Saturday, December 8, 2012

Telling Stories about August Schleede, Benjamin Franklin Kirkpatrick, James Otto Lincoln, and Benjamin Franklin Phillips

Telling Stories about August Schleede, Benjamin Franklin Kirkpatrick, James Otto Lincoln, and Benjamin Franklin Phillips
Tonight and tomorrow night are big nights for me.  I am at the Lang Pioneer Village to show Misty Hollow to the world. The part of Misty Hollow that will be on display will be the Wood Carving and lace making – Tatting in particular.  I can hardly wait. The anticipation is growing by the hour.

Over these two days people from our community and surrounding areas come to the small, Historical Village of Lang, situated a few miles east of Peterborough, to officially launch their Family Christmas celebrations.  This is their kick off time as they walk back into the 1856 era to see what people had and did with their celebrations.

Tonight I will begin weaving the story of Christmas celebrations of long ago – in our family. I will tell as much as I can about my boyhood days and then jump way back to my Great Grandfathers’ time and even earlier.  All of my Great Grandfathers were young men when the period of 1856 was taking place.  They were all filled with the zeal that would be needed to start their careers and build a good life for their families that would start showing up over the next 10 to 20 years – when they would marry.

Three of my four Great Grandfather’s were travelers.  The other one was very different in every way but he stayed at the home farm while the others left for new places.

One left Germany and arrived in Southern Texas where he stayed for a few years while his family acclimatized to the very new culture.

The other two left their well-established cultures and family units and traveled a long ways north to a place called Saskatchewan, where they both bought land to become farmers.

The Great Grandfather from Germany stayed in Texas for a number of years where he did odd jobs of all sorts. His family, not speaking English, worked in the cotton fields with the Black folk. Not speaking English well put you into a lower class of people and society.

My German Great Grandfather made another huge decision to travel further west and buy a large Peach Orchard in California.  He poured everything he had into this operation and the Orchard produced literally Tons of Peaches… but every one of the Peaches had to be thrown out… because there was not market for them – at all. You see all the Orchards in the area had bumper crops as well – and also very likely had an established market.  I think of what the property alone was or is worth in today’s California Real Estate Market… wow!

In the early years from 1890 to1900 things were tough to say the least for this hard working man.

This German Great Grandfather of mine had worked in the highest level of Hotel and Restaurant industry of the Hamburg area. He had served as a “Maitre’d” – a powerful, ego packed position in that industry.

One person that you are able to read about was Cesar Ritz (1850 – 1918) that worked alongside Auguste Escoffier (1846-1935) who worked at his trade to be the very best.

They were all part of the ‘Russian Table Service’ style and ways of doing the food service industry.

As I mentioned the name Cesar Ritz – his name became the standard of opulence and even decadence in years to follow… when you went out you “put on the Ritz”.

As I think back now to what my Great Grandfather left to arrive in a world that had promise and opportunity for him… so he was told… to be treated like a low level customer in Texas… then a broken Orchard owner and producer in California… then a very humbled creature living with relatives in Oregon and finally Saskatchewan… working rented land that wasn’t even his own… I feel a deep kind of loss…

From this man’s family came my Grandma Emma Kirkpatrick (Schleede).

In contrast, My Great Grandfather Benjamin Franklin Kirkpatrick was very well off.  When he arrived in Canada he had all the machinery and equipment he could ever need brought on the train with him from Iowa.  His Banker in Iowa told him that if he needed more money for anything at all, just let him know and he could have whatever he needed.

My Grandfather James Otto Lincoln bought land also… but he didn’t do well. He lost what he bought because of personal physical problems that ended in kind of dementia – and his death in a psychiatric hospital in southern Saskatchewan – alone.

The story is actually a super long one that covers a huge amount of time, effort and energy… mixed with failures and then some wonderful victories.

Now these many years later I am so blessed and slightly overweight. Their Great Grandson is retired and living very well. And my kids and grandkids – and likely my Great Grandkids that will come within the next 10 years… will do even better.

Tonight as I weave the story for the kids and adults that come by to speak with me… I will do my best to honour these that came to make a life better for me.

I will talk about August Schleede, Benjamin Franklin Kirkpatrick, James Otto Lincoln, and Benjamin Franklin Phillips(the Wood Carver, Lace Maker and very odd little man with more ideas than he had time – who I very much resemble)

~ Murray Lincoln ~
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