The Family Photo Album: Lucia Arras and Friends

childhood friends

The photo above shows my grandmother, Lucia Arras (second row without a doll), and her little sister Jeanne (second row left) with several childhood friends.  For the longest time, we didn’t know who the other people were in this picture.  Then, several years ago, my mom posted it online and someone came forward with the missing information.

Not only that, but she had another photo taken the same day!

childhood friends 2

Going back to the original photo, the other girl in the second row, Mary Etta Waltermire, was my grandma’s neighbor across the street.  The three remaining children in the photo were Mary Etta’s cousins, who were visiting from Toledo, just under 50 miles away.  Josephine and Mary Lou are seated in the bottom row and George, of course, is clowning away at the top.  Isn’t he hilarious?!  Pulling faces in both pictures, like you’d expect of a boy that age.

The funniest part was finding out who else Mary Lou, George, and Josephine were related to.  Mary Etta was their cousin through their mother, Alma Irene Cessna.  Her sister, Gytanna Cessna, had married Orville Waltermire.

Alma Irene Cessna’s husband was named Harold Clyde Benington.  His brother, Ralph Orlando Benington, who I’ve written about here, was my grandpa’s father.  Mary Lou, George and Josephine were Lucia’s future husband’s first cousins!

She would not meet their cousin, her husband, Clark, until high school.

I wonder whether Grandma and Grandpa ever recognized the connection!

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The Family Photo Album: Bernice and Mary

Today’s photo is of my great-grandmother, Bernice (Kraus) Benington, wife of Ralph Benington whose WWI experiences are documented in this series.  Bernice is pictured standing outside her home at 420 Tiffin Avenue in Findlay, Ohio.  Above her, on the porch, is her mother, Mary Josephine (Groth) Kraus.

bernice and mary

Mary lived to a ripe old age.  Just recently, I found a newspaper article profiling her on the occasion of her 90th birthday:

Findlay Woman, 90 Today, Says Days, Years Go Faster The Older One Gets

By MARGARET DENNIS

“The older you get the faster the days and years go flying by,” Mrs. Mary Kraus, 138 Trenton Ave., commented yesterday. So it isn’t worrying her a bit that, although she will be 90 years old today, her birthday will not be celebrated until Sunday.

Her children are planning an open house from 2 to 5 o’clock Sunday afternoon in the home where Mrs. Kraus lived for 60 years and where all of her six children were born. Located on US 224 in Marion Township, it is now the home of one of her grandchildren, Mrs. Clyde King.

All of her six children, including two who live in Oklahoma, will be at the celebration. So will most of her 14 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren. Friends of the family are also expected during the afternoon to offer their congratulations.

Two of Mrs. Kraus’ daughters, Mrs. Malcolm (Glenna) McFarland and her husband and Mrs. Elton (Mabel) Rose and Mr. Rose are expected to arrive Saturday from their homes in Tulsa, Okla.

The other children, all of whom live in Findlay, are Mrs. Parker (Carrie) Ickes, Mrs. Bernice Bennington, Mrs. Virgil (Frances) Saltzman and Clarence Kraus, with whom Mrs. Kraus lives.

“After my husband John died in 1930, I gave up my home and tried living in an apartment but I felt so boxed up,” she explained. “Then I lived around with all of my children but that didn’t work, either. It seemed I hardly got settled in one place until it was time to go somewhere else. So, since last November I’ve been living here with my son and my children come and visit me. It’s a lot easier on me.”

Oldest of Seven

Mrs. Kraus is the oldest of seven children born to Mr. and Mrs. John Groth who came here from Germany. The family consisted of two daughters and five sons. Mrs. Kraus’ sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Russell, lives in Biglick Township. All of her brothers are dead except one — John Groth of Calypso, Mont.

“That’s the sad thing about living so long,” Mrs. Kraus said. “All my classmates at the old Wolfe School are gone, too, except Mrs. Effie Carter. I hope she can come to my party.”

Mrs. Kraus recalls wading through deep snow and mud many days to attend the little one room school. It was about a mile from her home.

She has been a Lutheran all her life, and believes she is the oldest member of Trinity Lutheran Church.

A lot of her time is spent crocheting.

“I’ve made scads of pot holders, pillow cases and covers for heating pads. My great-granddaughters have pillow cases I have made tucked away in their hope chests. I’ve crocheted better than a hundred rugs, too.”

She likes to make rugs better than any other crocheting she does, but admits they are getting a little heavy for her to handle. Her hands are badly crippled by arthritis but as she says, “I’m going to keep on crocheting as long as I possibly can. I think the exercise is good for my hands.”

Proud of Her Rugs

She is proud of her rugs. She makes all shapes and sizes but, “I can’t make them pretty if the rags aren’t pretty,” she pointed out.

Mrs. Kraus says her eyesight isn’t too good but so far that hasn’t hindered her in her crocheting. But she doesn’t care for television.

“My eyes are better than my ears,” she said, “so even if I can see the picture I don’t know what it is about because I can’t hear the conversation.”

No one ever sees Mrs. Kraus without her white hair neatly combed, rouge and powder on her face and wearing a pretty housedress, according to her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Clarence Kraus.

“Yes, I powder up a little bit,” confessed the peppy little woman who will be 90 years old today. “They say if you curry an old horse he’ll look better!”

Mrs. Kraus is looking forward to Sunday when she will be going back to the house where she lived the longest and most important part of her life and which is filled with memories, both happy and poignant.

With relatives and friends there to help her celebrate her ninetieth birthday the house will bring an experience which will provide her with another happy memory.

 

The Family Photo Album: The Smiths, 50 Years Later

 

SCAN0250

George Henry and Mary Lucinda (Rauch) Smith, my great-great-grandparents and the parents of Stanley Robert Smith, in the yard at their daughter Clara Arras’s house.  This photo was likely taken on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary, the celebration of which occurred 69 years ago today:

GH Smith 50th anniversary
Findlay Republican Courier, 5 Aug 1949

The Family Photo Album: 15th Annual Arras Family Reunion

15th annual Arras family reunion, 1922

The 15th Annual Arras Family Reunion was held on August 15, 1922, at the home of Philip D. Arras, four miles southwest of Jenera, Ohio.

Initially, I couldn’t quite read the year on the sign at the bottom of the picture:

15th annual Arras family reunion, 1922 sign

but luckily for me, an announcement of the reunion was published in the Findlay Morning Republican newspaper (and even mistakenly appeared twice, making it possible to read portions of the announcement that were misprinted!):

15th annual reunion
Findlay Morning Republican, 15 Aug 1922

Philip D. Arras was born 14 Aug 1853, the son of Johannes and Margaret (Essinger) Arras, and grandson of Johann Peter and Anna Margaretha (Hofmann) Arras.  The latter couple emigrated from the Odenwald in Germany in 1831, bringing along several books which were still in the possession of the family at the time of the 15th Annual Reunion:

15th annual Arras family reunion, 1922 books

The center book in the pile, which at the time was 268 years old, was a German prayer book printed in 1654 that had been passed down in the Arras family.  Henry Arras, who, as I’ve mentioned before, was very interested in the family history, was extremely proud of this book.  In 1936, he entered it in a historical display held by the annual Farmers Institute in Jenera and won first place for the oldest relic.

One of the books was also a family bible which contained entries for the Arras family since before their emigration to the United States in 1831.  My great-uncle, Theron Arras, had possession of that bible years ago before his home was broken into and the thieves stole it, amongst other things.

Here are the (very few) people I recognize:

15th annual Arras family reunion, 1922 zoomed section elizabeth wahl

In the section above, the woman sitting in the lower right in the dark dress, appears to be Elizabeth Ann Wahl, the daughter of Friedrich and Anna Maria (Blaser) Wahl, wife of Peter D. Arras.  I believe the man holding the dark hat is her son, Samuel Frederick John Arras.

The woman just to the left of Elizabeth looks like Wilhelmina “Mina” Arras, daughter of Johann Philip and Katherine (Heldman) Arras, wife of Christian Essinger.  Beside her may be her sister, Louisa “Lucy” Arras.  Lucy was the wife of George Nessler.

In the enlargement I posted of the books, the boy with his head just to the right of the sign is Willard Balthasar Arras, son of George Henry and Johanna Magdalena (Crates) Arras.  His sister, Elvina (Arras) Rausch Weihrauch, can be seen in the photograph just below, holding her infant son, Clarence Weihrauch (wearing a dark outfit and light newsboy cap):

15th annual Arras family reunion, 1922 section 2

Their mother, Johanna Magdalena (Crates) Arras, my great-great-grandmother, is below, the woman on the upper left:

johanna magdalena arras

This reunion photo is one that I’ve always wished I could share with all the distant cousins I can find.  I’d love to be able to identify every single person in it!  Hopefully, eventually, we’ll be able to do just that.  So, can you help?  Do you recognize anyone?

The Family Photo Album: Henry Arras family, summer 1914

Arras Family Reunion

This photo of the Arras family was probably taken in the late summer of 1914, based on the ages of the youngest family members.  The background is the exterior of Henry Arras’s home outside Jenera, Hancock County, Ohio.

From left to right across the back row: Oliver Martin Arras, Homer Emmanuel Arras, Helen Arras, Carrie Arras, unknown, Clarence Arthur Arras, unknown, Jacob Rausch (husband of Elvina Arras)

Seated at the top of the stairs are Clara Viola (Smith) Arras, the wife of Oliver Martin Arras, with her son Howard in her lap and son Theron in the middle of the two ladies; on the right is Elvina (Arras) Rausch, holding her son, Woodrow Henry Rausch.

Seated across the bottom of the stairs are Willard Balthasar Arras; Johanna Magdalena (Crates) Arras, holding her youngest son, Theodore Henry Arras; two unidentified children; and George Henry Arras.

Maybe one of you readers out there will be able to identify the unknown individuals.  I’m guessing that they must have been rather close family members to have been included in this photo.

Here are closeups of each of our mystery individuals:

mystery kids arras 1914

mystery man arras 1914mystery woman arras 1914

 

Any thoughts?