I was going through family pictures this week in preparation for another scanning project, when I started running across old Christmas photos. So I thought I would post a few for fun. (They will also be on my flickr site eventually.)
This will be my last post for this year. So enjoy another short letter. Everyone have an excellent holiday and New Year celebration.
See you next year!
November 26, 1947
Dear Dad & Mom & Herm & Ruth:
A brief letter to let you know I will be on my way to the Antilles. That is a group of islands reaching from Venezuaela to Miami Fla. I dont know what base as yet, but it wont be Panama, for Im leaving here. I think it may be Waller Field in Trinidad or Bounquen Field in Puerto Rico. As soon as I arrive Ill write a letter. Ill have more time & can tell you about Panama & everything then.
This will be a short letter for I am packing for New Orleans. We leave by train tomorrow to the New Orleans Port of Embarkation. We ship out on 21 Nov. by boat. The next time that I write Ill be in New Orleans. It has been pleasant here at F. Kilmer but Im ready to move on & get settled down. I found out that air force personnel are allowed the maximum of 2 1/2 years foreign duty now, so that places us back in June 1950.
Ill write you all the news when it happens. Until then remember candys dandy, but liquors quicker!!
After reading the title of this post I can hear my relatives asking, “Colonel Who?” A perfectly legitimate question too. But, in order to answer it I will need to go back a few years to give you a frame of reference.
The story starts with Laura, the youngest daughter of FW John and Johanna Deadrich, my great great grandparents. The second youngest of 6 children to survive to adulthood, she was born August 27, 1866 in Gillett, Oconto County, Wisconsin. (Laura was six years older than the youngest child, my great-grandfather, Victor.)
When Laura John was 19 years old she married her first husband, Charles Edward Pahl. A marriage which lasted for 10 years. Here are some notes from the divorce case:
“…That shortly after the said marriage the plaintiff [sic: defendant Charles] commenced a system of cruel and inhuman treatment towards the plaintiff by calling the plaintiff base, vile and abusive names, by threatening to strike, shoot and kill the plaintiff ….. conduct of the defendant became so cruel and inhuman towards the plaintiff and the said child [Victor] that the plaintiff was forced to and did leave …. That during the time the plaintiff and defendant lived together the defendant was ever jealous of every body who spoke to the plaintiff even of the plaintiff’s brothers …would abuse the plaintiff by the use of vile epithets…talking about shooting and killing the plaintiff.
…the defendant had a mania for whipping and punishing the said Victor Pahl … when the plaintiff remonstrated and attempted to prevent the defendant from so whipping and punishing said child the defendant would grossly and outrageously abuse the plaintiff by use of abusive words…
That the defendant frequently took up a stick or wood and threatened to strike and beat the plaintiff. That about six weeks before the plaintiff left the defendant…because she protested against the punishment of the said Victor Pahl by the defendant, the defendant violently assaulted the plaintiff and pinched and bruised her arm with such force as to take the skin off of her arm.
That shortly before the plaintiff left the defendant as aforesaid he told the plaintiff that if his style did not suit her she might leave and the sooner she left the better, that in consequence of said abuse and the great fear the plaintiff had of the defendant she left him as aforesaid.” 1
Laura had three children with Charles: Louis, who died at about a year old, Harold and Victor Pahl. She retained custody of Victor in the divorce proceedings. (It appears that their son Harold might have also died by the time of the divorce as he is not mentioned in the records).
Laura married again in 1899 to Edward Naylor.
Married Last Saturday morning, at Gillett, Oconto County, this state, Dr. E. S. Naylor to Miss Laura Johns, Justice Riordan officiating. The bride is one of the most popular young ladies of Gillett, and a sister of our obliging station agent at this place, and the groom is well know veterinary surgeon formerly of Ripon, but now in the employ of the Rusch Lumber Company here. They arrived here on the evening train Monday and were duly serenaded by the village band, after which a social ball was given in their honor at the Exchange Hotel, where they are at present staying. The Advertiser joins their many friends in wishing them a happy and prosperous journey through life. 2
This marriage didn’t last long either, and there were no living children of this marriage when divorce was granted in 1904. Laura supported herself by working as a cook in lumber camps, and boarding houses. Skills she most likely learned from her mother, who was acclaimed as a great cook by locals and visitors alike.
Victor was born in 1891. It is possibly because Laura was working in lumber camps, a place that would be dangerous for a young child, that he is found in the 1900 census living with his grandparents, FW and Johanna John. He appears to have had a complicated, rough and confusing childhood, because we find him a few years later at the State School for Boys, in Waukesha, at the age of 14. I don’t know what his incarceration was for, or for how long he was a guest of the facility.
In 1916 when war started in Europe, Victor was working in Ontario as an ironworker. It appears that he was so eager to join in the fight, that he didn’t want to wait for the United States to get involved.
Oconto Boy in the War Victor Pahl, son of Charles Pahl of Oconto, has enlisted in a Canadian company and will participate in the European war on the side of the allies. Victor was born and brought up in Oconto. 3
He was in the Canadian Navy. When the United States finally join in the cause, he signed up for the draft there.
Victor died in 1951 in Florida. Leaving three children from his first wife: Irving, Martha and Laura. From the little that I have found, I am quite sure that there is much more that could be written about Victor, but this post is really about Irving, my Dad’s second cousin.
Here is a picture of Victor from a Brazilian Passport4 from 1943. He would be about 52:
Like his father, Irving C. Pahl was born in Wisconsin. His mother however, was a Romanian immigrant.
Irving’s father moved the family around a lot, probably because of his job (I believe he was a sailor, or worked around boats), so the family wasn’t actually in Wisconsin very long before they left on the first of many moves. It was in Connecticut that the family settled for a short while, and Irving started his formal education.
But he can tell you all about that in his interview.
One of the great things about the internet is how it makes it so much easier to find gems, that you wouldn’t otherwise know about. In researching Irving online, I ran across an interview with him, recorded by the Winthrop University, for their oral history program. The main focus of his interview is the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviets, because he and his family were there when the hammer came down.
Finding the interview, seeing his involvement in Czechoslovakia, and his rank when he retired from the Army, I thought that he might have been an interesting cousin to know about, so I did a little more digging. What follows are newspaper clippings that I found regarding Irving’s life in the military. And I was right, it was pretty interesting.
This first newspaper article is from 1953 and gives a good overview of his accomplishments and involvement in the service from 1939 up to that time. The rest of the articles are chronologically organized.
Those are the highlights of what appears to be quite an interesting life for himself, and his family. And when Irving retired in Columbia, South Carolina he didn’t actually ‘retire’. He was still very much involved with the community, volunteering and writing letters to the editor.
Irving passed way in 1996, leaving a son and a daughter to carry on his legacy.
The interview which I mentioned above can be downloaded from the University’s website, and listened to at your leisure, it is about 50 minutes long. I have also transcribed the interview as best I can. The transcript (a link to it is below in .pdf format) is the best I could get from listening to it on my iPhone. Some bits were too garbled for me to hear clearly, and I indicate such, on occasion he is speaking Czech (or German), or using Czech names and places, and I can’t quite tell what he is saying. A few times several people were talking at once, (I believe his wife was present at the time, interjecting a comment on occasion, which I couldn’t quite hear).
As each new generation is born, it is only natural that family starts drifting farther apart. So I am glad when I can find and share these stories of cousins we never knew. I hope you enjoy them too.
Sources: 1. Divorce of Laura Pahl (plaintiff) from Charles E. Pahl (defendant) December 24, 1895 (filed January 8, 1896) Oconto County, Wisconsin, Circuit Court Case #4044, Area Research Center, UW Green Bay, Green Bay, Wisconsin. June 23, 2005.
2. Northern Wisconsin Advertiser, Wabeno, WI (Madison WHS micro PH 73-1888) January 26, 1899 c5 (weekly Thursday paper). 3. The Union Farmer Herald, Vol. 5, Issue 42, March 24, 1916, page 1, col. 1.
4. Rio de Janeiro Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965, FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2013. Index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records. Image 145-146 of 201 (pulled from Ancestry.com).
Ill give you what information that I have, and it may be incorrect.
I should leave here within a week, go to new orleans & ten by boat to Panama. Where to then is anyones guess. it will be somewhere in the carribean my address to write to is:
c/o Postmaster, New Orleans, LA
I went in to New York yesterday. What a time! I really didnt care too much
for it. Its all right, but not what its cracked up to be.
There are too damned many people living in each others backyard in this part of the country.
Ill write you a letter when I leave here. No news so Ill close.
In my recent search of newspapers regarding the Brooks family of Cherry Valley, I found an article about David’s son Andrew*, (the only son to follow in his father’s tinsmithing footsteps). He had apparently won a patent on a new kind of fastener for milk can tops.
Otsego Farmer, June 10, 1910, page 1.
It took a while but I finally found the patent using the Google Patent search engine. Trying to search the patent office for records before 1975 is very difficult if you don’t know exact dates, patent numbers, etc. The Google Patent search worked great.
So below is the sketch of what the device looked like, along with detailed instructions on how it was suppose to work.
It is very likely that Andrew’s tin-smithing skills, and his experience working at the local dairy influenced this innovative design. There is no information on how successful this fastener was, so I don’t know if he got rich off of it.
This is the second relative of mine to have a patent. Dillon Hatch (husband of Almyra Brooks), together with two other men, applied for, and received, a patent on a door design in 1891 (which I wrote about in an earlier post).
Andrew and his wife Elizabeth had one child, a daughter Mary L. Brooks, who appears to have died in her early 20s, leaving no heirs. Which means there were no descendants around to brag about Andrew’s clever invention. Maybe this post will make up for that loss.
*Andrew is my mother’s 1st cousin 3 times removed.
I am happy to hear that you all had asuch a good time in Canada, and that the fishing was so good.
I had planned on going up next year, but now I guess it is all off. I received instructions today to be prepared to move to the Carribean area very soon. I will leave Nov 1. for Camp Kilmer and go on from there to either the Panama Canal Zone or Puerto Rico, (I think).
Lois & the kids will stay here until I get the house all ready, wherever that is. She will probably come down about Christmas time. Everyone says that I am lucky to get foreign service so close to the U.S. and it is supposed to be nicest place to live in the Air Force.
I think that It would be a good idea for you folks to drop out before I go. If you can make it next week end (the 25th) it would be fine. Anytime between now and the 1st of Nov.
I wont be able to make it home. If H.O. & Ruth can come we can make room for them also.
Dad. we owe you $1700.00 and I am enclosing a check for $1600.00 Perhaps we can send the $100.00 next month. Thanks so much for letting us use the money. It helped out very much.
Dont worry about the kids as the climate and surroundings are very nice in the Carribean. It isnt like going to Japan or Germany.
Well Ill close and I hope you can get out to see us.
I think perhaps if you can arrange it; it would be better to come the week-end of the 25-26th. I’ll probably still come home for over Thanksgiving–