Recollections of Mrs. P W (Minnie) Max

Wilhelmina ‘Minnie’ Troeger Max was the youngest daughter of Wilhelmina Sauer and John Adam Troeger.

The Troeger Family

My grandfather and grandmother Troeger made plans to bring their family from Germany to the United States. My grandfather didn’t want his sons to train for war. All young German men had to go into training. They sold all their possessions; then my grandmother died; she had a heart attack. The departure for the new land was delayed until after the funeral. Even though the neighbors and other relatives tried to convince my grandfather he shouldn’t leave Germany then, he and his children started on the trip with the few possessions they had gathered together before my grandmother’s death. My father was four years old. When they arrived in Hamburg, the youngest child who was two years old contracted measles. Since the family had paid for their passage and since the sick infant was not allowed on board ship, grandfather made arrangements for the oldest son and daughter to remain behind with the sick infant. In the meantime the child died and the brother and sister saw to the burial there. They found passage on the next boat. After they arrived in New York, They made their way to Buffalo where they had friends who had come from Germany, too.

Grandfather Troeger with those children who had first set out remained in Buffalo until the son and daughter arrived. Then he came to Ohio to look for a place to bring his family. One of the oldest daughters stayed in Buffalo and married a baker. It is from this bakery that we got the recipe for the Christmas Pffefferkuchen. The bakery was kept in the family until the unions came upon the scene and my uncle sold the bakery because he would not join the union.


The Sauer Family

My grandfather Sauer came from Germany to Cleveland and worked as a harness maker for the street car company. Street cars were then drawn by horses. Later my grandmother with her parents, the Hofrichters, came to America. They, too came to Cleveland because they had known grandfather Sauer in Germany. My grandfather and grandmother were married in Cleveland. The Hofrichters came to pleasant township in Henry County where everything was woods. My grandfather would have preferred staying in Cleveland but my grandmother insisted in going where her parents were. They worked so hard to clear the land of the big timbers. One time when they cleared an acre and had a beautiful crop of wheat about to be harvested, a government inspector came and told them the grain must not be used for flour, etc., because it had not received enough sunlight. It could be fed to the livestock. In the summer time grandfather Sauer worked on the canal. In the winter, he and other settlers cleared the land. Because my grandmother was so frightened of Indians, in the summertime she cooked on the canal boat. The men wheeled the ground out of the canal with wheelbarrows.

A tragedy occurred when my great grandmother Hofrichter disappeared. One day my great grandmother came to my grandmother’s house because the previous day my grandmother had been ill. Great grandmother wanted to get the children so my grandmother could rest. But my grandmother was doing the washing and said she could take care of the children. My great grandmother left for home; she had a small pail and planned to pick up nuts on her way home which was nearby. At noon my great grandfather came looking for his wife; he said that the bread dough was running over the table. My great grandmother was never seen again. No trace of her was found. She was so afraid of the Indians that some folks thought she may have crawled into a log or she may have been carried away by the Indians and died of shock. Others thought she may have been attacked by bears.

Indians often came to my grandparent’s home. When my grandmother was alone the first time they came, she refused to let them into the house. . When they left, the Indians chopped the gate to pieces. A friend told her she was fortunate the Indians didn’t kill her, and that she should let them in if they came again. The next time she didn’t refuse them. Each Indian had a knife and one Indian ordered the rest of them to lay the knives on the table. He motioned grandmother and the children to go to the loft. The Indians drank her vinegar and ate everything she had in the cupboard. The vinegar was made of whisky, rain water and maple sugar. My grandmother didn’t sleep that night while the Indians had their party. In the morning the Indians were gone. Later the Indians bought skins from animals that my grandfather and his sons had trapped and hunted. Also Injun Jack brought many ‘medicines’ for my grandmother. He gathered all kinds of herbs and plants for his cures.

(These are incidents and family history that I recall hearing when I was a child.) Mrs. P W Max, age 94, January, 1979.

Troeger photo page

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