Family Thanksgiving News of Yore
With Thanksgiving almost upon us, I began to wonder about what news I might find about Hagenbuchs celebrating the holiday during earlier times. What I found did not disappoint and even led to the discovery of a few new family members!
The first article I came upon was from the December 8, 1896 printing of the Evening Herald in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. It explained how Annetta, the three-year-old daughter of R. D. Hagenbuch, fell and broke her collar bone on Thanksgiving Day, then fell and broke it again a few weeks later.
Annetta was born on September 19, 1893 in Shenandoah, PA. Her parents were Robert Del Roy I and Sarah Ann (Warr) Hagenbuch. This family has been written about in a previous article. She married Layman Warnick, and the couple had several children together. Annetta (Hagenbuch) Warnick died on November 3, 1978 and is buried in Oak Springs Cemetery, Canonsburg, PA.
The next piece I located was printed on November 25, 1924 in The Morning Press of Bloomsburg, PA. It described a Thanksgiving program presented at the Hidlay School. This school was actually featured in an article about Mary E. (Kirkendall) Hagenbuch (b. 1884) that was written by her granddaughter, Norma Kay (Penman) Hurter. Mary was a teacher at the Hidlay School in 1924 and several of her own children were student participants in the program: Ralph (b. 1910), Lillian (b. 1913), and William (1917). Lillian is Norma Kay’s mother.
The school program included songs like “America” (popularly known as “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”), a tableaux depicting Thanksgivings past and present, poem recitations such as “An Old, Old Lady” (originally titled “One, Two, Three!”), and a performance of the play The Hoosier School. Of these, I found one poem to be particularly interesting.
“One, Two, Three!” was written by Henry Cuyler Bunner in the late 1800s. The poem describes how an elderly woman and a boy with a twisted knee played hide and seek together without actually moving. Each imagines a hiding spot, and they take guesses until the correct location is found. While searching for more information about the verse, I ran across several people online describing how their parents and grandparents had learned the poem at school during the early 1900s.
The third article identified was from the December 1, 1947 printing of The Daily Register in Oelwein, Iowa. It mentioned a holiday meal with family:
Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Hagenbuch were Thanksgiving guests in the home of Mrs. Hagenbuch’s sister, Mrs. W. W. Sell and family. Tripoli, Iowa.
Who were these Hagenbuchs, I wondered. A bit of census research uncovered their full names: William J. and Emma (Haug) Hagenbuch. William was born in Germany in 1880 and immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s. A quick review of an article on this site revealed that William was the brother of Christian (b. 1878). My father had met Christian’s son, Alfred (b. 1904), in 1981 and learned that these Hagenbuchs were not descendants of our ancestor, Andreas Hagenbuch (b. 1715). Regardless, here they were in 1922 enjoying a most American tradition together.
The final piece I found was printed on November 23, 1963 in the Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre, PA. It explained how the MV Society (Missionary Volunteers Society) performed a musical Thanksgiving program for the residents of the Sutton Home and the Franklin Convalescent Home. One of the soloists was Jessie Hagenbaugh, who sang the piece “Bless This House.”
Research showed that Jessie (Davis) Hagenbaugh was born on October 12, 1925. In 1947, she married William “Bill” J. Hagenbaugh (b. 1926) and the couple had three children together. Bill’s Hagenbuch family line is: Andreas (b. 1715) > Michael (b. 1746) > Christian (b. 1770) > Reuben (b. 1803) > Theodore (b. 1833) > Charles M. (b. 1863) > Robert James (b. 1886) > William “Bill” John (b. 1926).
Jessie died on October 6, 2019 and according to her obituary:
[She] was blessed with a beautiful singing voice and she sang with the John Miliauskas Band in the 1940s. She had the opportunity to pursue a professional singing career but instead was a devoted wife and mother to her three children.
The song Jessie performed, “Bless This House,” was published in 1927. The lyrics were written by Helen Taylor and the music by May Brahe. It is often included in hymnals and can be heard around Thanksgiving, due to its focus on blessing a family and their home. In the following recording of the piece, mezzo-soprano Patricia Hammond sings:
After listening to “Bless This House” my wife, Sara, agreed to perform it at our family gathering this week. As far as I can tell, it has been over 15 years since my sisters and I have all joined our parents on Thanksgiving Day. It will certainly be a special time—one to be remembered for years to come. And, while Sara’s singing is sure to be one of the highlights, this won’t be the only entertainment of the day. I plan to recite the poem “An Old, Old Lady” as was done at the Hidlay School almost a century ago.
Happy Thanksgiving from our Hagenbuch family to yours!