I’ve never really been into geneology.. I’ve always just figured… I don’t know what I’ve figured, but I’ve never been into geneology. πŸ™‚

However, when I was in Argentina I met a German man. I don’t know why meeting this particular German made me so interested to find out about my heritage, but it did. He wasn’t familiar with my mother’s maiden name which is Hartl, but he thought it may be from Southern Germany. The more I thought about it, it made since, because if you put some short pants on my grandfather, one of those pointy hats, he’d look like the guy on the cukoo clock. We have to be Bavarian, it just makes sense!

So my mom had this book that has some interesting information about my family. My great-grandfather, John Hartl was born in Munich, Germany in 1879. He went to Chicago at 14 and apprenticed as a banker, a few years later, he lied and joined the army, where he was able to naturalize to become a US Citizen. (BTW..there went my hope to get a EU passport through Germany…) After leaving the army he moved to Bear Mountain, a place near Chelan, Washington. He saw a picture of his friends sister, she was still in Germany. Her name was Anna Hollenbeck and he started corresponding with her. After awhile it was decided that Anna and a girl who lived very close to her in Germany should move to Bear Mountain to both marry the young men that were courting them through the mail.

Anna (my great-grandmother) and her friend set on a two day train journey from Munich. They boarded a steam ship to cross the Atlantic, then took the train from New York to Wentachee, WA. They then boarded a paddle boat to go about 40 miles up the Columbia River to Winesap, which is memory serves me correctly is just a bit north of Lake Chelan, across the butte. Then of course they traveled from there which would be about twenty miles in a buggy/carriage to Bear Mountain.

I’ve always been fond of my mother’s side of the family, when I was young I wanted to change my last name to Hartl. I always thought they were so sweet. Apparently the kindness came from my great-grandfather, his neighbor said “He never felt he had to file for the water rights to the creek that ran through his property as long as John Hartl was his neighbor.”

In the begining he made money by logging on the mountain, then he started an apple orchard and a small farm. He became the postmaster of Bear Mountain and often carried other supplies for the residents of bear mountain, so they wouldn’t have to go to town as often.

Like I said he played the accordian, without ever taking lessons and he would play and dance all night. Those crazy Hartl’s square danced the night away, (I secretly love square dancing, though I’ve never really done it, I always like the words dosey-doe.) He was also a good baker and had a reputation up and down the Columbia River for his bread.

All together John and Anna had 12 children, I don’t know where my grandpa fit into the family, number wise, but he was one of the older kids. Interstingly enough, I have a family photo of them and some of them look exactly the same as I remember knowing them, when I was a small child and they were adults. It’s almost freaky how similar my Uncle Carl looked, poor kid. πŸ™‚

Eventually, because of a number of environmental factors the Hartl family lost the homestead, but John worked hard and was able to buy the homestead back ten years later. He died in 1945 and was sorely missed. I am so proud to come from such a great family and to know their story. I’ve always felt my great aunts and uncles were all always kind and generous and had a certain “twinkle” of fun in their eye and now I know it’s because they had an amazing father. I’m glad that they “twinkle” has been passed down the generations and if I have kids, they’ll get it too.

Thank you Hartl family!!!

Advertisements