I was lucky to have grown up with all four of my grandparents in my life! They were a diverse set. My maternal grandfather was, as they called them then, a half-breed. His mother was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian (native american to be politically correct). This will probably be the last time that I am politically correct in my ramblings! (Oh, and don`t expect good punctuation or prose. Just enjoy the musings.) My great grandfather Barrett was Irish.
My maternal grandmother Augenstein was of German descent on her Father`s side and Scotch-French on her Mother`s side. So, Irish, Indian on one side and German/Scotch-French on the other made for some hard working, determined and adventurous stock.
On my paternal side, the mix made for some very conservative and reserved physiology! My grandfather Wolff was the son of German Immigrants growing up in Alabama. My grandmother Newsom was born in Canada where her ancestors immigrated from England. So, pure German and pure English, how could we not have a very reserved and structured patriarchal core to the family!
HOW DID THEY ALL HAPPEN TO ARRIVE IN ANDERSON, INDIANA?
My grandfather, Arthur John Barrett, Sr. , was born in Pittsburgh, Kansas, January 28, 1890. He grew up in the Indian Territories and the Oklahoma Territory where he helped with share cropping, chopping fire wood, splitting fence rails, picking cotton and any odd jobs they could find.
My grandmother, Hildred Lillian Augenstein, was born in Waldo, Ohio, October 20, 1897. Growing op on a farm in Ohio until she was eleven. Then, in 1908, her father had visited Oklahoma and decided that would be a great place to successfully raise his prize hogs and horses. He sold the farm and loaded the farm machinery, household goods, hogs and horses into freight cars and rode with them to Oklahoma. Grandma Augenstein and the seven children followed later by passenger train.
Five short years later, Arthur and Hildred met and were married one month shy of her sixteenth birthday, September 18, 1913, in Vinita, Oklahoma!
My grandfather, Felix Wolff, was born in Wolff, Alabama, July 6, 1878. His family were farmers and also had fruit orchards they tended. He loved to travel and visited and worked in many states growing up. Finally settling in Moundsville, West Virginia, on July 11, 1901. The next day he began his career with t he Gospel Trumpet Office working in the mail room wrapping Trumpets. A SIDE NOTE: The Gospel Trumpet was a publishing house for religious books, pamphlets, pictures and song books related to the Church of God. Felix rapidly moved his way to the bindery where he learned his book binding craft. The Gospel Trumpet Company decided to move their printing equipment and publishing work to Anderson, Indiana, September 1906. Felix helped load the rail cars with the heavy presses and other equipment and traveled to the new Office at 201 E. 9th street in Anderson. The Anderson businessmen thought the Gospel Trumpet was in the business of manufacturing musical trumpets!
My grandmother, Maggie May Newson, was born in Wellington, Ontario, Canada, December 13, 1884. May, as she preferred to be called, also grew up on a farm recalling the distasteful job of plucking the down from the geese for the mattresses. I don`t know the time line of the move, but at some point Grandma`s mother took a job with the Gospel Trumpet Office in Anderson, Indiana and May went with her. Eventually, May and Felix met up and as Grandpa wrote in his journal,
“August 21st, 1907, left Anderson on an excursion with Bro. Mayo for Niagara Falls and Canada.
22nd Arrived at Pupabun, Ontario.
28th Was married.
October 10th, 1907, left Pupabun, Ont. for Anderson, Ind. where we arrived on the 11th. Took supper at A. L. Byers.”
LETS GET THIS ALL TIED TOGETHER!
Grandpa and Grandma Barrett moved to Lindsay, California around 1920 with their four children. There, Grandpa found work in the refineries. This would give him the machinist`s background that would provide the confidence to set out on his own in Indiana.
After the end of WWI and The Great Depression, and now having five children, as Mother was born in 1922, they mustered the determination to find something better! As a boy of 12 and young man Grandpa lived with his uncles after his Dad passed. They worked mule teams pulling barges across the Wabash and Erie Canal in Indiana. Now, with a family of his own, he remembered the the mid-west that he enjoyed as a youth and decided it would be a great place to start a new life. They started Barrett`s Machine Shop in Chicago Heights, Illinois.
During the depression, Grandma Barrett and the kids helped out by taking in laundry. They also raised game chickens and rabbits. Sears Roebuck was paying 35/50 cents for rabbit hides at the time.
My Mother, Geraldine Viola Barrett, was born in Lindsay, California, February 9,1922. After the move to Illinois and graduating from high school, she wanted to go to secretarial school. Now see how this comes together!
Mother`s sister Margaret, married a (WAIT FOR IT;) Church of God Minister living in Anderson, Indiana! Close to the Anderson College that the Gospel Trumpet started! And, they had secretarial courses! Mother moves to Anderson with her sister! Gets a job at the Gospel Trumpet Office!
My Dad, Marvin Eugene Wolff, Sr., was Born in Anderson, Indiana, June 20, 1921. After graduating from Anderson High School, he got a job at, where else, The Gospel Trumpet Office! Guess who he met there???
Mother had facial paralysis, but that didn`t stop her from helping dad take off the oil pan on his 1937 Pontiac and getting greasy!
After this whirlwind courtship, they were married at her sister`s by her husband, the Church of God minister, on September 18, 1941, (JUST THREE MONTHS BEFORE PEARL HARBOR)
BARRETTS ON THE LEFT – WOLFFS ON THE RIGHT
WE ENTER THE WAR!
On A Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, Japan attacked our Naval Base at Pearl Harbor and entered the U. S. into the war! The following photos are a rare collection of prints recovered from a roll of film, found decades later, in an antique, collapsable bellows camera. They show the destruction and carnage the photographer witnessed that fateful day.
“A date which will live in infamy!”, FDR