Saturday, May 23, 2020

Ancestor Artifacts - Ktratzer Carriage Co

Ancestor Artifacts
Ktratzer Carriage Co
Last week we saw how my maternal grandfather, Paul Kinnick, in 1912 was apparently working for the Kratzer Carriage Co in Des Moines, Iowa.

The badge from a horse buggy they built:

Thanks to our friends at the Lost Des Moines Facebook Group, we have learned a bit more about this fine company. Early on they were a horse buggy manufacturer and then moved into industrial body builders of trucks, the change occurring around the time we are discussing.

Steve Halterman shared the following three images that were most striking to me.
An ad with six vehicles… A Laundry Truck ... A Florist Truck

James Jacobsen and Arnold D Brown Jr shared information on the location of the factory from Vine to Market along SW 1st Street West (Water Street today - where the Hampton Inn  & Suites Downtown and Residence Inn by Marriott are in 2020).

It is fun to find out this kind of information. Thanks to the many readers who have shown interest.

Your comments are welcomed, of course!

Families are Forever! ;-)

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Ancestor Artifacts - Oct 1912 Letter

Ancestor Artifacts
Oct 1912 Letter

This envelope has a 2 cent stamp. Neat. Return address is 944 W. 14th Des Moines - which is no longer there because of freeway construction. Looking up Kratzer Carriage on Google, they were on 3rd, so only a few blocks away. They made Horse Buggies and then Truck Carriages on Ford Chassis's … I’ll do a follow-up post on this company, with more details recently obtained.

Four sheets, both sides…

Des Moines, Iowa
Oct. 29, 1912

Dearest Mother:-
Rec’d your letter & card since I wrote. We went out to the woods Sunday & so I didn’t get to write. How are you all? We are all fine down here. Work is going OK with all of us. How is the work up there? How was the corn that Dutch husked? It ought to be nice husking this year as the corn stands nice & straight. I am glad you got Gertrude’s coat OK. How does it fit her? Don’t you think it will wear pretty well? I tho’t it was a (sic) of good quality & color. How is their school going? How does the Little Red Riding Hood like it?
So Granville came back, did he? Did he surprise them by his coming? He will be up there Thanksgiving, won’t he? If I thought he wouldn’t be up there then I would come up Sat. evening & see him. Let me know at once if he won’t be up there & I will come Sat. How is Leo getting along with his work? How are Grandpa xxx. How does Aunt J. arrange it for Granville & Daisy? Does he go up to see Daisy this time? What is his mission up here this time? Is papa all right? I dreamed the other night that he died & sort of come back to life again. It sort of worried me the next morning.
[ Interesting. Lon was obviously having some issues in 1912… ]
How is Wilson’t throat? His married life must not agree with him. How is their new house coming? Lucile will be so proud when she gets in it that she won’t look at us. Sunday we went out to the xxxx of the girl Mitch goes with and on the car we ran across a cousin of Dorothy’s that she hadn’t seen for about 12 or 14 year. My, but she was tickled. She won’t hardly look at me now. He is a nurse at the Methodist hospital here.
[Really curious who this might be. Something to work on… ]
We sure had a fine time Sun. Three couples of us took our supper to the woods. We built a big fire & sat on a log & ate our lunch. It sure was fun. We had a gallon of warm milk right from the cow. Gee, but that tasted good to me. We had sandwiches, pie & cake & pickles. D. & I both had to take dyspepsia tablets that night.
[Pickles and warm milk would upset my stomach too… ]
Fred worked on his chicken house all day Sun. & then in the evening he & Dell & I went to a show. The three couples of us went to a show Sat. night. D.& I and Mitch & his girl (Gertrude Hague) and my room-mate of last winter & his girl comprise the 3 couples.

Where are you folks going on Thanksgiving day? Can’t we be at home alone that day. It seems like we didn’t get to visit any the last time we were home. I didn’t get to get out & see anything at all.
What is papa doing now? When are they going to start husking in earnest? How is the hog cholera around there? Are our pigs all all right yet? Are you going to have any apples this year? Did you get any nuts this fall? How are Hortons? Who is helping her now? Mitch gave us the last Advocate so we saw the Highland items. We didn’t know Horton’s girl.

The buggy is all fixed up now & was primed today. It had to have 6 new half rims & had the tires reset. And had a new brace put in between the reaches. They sure fixed it up fine for me. Don’t know how much it will cost yet but I expect about $20 or $25. I am saving up for it now so I won’t send you very much for a while. I want to have the buggy up home by the 28th if possible. I am having the gear and wheels painted bright red as Dutch said he wanted it that color. It will be as good as new when he gets it again. He doesn’t want to let the chickens roost on it anymore! It was in lots worse shape than I thought it was. He & Lena can go around the loop some when they get it back.
How are they stacking up now? How is Dine? I suppose papa will soon begin to feel like an old man. Saturday will be one year older won’t he? [42!]
The fellows at the factory are going to have a Hallowe’en party Thurs. night. D. & I are going if nothing happens. We are invited to several different parties on that night but I guess we will go to this one. I will get the new Asst Supt acquainted. Mr. Bord & I are working awful hard now. We are pricing & extending the inventory. There sure is a pile of figuring to it. May have to work some at nights before we get through.
Well mum I will close. Give my love to all the kids. Take good care of papa. Love to all. Write soon.
Your Son xxx Paul
Tell Gertrude I think those cards are awful nice that she sent me. Have her send some more. Love to all, Paul

Families are Forever! ;-)

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Ancestor Artifacts - Sept 1912 Letters

Ancestor Artifacts - Sept 1912 Letters
 Today we have an exciting envelope, with stamp, three full sheets both sides from Paul, and a bonus, a letter from Dorothy to the family. [I’ll have to write more about Dorothy Sorensen later, but it is obvious from these letters that Paul and Dorothy were much more involved, in Coon Rapids, from an earlier date than I had imagined. She had been living in Stuart  - about half way between Coon Rapids and Des Moines.]

The envelope is an amazing artifact in itself, of course. Notice the two one-cent stamps. Notice that the address is simply to his mother, the postal route, and the community in which she  lived. It appears that he was working at the Carriage Co of the return address. Note also, no further address on the Carriage Co. Apparently everyone simply knew who they were, and where they were located. Des Moines postmark on the front, Coon Rapids postmark on the back. Fascinating.

On with the letter:

Des Moines, Iowa
Sept. 15, 1912
Dearest Mother & All:
Rec’d your fine letter(nit).
How are you all? We are all fine down here. D. & Ida & I went to church this morning. D. & I went to the M.E. church & Ida went to the Christian. This P.M. Dell & Fred & Ida went out to Valley Junction to see Edith. D. & I staid & took care of the kids. We had lots of fun. Charlie got his finger cut and we had to put a rag on it. Had some real family cares. They came back about 5:30 when we had some tea. Then lots of music. Then Olive got after me with some water but she couldn’t get it on me & she got sore. She is sore yet. We have some times here. Dorothy likes her work fine now. She makes as much as she did at Horton’s and she has every evening and Sunday. Goes to work at 7:30 & quits at 5:30. She & Ida each their lunches in the Ladies rest room in the court house. Have a fine place.
[My first assumption was the Ida was Dorothy’s sister-in-law, and that Dell is her sister. Reserving judgment, as the other names don’t match with family.]
[We learn later that the Horton’s were a family in Coon Rapids where Dorothy had been working before coming to Des Moines. Therefore, she had spent time in Coon Rapids and knew Paul’s family well, especially ten-year-old Gertrude, it seemed.]
How is the work going up there? Have you got everything ready for the “fatal wedding.” Just think, this is Lucile’s last Sunday single. It doesn’t seem possible does it?
[Sister Lucile would marry Wilson Herron on 18 Sep 1912]
I don’t believe I will ever get married. It doesn’t seem like such a joke when you come right down to it. I hope & pray that they may be happy & get along nicely. I hope this is the last time that either of them will have to get married. Did they have a nice shower? Did they get many things?
(Has Robert’s suit come yet? He had ought to have come down here & got a $15.00 tailor-made suit. I was going to get a new suit but D. likes this old brown one so well that she wouldn’t let me.
[Dorothy seems to already play a pretty big role in his life. Most interesting. I assume that Ida is Dorthy’s sister-in-law. I had not realized Dorothy was living and working in Des Moines at the same time that Paul was. More to come on this, I’m sure.]
Met Aura Morse on the street Fri. night. Had a long talk with him. He was going home for a day or two now.
My work is going fine but for so many advertising letters. I get awfully tired of them. I wrote 25 letters in shorthand one afternoon. I like the selling & shorthand part of my work. Had another big fire here. Just 2 blocks from the factory. It was Mennig-Slater’s pickle factory. I saw nearly all of it. Was early in the morning & I was just going to work. D. saw it too from her factory. When is Papa going to send our buggy down? The boys have made me a special pair of shafts. They (just the sticks) were bent quite a bit during the State Fair but no one could break them.
[Interesting to reference that both he and Dorothy work in factories!]
I got a card from Fest this week & he has been married for three months. What do you think of that? He is also sending me a crate of peaches. I expect they will be nice. He said Lucile was wise & I wasn’t. I am not so sure of that though.
How does Leo like his work in the bank? I wish I could be lucky and get a good job near home. Got a dandy letter from Rex too. How is Aunt Josephine? I suppose she is as busy as you are.
[I believe Leo is Leo Williams, a first cousin about same age, year older, as Paul.]
We will be home Wednesday sometime but I don’t know when yet. I don’t know yet how I can arrange about paying yet. I got the napkins. Could only get plain white ones. Got 100 for 20 cents. We will get the flowers the day we start.
How is Lillian’s school? How is Gertrude? She is getting to be quite a letter writer only she doesn’t want to write so much slang in it. Where did she get onto saying “Crout?”
Well mum I must go to bed. It is now 10:30. Will see you soon. Love to all.
Your un-exposed son, Paul.
(The old woman is writing too.)
[It is nearly two years until Paul and Dorothy marry, but they seem like a very close couple already!!]

Here is her letter, front and back of one sheet:

Sun eve
Dear Friends.
Just got through writing Louise a letter & thought I would write you a line. Don’t suppose you’ll have time to read it. Wish we were down there helping you. Hope everything goes nice & don’t work to awful hard. I suppose you have lot of help. May & Ollie & John & sister. And your little helping girl is going to school. How do you ever get along without her. That Gertrude have to get in the collar as Chris used to say. Thursday you & I’ll will have a good old visit won’t we Gertrude. Have you been up to Horton’s lately. I guess Aura didn’t stay after all. Paul saw him down here yesterday. Well Gertrude I don’t know any more news will tell you the rest when I see you. Yours, Dorothy.

[Louise is younger sister of Dorothy and Chris is an older brother.]

Not unexpectedly, these letters raise more questions as they provide insights into the early days of my maternal grandparents’ relationship. What fun! More research to do.

Added 27 May 2020, from Enterprise:
100 Years Ago
May 14, 1920

Only two more weeks until
school closes. The graduates are a
happy bunch. There are seven—E.
Cletus Grimm, Martha E. Yager,
Reva E. Hilgenberg, Minna M.
Muller, Lyle D. Anderon, John Parker,
Mary Gertrude Kinnick—five
girls and two boys.

Family is Forever! ;-)

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Ancestor Artifacts - 1909 Commencement Program

Ancestor Artifact
1909 Commencement Program
 After sharing Paul Kinnick’s 1912 Personal Notebook and followup 21 conduct issues letter, this post will step back three years, momentarily, to his high school commencement program, share his family information for this period, and set up the following couple of posts which will be letters he wrote his mother from college.

There were nine students in his 1909 graduating class at Coon Rapids, Iowa, High School, four females and five males. The only other graduate that I recognize is Bonnie McLaughlin. Interesting. None of the Smith persons listed in the program are relatives - for those of you sure to ask.

Paul would have been 16 years-of-age at graduation, 17 in the summer of 1909 - an August birthday. He would become 20 in the summer of 1912, as he went off to Des Moines to work in the fall.

He was the oldest of the five children in the family of Alonzo (Lon) and Nettie (Williams) Kinnick. in 1912 they were 42 and and 43, respectively. They married on July 6, 1891, when they were 21 and 22. Paul was born in August 1892. Lucille followed in March of 1894, so she was 18 in 1912. Robert, Paul’s only brother, was born in March of 1896, so he was 16 in 1912. Gertrude was third, born in October of 1902. Therefore she was a ten-year-old in 1912. Finally, Lillian was born in May of 1908, so she was just 4 in 1912. As Paul went off to college in Des Moines in 1912, there was still a full household at home in Coon Rapids:
Lon - 42
Nettie - 43
Paul - 20
Lucille - 18 - actually she would marry Wilson Herron in Sep 1912…
Robert - 16
Gertrude - 10
Lillian - 4

I share this here as a reference point as we move on to those two letters written to his mother in September and October in my next two postings - so I won’t repeat this context there.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Ancestor Artifacts - 21 Points

Ancestor Artifacts
21 Points

In my last post, I shared the notebook in which my maternal grandfather, Paul H. Kinnick (1892-1968), had noted 11 “self-behavior” issues… and no more. Among the artifacts I have gleaned from my mother’s estate (Eileen (1918-1999)) is an envelope containing two pages, both sides, of additional thoughts Paul put down on paper while he was in College in Des Moines in 1912.

I do not know to whom (perhaps me, perhaps not) Eileen addressed the note on the envelope I now have with his two sheets of notes. The note appears to have been written in 1978. It reads: “This was written by your great grandfather Paul Harold Kinnick when he was in college in Des Moines. I’m just loaning it to you. I tried to make a copy but couldn’t. If you like I’ll make a hand written copy for you - so many think our writing is similar. P.H.K. was born in 1892. He would have been 85 now.” On the reverse side of the envelope she also wrote: “Please handle with care! The paper is old - (inside)”

Around 1977-78 was about the time I first showed interest in family history. I suspect the note was to me. She, like many of her generation and the one before, was very reluctant to share information. Over time, she did share more than she initially expected to, of course. Excuse the editorial comment.

Following is the content of Paul’s writing, that appeared on these two sheets, rather than in that notebook where he wrote his initial list of issues:

1. Watch your health. The sickly person is at a tremendous disadvantage. There is no prodigal on earth so foolish as one who is a spendthrift of health.
2. Eat as little as is necessary. Leave every meal while you are unsated. Eat slowly. Chew your food.
3. Let all alcoholic liquors alone. If you have youth you don’t need whisky. If you feel the need of it, all the more reason you ought to let it alone.
[Note: This one really got passed down to me. Never touched a drop.]
4. Don’t use tobacco. It may not be wicked, but the point is, that it can do you no good and may do you harm.
[Note: Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to stick with this one. He smoked cigarettes his entire adult life, and died of emphysema as a result.]
5. Take care of your teeth.
6. Exercise. Don’t overexercise.
7. Be dependable. Be punctual. Be loyal. Create a reputation of being one that does not have to be watched or guarded.
[Note: He excelled at this one. He served as Secretary, Treasurer or Clerk to School Board, City, many Sales through his adult life. Elected and re-elected to many civic responsibilities.]
8. Be polite. Always, everywhere.
9. Be clean; keep your clothes clean, your body clean, your mind clean, your mouth clean. This is an antiseptic age.
[Recall: This was 1912!]
10. Be honest. Don’t lie yourself and get out of any business that involves crookedness.
11. Associate with persons who know more than you & who are better than you: keep away as much as possible from low people, at least observe this rule in forming your intimates.
[Note: Rarely noted, but excellent advise!]
12. Know your weaknesses & guard against them.
13. Whatever you do, do it at the top of your capacity. The best way to a better job is to do the one you have well.
14. Speak well of the absent. You never can tell when your contemporaneous word will get around the man you spoke of.
[Note: Again, an interesting one to put down on this list. Certainly good advise!]
15. Watch your spare time. Get into the habit of learning some useful thing during leisure hours.
16. Face the sex question, find out the truth about it, & keep it settled. It has ruined more lives than any other one thing.
[Note: Really! Tell me more… he didn’t]
17. Don’t be afraid. Let no one intimidate you or alarm you.
[Note: Wow! Didn’t expect that one…]
18. Keep your money matters straight. Save a part of every bit you earn. Don’t borrow, Don’t lend. Don’t go into debt for personal needs. Don’t spend what you do not have. Keep money in your pocket.
[Note: He did survive the Great Depression, later in life. Apparently had pretty well stuck to his principles here. He was always considered a 'penny-pincher' in the family, but it worked for him.]
19. Keep cheerful. Don’t worry. Don’t pity yourself. Be a good loser.
[Note: I like this one!]
20. Don’t let failure upset you. Any fool can get along when successful. The real man is the one who knows what to do when he fails.
[Note: He passed this one on well, thank you!]
21. Finally, reverence for yourself. This is the very essence of any religion. Don’t hold yourself cheap of no account.

That took up three of the four sides of the sheets. The fourth was filled with other notes. Let’s see what those were:

Some Good Thoughts, (and other things)
The little sharp vexations, and the briars that catch & fret.
Why not take all to the Helper.
Who has never failed us yet?

Tell Him about the heartache.
And tell Him the longings too.
Tell Him the baffled purpose.
When we scarce know what to do.

Then, leaving all our weaknesses
With the One divinely strong,
Forget that we bore the burden,
And carry away the song.
                     Phillips Brooks (underlined)

Failure to think is the greatest cause of failure today.
[Followed by some initials, appears to be J.P.K.]

Then, clipped out of some newsprint and pasted here:
Paul is Latin, Harold, the Champion

Also, at the end, four names and addresses:
H.B. School, 417 Chestnut
B.C. Morgan, 810 Des Moines
M.M. Garnes, 1812 Grand Ave.
L.W. Williams, Columbus Nebr Rt# 2

[Note: I believe the last is a first cousin. I do not recognize the other three]

More to follow. Comments welcomed.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Ancestor Artifacts - A Personal Notebook

Ancestor Artifacts
A Personal Notebook

Like many of you, I have been the recipient of artifacts passed down from generation to generation. Some we share and act on immediately, to assure that others of our family are aware of their existence, and to share the stories we know accompany the artifact, so the stories are not lost to time.

However, the majority of artifacts are stored away in a box somewhere…often never to be seen or heard of again. Sometimes this is because of the personal nature of the artifact, perhaps because nothing is really known about it, or, perhaps most often, common neglect. This, I hope, is the first of a series of blog posts to overcome this, in some small way, as I approach birthday 81 in a few weeks.

The photo image above is of a personal notebook of my maternal grandfather which dates to about 1912, a little over a hundred years ago. You can see that his name was Paul H. (for Harold) Kinnick (1892-1968). It would have been purchased as he was preparing to leave his father’s farm, as a young man, to go to CCCC (Capital City Commercial College), in Des Moines, Iowa, from western Iowa… a distance of about 75 miles. His education there would provide the knowledge he needed to serve as a small town bank cashier for the majority of his adult life.

The notebook was obviously cherished and carried/handled over a long period of time. The curious part is that the only entries made in this notebook were on the first page. These notations are a list of eleven items I will characterize as “self-behavior” reminders. They remind me a bit of the list I have read about that George Washington made for himself from his readings for his own guidance… not quite as formal, of course.

Here is the list:
Get started right
Play safe
Eat slowly
Be neat
Straighten up
Keep your feet off the chairs
Help Mother & Dad
Be polite
Drink lots of water
Be happy
Keep off the grass

While there are twenty some sheets in the rest of the notebook, he made no further entries in it. Fascinating. We can speculate on why there were no more entries. And yet, he preserved this notebook. Did he continue to look at it in later life, to continue to guide his behavior? Was it simply a token of a simpler time? What do you think?

Can you imagine his mother, and his father, reminding him of these behaviors, as he ‘went out into the world’? Did he think of some of them, himself?

I will be doing some additional research into his activities during this period of time.
Note: Within a couple of hours of first writing this on Monday, I came across some letters Paul wrote to his mother, from college, dated fall of 1912. I'll share these in subsequent postings here...

Your comments are welcomed.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Sunday Obituary - James Allen Smith

Sunday Obituary
James Allen Smith

My next younger brother passed away yesterday. Rest in Peace, my Brother.


James (Jim) Allen Smith, age 76, passed away at the Accura Health Care of Ogden nursing home following a stroke on Saturday, May 9, 2020.

Born on April 20, 1944, in Carroll, Iowa, Jim was the son of Leverne (Pete) and Eileen (Kinnick) Smith of rural Coon Rapids. He grew up on the Smith farm northeast of Coon Rapids and graduated from Coon Rapids High School in 1962. He attended Simpson College but returned to Coon Rapids to farm with his father through the 1970s. Jim worked for Kelly Tractor Company in Florida for many years, but returned to Iowa in 2001.
Jim enjoyed driving through the countryside in his pickup truck, checking the height of the corn, and watching the cattle graze. He loved the rural farm country where he lived. He is remembered for his hearty laugh and big smile…often accompanied by a big bear hug.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his four brothers and their families: Bill Smith (Nancy) of Hollister, MO; TK Smith of Indianapolis, IN; Barry Smith of Norman, OK; and Paul Smith of Silver Spicer, MN.


A Photo Album Memorial Tribute, with many fine comments, can be seen on Facebook at:

Families are Forever! ;-)