a story and magically the work was done.
Meal times were the best part of the day, although presenting a real challenge for her. She relied on the big garden and fruit trees to put a meal on the table. These were noisy but cheerful times."
Tribute to his parents carved by their son, Arthur James
Lange; personal collection
Mom was their last child who lived at home, which she did for nearly ten years after graduating from high school. She married in November 1957. Three sons built houses on the farm and raised their families there. Grandma died in 1960 and Grandpa in 1963.
Christmas, 1952; personal collection

Monday, August 21, 2017

Grandpa Lange's Life in Winnipeg and Michigan

We don't know when Grandpa left Essen for Liverpool, or how long he had to stay at a hostel near the docks waiting to board his ship to Canada, but we do know he left England on 12 August 1911 and arrived at Port Huron, Michigan, on the Grand Trunk Railway on 20 August. Assuming 50 to 60 hours for the train ride to Winnipeg, he probably arrived on 22 or 23 August. It's entirely possible he may have been traveling for nearly a month.

The first record I have found for Grandpa in Winnipeg is his and Grandma's Official Certificate of Marriage. Grandpa was a 27 year-old bachelor, who worked as a store keeper, and was a Baptist. His place of birth and parents' name were listed and his father's profession was farming. At the time of his marriage he lived with his maternal uncle, Gustav Ludwig. Grandma was a 21 year-old spinster. (Don't you just love the terminology. Never mind she'd been working since she was 9 years old, no profession was typically listed for women.) She was born in Leduc, Alberta. Her parents' names were also listed.

Gustav and Wilhelmina (Schalin) Lange on their wedding day; personal collection

They were married on 9 April 1915 by C. H. Edinger, a Baptist minister, at the home of Grandpa's uncle at 386 Thames Avenue in Winnipeg. The witness to their marriage was Uncle Gustav. Mom always said Grandma and Grandpa met in Winnipeg or Edmonton when Grandma was there with a family for which she worked. After she and the family returned to Alberta, Grandpa sent her a letter, asking her to marry him and enclosed a train ticket. Not knowing what to do, Grandma asked her boss what he thought. He replied, "Minnie, he sent a ticket. He mean's business. Go."

Current photograph of 386 Thames Avenue, Winnipeg, Canada;
courtesy of Google Maps

In order to track the rapidly growing population of the western provinces, the Canadian government ordered special census of the prairie provinces to begin in 1906. These census were in addition to the nationwide census conducted every ten years on the first year of each decade (example 1911). This practice continued until 1956. Because of this special census we know that Gustav and his young family lived at 400 Thames Avenue just a few doors down the street from Uncle Ludwig. He worked as a general laborer. Grandpa's brother, Traugott (known as Fred), had immigrated to Canada and lived with Uncle Gustav and his family. Aunt Ruth was five months old so the census was likely conducted in July.

Grandpa Lange left Winnipeg in February 1917 and traveled by train to Detroit, Michigan. When he crossed the border on 24 February, he hold immigration officials his destination was 1073 Montclair Avenue, the home of his friend, Dan Stroscheim. Grandma undertook the same train trip with her baby daughter and arrived in Detroit on 30 April 1917.  Her destination was 1090 Holcombe Avenue, where Grandpa now lived.

These delightful photographs of Aunt Ruth were taken at studio in Detroit;
personal collection

On 5 June 1917 Grandpa registered for the World War I draft in Sanilac County, Michigan. He worked as a farm hand for Bert E. Mortimer, who coincidently was also the draft registrar for the county. Mom told me many times Grandma and Grandpa worked on a sugar beet farm, saving money to buy their own farm. Grandpa claimed an exemption from the draft because he was married with dependents. His appearance was described as medium height, medium weight, brown eyes and dark brown hair.

Sanilac County township map and land ownership map; courtesy of and, respectively

Uncle Walter was born in December of 1917 and Uncle Arnold was born in October 1919. When he was three weeks old, Gustav and his family were traveling once again to a farm Grandpa bought sight unseen in southern Maryland.


Grandpa Lange's Trip from Essen to Winnipeg
Grandpa Lange's Life in Essen

Monday, August 14, 2017

Grandpa Lange's Trip from Essen to Winnipeg

My mother always said her father, Gustav Lange (1888-1963) immigrated to Canada from Essen, Germany in 1911; and I have his immigration inspection card. However, for years could not find his listing on a passenger manifest.

Immigration inspection card for Gustav Lange; personal collection

But good things happen to stubborn persistent people and I finally found it on 2 July 2017 after beginning my search in late 2012. Grandpa worked in Essen, Germany, before immigrating to Canada. He likely purchased his steerage-class ticket from a White Star Line agent and took a steamer from Amsterdam, Bremen, Hamburg, or Rotterdam across the North Sea to Hull, England. From there he took a train to Liverpool, as did 9 million other emigrants from 1830 to 1930. Passengers were not allowed to board their ship until the day before or the day of sailing. So most spent between one to ten days in a hostel near the docks.

Grandpa boarded the RMS Teutonic on 12 August 1911 and arrived in Quebec on 20 August. After reviewing hundreds of other records of German immigrants whose final destination was Winnipeg, I believe he took the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) in Quebec. The trip to Winnipeg is nearly 50 hours by train today. How long it was in Grandpa's day, I have no idea. As new and different as a sea voyage must have been for a young man born and raised in landlocked western Russia, the train ride would prove equally fascinating, I'm sure.

From Quebec the GTR went to Montreal and then Toronto before crossing the U.S. border at Port Huron, Michigan. At Grand Haven across the state on Lake Michigan, the train cars were loaded onto a car ferry for the 4+-hour trip across the lake to Milwaukee. What a sight that must have been for young Gustav!

Lake Michigan rail car ferry; courtesy of Deep Sea Detectives

From Milwaukee the GTR went to Minneapolis, then Fargo and Grand Forks before making its last stop in the U.S. at Noyes, Minnesota. Another stop across the border at Emerson, Canada, for immigration paperwork and on to Winnipeg.


Grandpa Lange's Life in Essen 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Grandpa Lange's Life in Essen

Gustav Lange (1888-1963), better known to at least his younger grandchildren as "Grandpa Lange," left Porozove in 1906, the year after his father died. I always heard he went to Germany to work, sending money home to his mother as well as saving to immigrate to Canada. I really don't know if he planned to immigrate when he left home. His uncle, Gustav Ludwig, who was his age and had been raised by his sister, Caroline (Ludwig) Lange, my great grandmother, after their mother died in late 1888, immigrated to Winnipeg in 1910. So Grandpa Lange may have decided to join his uncle in Winnipeg after receiving a letter from him describing life in Canada.

Lately I have been re-examining all the records and personal papers I have for Grandpa and realized I never transcribed or translated his German work permit.

Gustav likely made his way from Porozove[1] fifteen kilometers northeast to Rivne, where there was a rail station. We don't know through which cities he had to pass or where he changed trains but eventually he made his way to Essen, in the Ruhr Valley. Essen had been at the center of the industrialization of the German Empire and was home to the Krupp family's vast weapons dynasty. It was also home to steel factories and coal mines.

While in Essen, Grandpa had his photograph taken at Beckmann's photography studio.

Gustav Lange circa 1906-1911; personal collection

His clothing was very typical for a man in the first decade of the 20th century -- a "middle-class men's suit" instead of frock coats of the previous century, a vest and tie or bow tie. The shirts were often pastel in color and the collars were detachable because they required more frequent cleaning. Collars could also be replaced if ruined.

In Essen Grandpa obtained a work permit, which included his place of birth and employer. It appeared a new work permit was required each year. Below is his permit for 1911, the last year he was in Essen.

Grandpa Lange's German work permit; personal collection

Gültig für das Jahr 1911
Valid for the year 1911
No. 686273

Abfiertigungsstelle Essen a. d. R.
Check-out point Essen [initials not translated]
der Deutschen Feldarbeiter-Zentralstelle zu Berlin
The German Field Workers' Center in Berlin

Workers Identity Card
ausgestellt auf Grund des Ministerialrlasses
Issued by the Ministerial
vom 21. Dezember 1907 -- IIb 5675
of 21 December 1907 [remainder not translated]

Vor- und Zuname Gustav Lange
First and Last Name Gustav Lange
aus Samosck
from Samosck
Kries Lutzk Heimatland Russland
District Lutzke Homeland Russia
Arbeitgeber Rh. Westf. Elektrizitatwerk
Employer Rheinish-Westfalisches Electric Plant
Place of Work Essen
Kreis, Provinz
Bundesstaat Essen Ruhr Rheinland
District, County
[not translated] Essen, Ruhr, Rhineland

Diese Legitimationkarte ist bei polizeilichen An- und Abmeldungen und bei jedem Weschsel der Arbeitsstelle vorzulegen.
This card is to be presented in the case of police log-in / log-out (?) and every change of the working place.

Die Polizeiverwaltung
The Police

The Rheinish-Westfälisches Elektrizitätwerk was founded in 1898 in Essen. The company's first power station began operating in 1900. The local municipalities owned the majority of the company's stock shares.

The RWE power station in Essen, circa 1905; courtesy of RWE

I don't know where Grandpa lived while in Essen or how he spent his leisure time, but at the turn of the century, Germany's economy was the most dynamic in Europe. The years from 1895 to 1907 witnessed a doubling of the number of workers engaged in machine building, from slightly more than a half a million to well over a million. People continued to migrate from eastern provinces to the growing and multiplying factories in Berlin and the Ruhr Valley. Health insurance was provided to German workers in 1883 and the Workers Protection Act of 1891 banned work on Sundays and limited the work day to 11 hours. So Grandpa Lange had some leisure time to spend. Was he a member of band, playing his trumpet?

The Lange family had converted from Lutheran to German Baptist by the time Grandpa left home. Where was his church and where did he live? Surprisingly, according to an article by John S. Conway and Kyle Jantzen, "German Baptists were among those small groups of free churches which had to struggle throughout the 19th century to gain a foothold in Germany against the intolerant pressures of the established Lutheran church. By the 20th century they were conditionally recognized but remained on the edges of society. They sought to encourage the ideal life of true believers, separated from the rest of sinful society and politics. Hence, abstention from all worldly associations was coupled with the demand for freedom from all state interference in church life." Those beliefs seem noble to me but somewhat impractical to live by for a working-class factory worker like Grandpa. As an alien worker in Germany, his life interacted with the state on a regular basis.

Did he pay attention to politics as do some of his grandchildren today? Mom remembered he closely monitored the diplomatic maneuvers by European countries prior to World War II. At the time Grandpa lived in Essen, the empire's authoritarian political system was marked by paralysis. Encyclopedia Britannica described the political situation as:

"With each election, the increasingly urban electorate returned Social Democrats in growing numbers. By 1890 the Social Democrats (who had adopted a Marxist program of revolution at their Erfurt congress in 1891) received more votes than any other party. By 1912 they had more voters supporting them than the next two largest parties combined...Many contemporary observers thought that a major crisis was looming between the recalcitrant elites and the increasing number of Germans who desired political emancipation..."

Some time in the summer of 1911, Gustav traveled to Liverpool, England, where he boarded the White Star Line's RMS Teutonic on 12 August, and immigrated to Canada.

[1] Porozove is located in the Rivne raion of the Rivne oblast, Ukraine. At the time Gustav Lange lived there it was part of the Russian Empire. After the Polish-Soviet War in 1920-21, it became part of Poland. After World War II, part of Ukraine.

Another Ludwig Breakthrough: Finding Uncle Gustav