4/23/14

Gone But Not Forgotten Tamarisk Tombstone

AtoZ Challenge...Letter T's fiction from forgotten photos

Not My Kin...just folks I find...whose Stones I photograph...whose stories I tell...who sometimes are 'Kin Connected'.
Mary Springen was born in Norway on November 20, 1853 and immigrated to America in 1860 at age 7...according to the 1900 Census from Ward County, Texas.

I will begin her Texas story in September 1897 when Mary and her brother Ole Springen bought property  in Grandfalls, Ward County, Texas on the SW corner, of Ave D and 2nd Street.  Here they erected Grandfalls first Hotel, a two story building with wide porches and railings on both levels.

Ole and Mary were part of what was called the 'Scandinavian Invasion' in Ward County with many immigrant families seeking land and opportunities in what was being touted as the 'Finest Climate In The World' by developers of the Grandfalls Irrigation Company.  Besides the Hotel, Ole Springen ran a Freight Wagon business between Grandfalls and Monahans, and farmed along with his wife Lena.  Mary, it seems was the primary InnKeeper as was noted in the 1900 Census. 
The circumstances of Mary's death on May 11, 1905 are not known. 
Her gravesite and tombstone are the only records of her death with a possible clue
as to the cause of death with the inscription.
No Pain No Grief No Anxious Fear
Can Reach Our Loved One Sleeping Here
Tamarisk Cemetery...Grandfalls, Ward County, Texas
 
Sometime after Mary's death, her brother Ole and his family left Grandfalls and Ward County.  Ole's name appears in the Pecos Valley Irrigationist newspaper dated Thursday, March 27, 1913 as a new subscriber from Boumont, California.

In the 1910 Census Ole and his family of wife Lena and three children reside in San Fernando, Los Angeles, California where Ole owned and operated a Blacksmith Shop.

Ole Springen's application for US Citizenship in 1917 reveals more of his and his sister Mary's family background.  Ole and Mary were born in Flesberg, Norway, emigrated to the US from Windsor, Canada on unknown vessel and arrived in the port of Detroit, Michigan in 1857.  Their family name in Norway was Oleson, and declared as Ole Springen on the Declaration of Intention.  His wife Lena was a natural born citizen of Marshall, Wisconsin.  In 1920 Ole, Lena and family are in San Gorgonio, Riverside, California where Ole is working as a farm laborer.  Ten years later in 1930,  Ole, Lena and son Oscar are living on owned farm and listed as Hay Farmers. 
Ole Oleson Springer died in 1937 at age 83.  His wife Lena died in 1948.
They are buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Beaumont, Riverside County, California.
 
 Mary and Ole are Not My Kin. 
 I photographed Mary's Headstone near the Pittman Family Plot in Tamarisk Cemetery.
We are Not Kin...but...We are Connected.
A Grandfalls cowboy.  Ott's Blacksmith Shop. C. Hale's Meat Market, and Grandfalls Hotel.
Photo from Ward County History 1887-1977 pg.181
 Original Photo found in my Great Grandmother Martha Jane Marley Carroll's Album.
The Cowboy is thought to be Bob Olfield... Martha Jane's second husband.
 
I'm pretty sure Mary and Ole Springen knew not only Bob Olfield, but my Great Grandfather George Washington Pittman and wife Nancy who arrived in Grandfalls about the same time as the Scandinavians Invaded.  Great Grandmother Nancy who died in 1918 is buried not far from Mary Springen. 
It's a small cemetery and a 'Small World Afterall'.

7 comments:

  1. Hi Sue .. how interesting - and yes I'm sure 100 years ago they'd have known each other.

    Fascinating story and that you were able to follow it through, yet put the pieces together ..

    Cheers Hilary

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  2. It's fun imagining your ancestors and neighbors bumping into each other at the blacksmith's or the meat market. You wonder if they were friendly, did they joke around, did they grab lunch over at the hotel and talk about the weather.
    Wendy at Jollett Etc.

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  3. Your photos and research are inspiring. I can imagine the world in these photos, and it's so powerful! Thanks for all of your posts.
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

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  4. Think I will make a run out to Beaumont to see if I can find Ole Oleson Springer grave marker. It's about 30 minutes from here. What an interesting story.

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  5. Fascinating stuff! Love the old photos.

    Thanks for visiting my blog the other day. :)

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption
    Minion, Capt. Alex's Ninja Minion Army
    The 2014 Blogging from A-Z Challenge

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  6. fun story and it is a small world. Talk about hard working people - that batch of immigrants can put us all to shame today.

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  7. Sometimes I go to our local very small cemetery and look at the old gravestones. Lots of deaths from the 1918 flu. I wonder about their lives. Really in the grand scope of things it wasn't that long ago, but things were so different.

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