We’ve now met the great-grands. Let’s take one more step back in time and say hello to their parents, my 16 second great grandparents. (Click here for a peek at the family tree.)
We will now be firmly rooted in the 19th century. The second greats were born between 1822 and 1863. Save one, all were born before the first shot was fired in the Civil War. Half were born abroad, four in Germany and four in England. Two never set foot in the United States. The other eight were born to pioneer families in America. Four of those were born in Illinois, which had been granted statehood in 1818. Two were born in Virginia, one in North Carolina, and one in Pennsylvania. Only two of the sixteen were still living when my parents were born in 1937; before the end of WWII, all were gone.
In this generation, paths begin to fade. In several family lines we reach a point where there is seemingly nothing more to be known or found. But, wait. There it is, a soft melody coming from deep within The Singing Oak, a melody that stirs forgotten memories of those who came before…
We will begin long ago and far away, in a small village in Northern Germany. The song is of our second great grandfather John Charles Henry Herpst, the first-born of this generation.
Lean in. Are you listening?