Michelle Isenhoff

An interesting bit of history

Not my uncle, but close to the same age. Young!!

Last night I was talking to my elderly uncle who shared a bit of family history I had never heard before. In light of the book I just released, Beneath the Slashings, I found it pretty interesting. It seems I have a great, great, great Uncle Peter whose father died when he was 13 years old. As the man of the house, his mother packed him a lunch of johnny cake and sent him out each morning to a nearby lumber camp to earn a wage for the family. At 13! This same uncle fought in the Civil War a decade or so later. I looked him up. He lived from 1839 till 1914 and served in the 28th Michigan infantry.
He had two blind daughters, one of which I remember from when I was very young. She would “look at me” each time we visited the nursing home by feeling my hair and face and tell me how big I was getting. She was in her nineties at the time. I was nine when she died. Somehow I never heard of her father.
What a piece of history! Sometimes I wish I had a working time machine.

An interesting bit of history

8 thoughts on “An interesting bit of history

  1. WOW! That’s SO cool! 🙂 It is cool to learn about your family’s history! I was talking with my Great-Grandfather about some of the times during World War II, the war he served in the other day. I thought that was cool.

    1. That’s cool too, Erik. I had a grandpa that served in WWII also, but he only liked to talk about his lighter or funnier memories. Some of our older folks have seen an awful lot of history.

  2. My great-grandfather doesn’t talk about the fighting either. He just talks about the places he was (Italy and Austria) and the people he was with and met. He sent some paintings home during the war and he was telling me about them. I thought it was cool.

  3. Thank you for sharing this piece of your history. What a surprise for you after doing so much research and writing. I have found it interesting that when people begin to dig into their geneology, they find that they have a connection to it in the present — i.e. family members were all teachers, activitists etc. You wrote about the lumber camps and didn’t have a clue about your three-times greatgrandfather. So cool. I loved hearing about it.
    In my early career I worked for the Ohio Senate as a legislative aid and did PR for the caucus. I sat in the chambers, frequented the governor’s office, walked the halls of the state capital and the underground tunnels not knowing until just a few years ago that my 4x great grandfathere, Duncan McArthur, was governor of Ohio around 1832, a legislator, and U.S. Congressman. As the governor he moved the state house to Columbus and negotiated peace treaties with the Indians.
    Erik, many vets have a difficult time talking about war with the families as it can be too painful. My dad and uncle were in WWII and my grandfather in WWI. They only shared the positive memories. I saw a gathering of WWII vets on the History station talking about their real experiences for the first time ever and they found comfort in being able to talk together. Many had never shared what they saw with family.
    Michelle, posted your Free Books for teacher apple on my FB yesterday. And, just found out Lois Lowry has written a fourth book in “The Giver” series, called “Son.” Due out Oct. 2. Just read a review and they said it is very good and bring resolution to all of the books. Finished the Messenger, it was excellent.

    1. Pat, that is so cool about your history! Funny how that stuff runs in families, isn’t it? Thanks for posting my apple and for letting me know about “Son.” I’ll be looking that one up!

  4. I love these tidbits of family history. I wish I had asked my grandfather more questions. He had so many stories to tell when he was around.

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