Little Known Facts Concerning Lincoln…in 1934

Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois
Thursday, February 8, 1934
Little Known Facts Concerning Lincoln…in 1934

(Gleaned from here and there—by J. F. Hunziker—)

In Lincoln City, Indiana one will find a simple little granite stone in Nancy Hanks Park with the inscription “Nancy Hanks Lincoln, mother of Abraham Lincoln, died October 5, 1818, aged 35 years.”

The family had come from Kentucky to make their home here, where land was to be had for the settling.  For ten miles north from the Ohio River the soil is black and very fertile.  Then you reach the hills, or what the early settlers called “the barrens.” Here the soil is yellow, the land rolling.  It is beautiful beyond compare.  It is a country of timber and toil.  Oak, walnut, ash, hickory, and other valuable hardwoods abound;  springs flow from the hillsides; flowers are plentiful; song birds fill the woods, but the soil is stony and stubborn.  You may tickle it with a hoe as much as you will, it will not laugh a harvest.  Here the Lincoln family settled.  There was the father, Thomas Lincoln, his wife, Nancy Hanks Lincoln; Sarah Lincoln, aged ten; and little Abe Lincoln, aged eight.

The family had four horses, old and lame.  In the wagon were a few household goods, two sacks of cornmeal, a side of bacon.  They built a shack from logs, closed on three sides open to the south.  The reason the south side was left open was because there was no chimney, and the fire they built was half in the home and half outside.

Here the family lived the first dreary winter.  To Sarah and Abe it was only fun.  But to the mother, who was delicate, illy clothed, underfed, and who had known better things in her Kentucky home, it was hardship.

Long years afterward, Abe Lincoln wrote:  “My mother worked steadily and without complaining.  She cooked, made clothing, planted a little garden.  She coughed at times and often would have to lie down for a little while.  She was worn, yellow and sad.”  One day when she was lying down she motioned to little Abe to come to her.  She put her arm around Abe and pointed to his sister, Sarah and said, “Be good to her Abe!”  She closed her tired eyes, and it was several hours before Abe and Sarah knew she was dead.

The next day Thomas Lincoln made a rough coffin of split boards.  The body of the dead woman was placed in the rude coffin.  Four men carried the coffin up to the top of a little hill nearby, and it was lowered into a grave.  A mound of rocks was piled on top to protect the grave from wild animals.  For the next year, little Sarah was the “little other mother.”  She cooked, washed, patched the clothing, and looked after the household.

Then one day Thomas Lincoln went away and left the two children alone.  When he came back, he brought the two children a stepmother—Sally Bush Johnson, a widow with three children of her own, but enough love for two more.  Her heart went out to little Abe, and the lonely heart responded.  J. F. Hunziker

Abraham Lincoln (1)Even though many Abraham Lincoln memorials and statues have been erected and a plethora of information gathered since J. F. Henziker’s 1934 gleanings, the article nonetheless extremely interesting.  Visiting the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois definitely worth the time and effort involved.

Don’t forget to drive out to Lincoln’s Tomb State Historic Site at Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Abraham Lincoln (5)“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right; as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan…to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”  Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln (3)Abraham Lincoln (4)Abraham Lincoln (2)

Abraham Lincoln (1)Abraham Lincoln’s Tomb has been designated a registered National Historic Landmark under the provision of the historic sites act of August 31, 1955.  This site possesses exceptional value in commemorating and illustrating the history of the United States.  U. S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service.  1964

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Shook Hands with Lincoln

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Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois
Thursday, March 1, 1928

Shook Hands with Lincoln

03050901 copyIt is given to few people, perhaps, to play as continuous and important a part in the history of a village as that enacted by our old friend and fellow citizen, H. E. Selby.  His history is just about the history of Golden and vicinity.  The old Selby homestead was to the west of Golden a few miles.

Mr. Selby is naturally full of historical facts and reminiscences.  He is perhaps, in this section, the only survivor of the vast army of men who could once boast of having shaken hands with Abraham Lincoln.  He enjoyed that privilege in Quincy in 1858 at the famous Lincoln-Douglas debate.  Always admiring Lincoln as a great man, his admiration was increased by hearing the big debate.  Mr. Selby thinks the rock in Washington park to mark the location of the historic incident is not correctly placed, and he is borne out in this opinion by others who were present.  An odd feature, in a physical sense, of the contest, was the tallness of Mr. Lincoln and the shortness of Mr. Douglas.  (The black/white images below were captured at the Lincoln-Douglas Debate at the Homestead National Monument, Beatrice, Nebraska on June 20, 2009)

Lincoln-Douglas Debate (4)Lincoln-Douglas Debate (1)Mr. Selby was a Union soldier in the Civil War and was left for dead on the battlefield of Chickamauga, having been struck squarely in the temple by a rebel bullet.  That he was not instantly killed was due to a circumstance which was at once fortunate and odd.  His cap being large, he had folded up a Quincy Whig (newspaper) and placed it inside the cap around the band to take up the slack.  It did even better as it checked the bullet so that it did not penetrate the brain.

Shiloh National Military Battlefield, TennesseeAt the close of the war, Mr. Selby took up school teaching for a few years, being granted a certificate without an examination, a favor extended to some of the soldiers.  Later he entered business in Golden and spent his active life here.  He is now 85 and active in mind and body for a person of that age.

When the Wind Blows…by Anna Wienke

Harlow E. Selby, first public school teacher and early business man of the village, was a Civil War Veteran.  He was born on October 24, 1842 in Ohio, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Wilson Selby.  Mr. Selby came to Illinois with his parents at the age of 14.

After being honorably discharged from the Army in June of 1865, he continued teaching through two winters.  In the spring of 1867, he embarked into merchandising, with the purchase of an established business in partnership with S. Selby.  About two months later, they began dealing in grain in connection with commercial pursuits.  They conducted this store with success until 1891, when the building was destroyed by fire.  They continued in the grain business, with elevators at Golden, Chatton, and Bowen.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate (5)The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 were a series of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln, the Republican candidate for the Senate in Illinois, and Senator Stephen Douglas, the Democratic Party candidate.  At the time, U.S. senators were elected by state legislature; thus Lincoln and Douglas were trying for their respective parties to win control of the Illinois legislature.  The debates previewed the issues Lincoln would face in the aftermath of his victory in the 1860 presidential election.  The main issue discussed in all seven debates was slavery.

In agreeing to the debates, Lincoln and Douglas decided to hold one debate in each of the nine congressional districts in Illinois.  Because both had already spoken in two—Springfield and Chicago—within a day of each other, they decided that their joint appearances would be held only in the remaining seven districts.

The debates were held in seven towns in the sate of Illinois:  Ottawa on August 21, Freeport on August 27, Jonesboro on September 15, Charleston on September 18, Galesburg on October 7, Quincy on October 13, and Alton on October 15.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate (3)The debates in Freeport, Quincy, and Alton drew especially large numbers of people from neighboring states, as the issue of slavery was of monumental importance to citizens across the nation.  Newspaper coverage of the debates was intense.  Major papers from Chicago sent stenographers to create complete texts of each debate, which newspapers across the United States reprinted in full, with some partisan edits.  Newspapers that supported Douglas edited his speeches to remove any errors made by the stenographers and to correct grammatical errors, while they left Lincoln’s speeches in the rough form in which they had been transcribed.  In the same way pro-Lincoln papers edited Lincoln’s speeches but left the Douglas texts as reported.

After losing the election for Senator in Illinois, Lincoln edited the texts of all the debates and had them published in a book.  The widespread coverage of the original debates and the subsequent popularity of the book led eventually to Lincoln’s nomination for President of the United States by the 1860 Republican National Convention in Chicago.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate (2)The format for each debate was:  one candidate spoke for 60 minutes, then the other candidate spoke for 90 minutes, and then the first candidate was allowed a 30-minute “rejoinder.”  The candidates alternated speaking first.  As the incumbent, Douglas spoke first in four of the debates.

012909F4=The Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois
Thursday, February 9, 1938

Abraham Lincoln by James Whitcomb Riley

A peaceful life—just toil and rest—
All his desire;
To read the books he likes the best
Beside the cabin fire—
God’s word and man’s—to peer sometimes
Above the page in smouldering gleams,
And catch, like far heroic rhymes,
The one march of his dreams.
A peaceful life—to hear the low
Of pastured herds
Or woodman’s axe that, blow on blow,
Fell sweet as rhythmic words.
And yet there stirred within his breast
A fateful pulse that like a roll
Of drums, made high above his rest
A tumult in his soul.
A peaceful life!  They hailed him even
As one was hailed
Whose open palms were nailed toward heaven
When prayers nor aught availed.
And lo, he paid the self shame price
To lull a nation’s awful strife,
And will us, through sacrifice
Of self, his peaceful life.
Thanks always for stopping by. 
Next post:  Little Known Facts Concerning Lincoln (1934)
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Farmers were Independent…Early History

Golden New Era (Thursday, March 1, 1928)
Golden, Illinois
Groves & Mockmore, Publishers
Farmers Were Independent

In the evenings of the short winter days down on the farm, when the cider sparkled in the glass and the hickory nuts were at hand, we listened to the stories told us by the older folk, of the real old days, when the country was new and the settlers hustled for a foothold.

Man may moan of his troubles and hardships, but if he has been successful, he loves in later life to retread in memory the old hard road that led to ease and comfort.  He is a creative atom and finds his chief joy in constructive achievement.

Economy always has been a prominent factor of successful farm life.  Those pioneers certainly practiced it.  When a new couple arrived in the settlement, the neighbors gathered and with their axes had a fine home built by nightfall.

Rock Creek Station Historical Park, Jefferson County, NebraskaMethods of farming were crude and simple.  Oxen pulled the plows that broke out the prairie and the cleared timber land.  Timber land, when first cultivated is so full of leaf mold as to be very light and mellow.  No clods to bother with.  The trouble with our land now is that it is deficient in the natural mold what formerly made it so friable and lively.  Loose soil favors drainage and other conditions necessary to plant growth.

The early settlers did not let a dearth of equipment dismay them.  Having broken the virgin soil with a walking plow, they often harrowed it with brush, planted the corn by hand in a furrow and covered it with a flat rock, which they dragged along the row or with a jumper, a depth which the operator alternately raised and lowered.

Grain was cut with a cradle and bound by hand.  The first separators were horse power concerns.  But the old timers raised some real wheat crops, something we now seem unable to do.  Thirty or forty years ago the shipments of wheat from this section were heavy, bringing a lot of hard cash home to us.  Of late years wheat shipments have fallen to a mere trifle.

A study of farm life during the period of its existence in Illinois will reveal the gradual decline in independence of the farmer.  He formerly provided for about all of his own needs, even raising the wool and with the aid of the wife, weaving the cloth and making his own clothes.  The farm supplied about all the necessities in the way of food, meat, eggs, flour, milk, butter, cream, hominy, and fruit of all kinds.

Here memory wanders into the old orchard which my grandfather planted and a real orchard it was, with such sterling varieties of apples as Rambo Belle Flower and Summer Pearmain.  Without exception, the Pearmain was the best eating apple I had ever tasted.  Those apple trees seemed to my youthful eyes to reach almost to the sky, and certainly the apples I found underneath the trees in the tall, damp grass, were good enough to be a gift from high heaven.  And perhaps they were.  Editor

Gage County, Nebraska (4)Gage County, Nebraska (12)

Golden New Era (Thursday, September 5, 1929)
Golden, Illinois
Groves & Mockmore, Publishers

012909EOEarly History by H. H. Franzen

When speaking of farming I might say that the very first plows had a wooden mold board which was soon replaced by an all iron or steel plow.  In those days they had no machinery of any kind.  Harrows were made of wood in a V-shape with wooden teeth.  When a piece of ground was ready for corn planting it had to be marked both ways in order to make square rows and the grain was dropped by hand and covered with the hoe. Later the hand planter was invented, which is still known today and father has made quite a lot of them.  Father invented a three-row horse planter, but we used it but one year then he made a two-row planter which was a complete success, and we have never used a factory made planter.

The first grain cutting machine was made by McCormick and it had a platform for the grain to drop on but had to be raked off by hand.  The man that raked the grain off in bunches had to ride backwards.  It took 6 to 7 men to tie the bundles with straw.  Next came the machine that dropped them in bunches.  Then came the Harvester that elevated the grain to one side and into a trough.  The two men who rode the machine did the binding with straw.  Then came the wire binder.  In 1876 at the World’s Fair at Philadelphia I saw the first twine binder.  I also saw a corn planter that imitated father’s ideas.  It stood on a satin covered floor and had lots of silver plated parts.  The check rower was next.

I was at the World’s Fair a whole month trying to find a man who could make me a false part of my face.  Yes, dear people, I had a hard and sad time of my life but am still on top.  Even in my affliction I have seen lots of the world.  I have been to three World’s Fairs, have visited the principal cities of the U. S. and several cities in foreign countries.  I have visited Panama and the Panama Canal and have visited and inspected that most wonderful work of the world and have crawled through the whole works from one end to the other as it was then under construction while my brother John and I were there in 1912.  We had the best chance in the world to see it all.  As we returned from Panama, we went by way of Kingston, Jamaica and landed at the east end of Cuba.  From Santiago we traveled all the way to Havana, Cuba, and we finally reached the U. S. at Key West, Florida and from there we crossed a large part of southern United States.

Oxen plowing prairieMaybe I am a little to hasty as I notice that I have jumped at least 60 to 70 years in space, so I will tell you a little about breaking up this never-before-touched wild prairie sod.  The plow was hung to an axle with two wheels and could be controlled by a lever.  Then they hitched 3 or 4 or even as high as 6 or 7 yoke of oxen to it.  They were all hitched to one long chain reaching from the plow to the front yoke of oxen.  The front yoke were trained to obey the driver’s command, and he used a big and long whip which he used unmercifully.  When he cracked it over their heads, it made a report like a shot gun.  The young and inexperienced animals were compelled to go whether they wanted to or not, or they were drug along by the yoke.  Oh, it was inhuman.

The main part of the yoke consisting of a strong piece of wood reaching from the neck of one ox to the other.  It laid right back of the horns on the top of the neck and held to the oxen by two wooden hickory bows put around their necks and shoved through holes that block and held by two wooden pins.  Now just imagine such a sight.  The words of the commander were about like the sound of a steam boiler, so here goes with foot on low, “Git up, git up, Dick and Molly, Tom and Jerry, Jim and Johnny, John and Milkey,” and so on down.  “Come on, come you lazy booger, you good-for-nothing, you old fool, come on you, git up” and so on, just the most shameful language and accusing the lowest and meanest acts, and if the poor brutes had any feeling of honor it would have made them shed tears.

H. H. Franzen  (I was thrilled when I found another Franzen writeup)

Have a bucket list?  Consider including the Homestead National Monument in southeast Nebraska.  You’ll learn firsthand about breaking sod and pioneer life.

Homestead National Monument (Beatrice, Gage County) (8)

02160901 (2)My uncle atop the heap of suffocating hay and H. H. Franzen would be amazed to view a field of crops from inside my cousin’s cool, monstrous combine.

Harvest Time in Gage County, Beatrice, Nebraska (2)Harvest Time in Gage County, Beatrice, Nebraska (4)

When time permits, you might like to read an excerpt from El Comancho’s “The Old Timer’s Tale.”  Fascinating!  The Old Timer’s Tale

As an aside…hog butchering wasn’t mentioned in these Golden New Era  write-ups, but nonetheless a part of farming life.  If interested, you might like to take a look at this survival technique at, under This N’ That. (and I do mean technique) Even though these images were taken in Tennessee not the Midwest, it really doesn’t matter where one butchers a hog.  Hog butchering is hog butchering!

At the suggestion of a friend, we visited the yearly heritage festival at Ames Plantation near Grand Junction, Tennessee in 2012.  More than interesting, the whole event was down right fascinating, well organized, and educational.  As a little girl of seven or eight, I remember the monstrous hog dangling from the old dilapidated garage door…waiting.  Inquisitive…yes.  Scared…absolutely. Was I prepared for what happened next…no.  I hid and watched.

However, 55 years later, my fascination with hog butchering peaked again soon after arriving at Ames Plantation last October.  This time I hid behind my camera as I captured image after image of men “just doing their job.”  Don’t know if I would have been so enthralled if the hog hadn’t been bled beforehand, though.


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1929 Western Journey, part 5 (final)

Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Franzen—quite the venturesome and curious 80ish couple.

Spur-of-the-moment train journey from Illinois to California in 1929…month-long tourist attractions throughout southern California…endless east coast family and friends get-togethers…recounting 12 years prior Royal Gorge experiences in today’s edition…, and then writing six front page articles for the Golden New Era after the fact.

What a guy!

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Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois
Thursday, June 13, 1929
Groves & Mockmore, Publishers


The Homeward Trip

On April 10 we started on our trip for home.  John and Anna Tholen accompanied us to the R. R. Station, where their daughter Wimda also met us.  It had surely been one of the happiest moments of our lives when we met our children a few weeks ago, but now the parting time had come and as it was real doubtful if we should ever meet again, we bade them farewell with the saddest of hearts.  At 9:25 a.m. we boarded the train for Los Angeles and at 11:40 a.m. we took the U. P. for Salt Lake City.  It was only about 100 miles to the mountains and from there on all the way to Salt Lake City we never got out of sight of the snow capped mountains.  Most of that part of the country is good for nothing, at least that is the way it looked to us.  Between the mountain ranges there are lots of level plains and sand deserts that are partly covered with sage brush and cactus.  In regard to the plains and deserts, we found it very much the same on our trip to the west all along the Mexican border.  I do not over estimate when I say that we passed over 2,000 miles of such God-forsaken country.  This does not even include the route from Salt Lake City to Denver.  (Weber Canyon near Ogden, Utah)

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thCA2MRA01 copyWe finally reached Salt Lake City at 12:15 at noon, a steady ride of about 24 hours.  There we had to change and take the Rio Grande and Denver R. R. and as our train didn’t leave until 4:30 p.m., we took a sightseeing bus to take in the great sights of that old Mormon city.  It cost us $4.  The city has an area of 52 square miles.  It was first visited by man in 1825.  It was founded by Brigham Young in 1847.  It is the center of Scenic America and in 1928 it had a population of 138,411.  It has over 500 miles of streets, 458 miles of paved sidewalks, 16 parks of 2,040 acres, $191,000,000 of taxable property, and 103 miles of street car tracks.

We drove around the famous Mormon Temple and Tabernacle, but we didn’t go inside because that is only for the most holy of the Mormon faith and is not for the outside world.  We were permitted to view the inside of the tabernacle.  The temple is surely an extra large and imposing structure, and has many towers and spires pointing towards heaven.  The building has several stories and is unlike most of our churches as it is considerably higher.

From here we drove to the State Capitol, and we were taken through the entire building by our guide, who explained all the different parts of this colossal structure.  It is built throughout of the finest and best blue granite.  It has large one piece slab of this material covering large portions of the walls.  When you stand outside and under the great dome looking up it surely presents a most wonderful and awe inspiring sight.  The outside makes an even greater spectacle, as its location is way above the city, giving a most wonderful view of both the city and the surrounding country.

It is also the county seat, and the court house seems to be an even more costly building.  Then the State House also helps to make this city one of the most important and widely known places in the world.  Utah has enough salt to supply the world for 500 years.  The water in the Lake contains enough salt to make you float above the water.

The bus gave us a long ride over the city and part of the surrounding country so the time passed quickly, and at 4:30 we again boarded the Rio Grande and Denver train.  This trip to Denver took us just 28 hours going at a fast rate of speed through a continuous mountain range widening between the openings of the mountains which were thousands of feet high.

800px-Royal_Gorge_Denver_and_Rio_Grande_tourist_passenger_car_1918 copyNext day we were informed that about 2 p.m. we would reach the Royal Gorge and that the train would make a special stop of 10 minutes at that place to give the 12 to 14 tourists on the train a chance to take in the grandest of all sights.  As soon as the train stopped everyone hurried to get out and view this wondrous spectacle.  There was a small stream passing through and between the mountains of equal height of about 2000 feet high.  At the bottom the two walls were just 50 feet apart.  At a height of 2500 feet these same mountains were just 70 feet apart or 20 feet wider than at the bottom.  As there was no foundation for the railroad track to lay on, you can imagine what a sight this made.  This was not the first time my wife and I had seen this place, for 12 years ago (1917) we were there, but at that time we had our car and we drove up from the back side.  I had driven the car to the extreme edge of the mountain.  They had built a gas pipe railing at the edge for the safety of the people, so we had a real good chance to look down and see that same hanging bridge from the top.  Just think of the beautiful sight.  We could now look up and almost see the place where we stayed 12 years ago.  Well, this concluded our mountain sightseeing.

From here we went by way of Pueblo and Canyon City to Denver, where we took the Q (Quincy?) train for the East via St. Joseph, Missouri.  We happened to pass through Lincoln and Adams, Nebraska, so we stopped off at Adams, where my wife’s sister, Mrs. Chris Wilken, lives.  We found them all well except Mrs. Wilken’s oldest son who had suffered a slight stroke, but he had improved some.  Two days later we started on the last lap of our 6,000-mile trip, and on April 16 at 8 a.m. we reached home, finding all the family well, and we also felt fine and no worse for the long trip.

Once more we send thanks to all our good friends in California who helped so much to make our trip a success, and we also send our deepest sympathy to Mrs. Frank Paben in Whittier, California in her bereavement, who has since our departure lost her life companion.  May the good Lord console her in her deepest sorrow and grief.

H. H. Franzen

IMG_2952 copyIt was very interesting to read about the Franzen’s stopping to meet the Wilken family in Adams, Nebraska.  As a former Nebraskan, I had heard about the Wilken grocery store during my 2000 southeast Nebraska family research.  In March of this year, I had the privilege of visiting with an Adams, Nebraska family historian.  He assured me the Wilken family had indeed formerly owned the local grocery store, since he  had bought their downtown property.  However, he doubted whether the 1929 Wilken family were grocery owners.

IMG_2982 copyThe H. H. Franzen 1929 Western Journey concludes with this publication.  What a journey it has been over the past several weeks.

Thank you for taking the time to navigate through the past with the remarkable Franzen couple.

If you aren’t wore out from traveling through some of that Southwest wasteland Mr. Franzen described in today’s post, you might hop the train to and see for yourself.

Next post:  Farmer’s were Independent and The Old Timer’s Tale

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1929 Western Journey, part 4

In today’s 1929 Western Journey account, the Franzen’s continue to meet-n-greet California friends and relatives.  However, by Mr. Franzen’s tone in his first paragraph, I’d say he and his wife were exhausted and ready to head East.  Could they have been as fed up with rain and constant activity as I was in this 2011 blog publication?

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Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois
Thursday, June 6, 1929
Groves & Mockmore, Publishers


thCAU9L5IQMiss Bohlen took us to the Electric R. R. station and after thanking her for the great interest she had taken in us and thanking her for her hospitality and kindness, we bade her farewell and boarded the train for Long Beach.  The last trip to the country was when the Goldenstein’s invited us to a final visit on a certain day.  That day it rained, but we hated to disappoint them so we took a bus.  It was still raining when we got there, and it suited us real well, for it gave us such a good chance to stay with them all day and have a good talk, but we were badly mistaken as dinner was hardly over when we were informed they were again ready to give us another trip in two cars.  It still rained but they didn’t mind so we started for the city of Pasadena, which was about twenty five miles.  There we visited Mr. Peter’s sister.  That city is inhabited by the wealthiest people of the United States.  Instead of one story dwellings they had two story or over, and were the most beautiful such as only millionaires can afford.  We started to the Anheuser Busch Garden but it happened to be closed so we went to the Ostrich Farm where we saw the largest of birds, up to eight feet high, but they didn’t look so nice to us with their long bony legs and long necks.  They say that the male selects his life companion the same as we do, but they never tire of each other.  They live to be 70 to 75 years old.

We then inquired for the home of Mr. and Mrs. Weiser, whose maiden name was Miss Clara Tenhaff.  She surely was surprised to see us in California.  They surely have a fine home but as it started to rain again, we hardly had time to get inside.  The others all stayed in their cars.  Mr. Weiser wasn’t home, but Mrs. Weiser gave us a hearty reception, and we recalled some of the early happenings while her mother was alive.  Our visit had to be cut short and we soon started for Rosemead, where Mr. Buss started a lumber yard.  This was on our way back to Whittier, so we stopped there for a short while.  This town is not very old and has a population of several thousand.  Mr. Buss surely has a nice yard and buildings, and is located on one of the main highways to the east.  The road is at least 120 feet wide and is of solid concrete.  The buildings are nicely arranged with office and warehouse apartments.  His son Adolph is manager and they have great faith in their venture.  We surely wish them the best of success.  Mr. and Mrs. Buss are living there at present and will likely stay till fall.  We finally got back to the Peter’s and after we had a splendid supper, Mr. and Mrs. Goldenstein took us back home.  Of course, they don’t think anything of a twenty or thirty mile drive after supper as the streets are all lit up.

The 7th of April they had one of the greatest twin shows at Long Beach.  There were 260 pairs of twins and four sets of triplets.  They were shown in a subway, a street located below the main buildings.  The crowd was so great that it was impossible for thousands to see them, but we were certainly lucky, as we happened to be on time and right where the parade was formed.  The ages ranged  from three months to 85 years.  It was a great sight.  The older ones took the lead and the younger ones were carried by their parents as rule.  They were dressed so much alike that you couldn’t tell them apart.  The smallest ones were the cutest as they were all dressed so cute.  All had to walk side by side or rode in two little carts.  Say, I’m an old man 81 years old, but I surely enjoyed watching those lovely, little children.  I have an idea that some of the old maids longed for a pair of these little darlings.

H. H. Franzen

If you’ve been reading H. H. Franzen’s California Letters, I think you would agree the man had quite a sense of humor.  Next edition:  the elderly couple placed their feet on home ground back in Adams County, Illinois.

thCAIXUH5KLong Beach was a route of the Pacific Electric Railway, constructed in 1902.  It was the first line planned by Pacific Electric and the last to shut down in 1961.  By that time, the route was operated by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority.  The Metro Blue Line was built along most of the same route.

Pacific Electric, also known as the Red Car system, was a privately owned mass transit system in Southern California consisting of electrically powered street cars, light rail, and buses, and was the largest electric railway system in the world in the 1920s.  Organized around the city center of Los Angeles and San Bernardino, it connected cities in Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County and Riverside County.

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1929 Western Journey, part 3

In today’s 1929 Western Journey, you’ll learn about an interesting woman.  It seemed the Franzen’s were captivated by Christian Evangelist, Aimee McPherson’s stage presence and exuberance.  While certainly in an entirely different setting and situation, the mysterious woman we encountered on the Alaska Highway also held our interest in much the same way.

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Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois
Thursday, May 30, 1929
Groves & Mockmore, Publishers

CALIFORNIA LETTER by H. H. Franzen  (1929 Western Journey, part 1 and part 2)

The fourth day we started back, but we took a different route, and part of the trip was really bad, but finally it got even worse, and then to make it still worse, it commenced to rain, and make it dangerous.

thCAIXUH5KWell, we finally got back to Hermet, when we took the bus and went back to Claas Tholen’s, where we stayed over night, and next day, he took us back to his parents’ at Long Beach.  The next day was Sunday, and Claas gave us a ride of 120 miles.  I forgot how many towns he took us to.  Oh, they all treated us equally well, and we saw about all there was to be seen.  The next day was March 28, when we took the electric train to Los Angeles, where Mrs. Ruth Crum met us at the depot.  She took us to the Willard Steward home, where we took dinner and supper.

After supper, Mrs. Crum took us to Mrs. Amie McPherson’s church, where we found a large crowd.  The jam was so great that we were almost lifted from our feet. 


220px-Postcard-los-angeles-angelus-templeThis church has 17 entrances and they were almost unable to handle the crowd.  We finally got inside and were given seats where we had a splendid view of the whole church and platform where Mrs. McPherson delivered her sermon.

As the building is a three-story round structure, the seats also run in a half-moon circle.  On one side of the church there were three floors of seats, one above the other.  The seats were elevated so they gave everybody a good view.  Back of the speaker’s platform they had 199 seats, also in half circle, which were taken by a crowd of 100 ladies, all in white robes and beautiful ornamental aprons.  Every seat was taken and the church at this particular evening held 5,000 people.

After the sermon they served the Lord’s Supper to the whole audience, that is, those that desired to take it.  About 80 men were each given a large silver plate that contained the bread.  These plates were passed along the rows of seats, giving each person a chance to help himself.  After the bread had been passed they also passed the wine.  Each tray held about 70 or more small glasses filled with wine.

Then came the baptizing.  Back of the stand and in front of the choir, they had an artificial lake, and in this lake 150 persons were baptized.  They took two at a time. Mrs. McPherson herself performed the baptizing.  She had a helper to assist her in the work.

After it was all over we started for Miss Bohlen’s home, by taking a bus.  Next day was Good Friday.  In the forenoon we started for the Peter’s church.  After church we went back to Miss Nan Bohlen’s.  Next day, Miss Bohlen took us out sight seeing and we attended a picnic.  Next day was Easter.  We got up at 3:30 a.m.  After breakfast we took a bus to Easter services which were held in a roofless structure called the Coliseum, which had almost unbelievable seating capacity.

Author’s Note:  rest of article missing…so sorry

H. H. Franzen

The Coliseum was commissioned in 1921 as a memorial to veterans of World War I (re-dedicated to veterans of all wars in 1968).  The official ground breaking ceremony took place on December 21, 1921 with work being completed in just over 16 months, on May 1, 1923.  Designed by John and Donald Parkinson, the original bowl’s initial construction costs were $954,873.  When the Coliseum opened in 1923, it was the largest stadium in Los Angeles with a capacity of 75,144.  In 1930, however, with the Olympics due in two years, the stadium was extended upward to seventy-nine rows with two tiers of tunnels, expanding the seating to 101,574.  The now-signature torch was added.  For a time it was known as Olympic Stadium.

For more history on the Coliseum visit here

Uewb_07_img0476Aimee Semple McPherson (October 9, 1890-September 27, 1944), also know as Sister Aimee, was a Canadian-American Los Angeles based evangelist and media celebrity in the 1920s and 1930s.  She founded the Foursquare Church.  McPherson has been noted as a pioneer in the use of modern media, especially radio, and was the second woman to be granted a broadcast license.  She used radio to draw on the growing appeal of popular entertainment in North America and incorporated other forms into her weekly sermons at Angelus Temple.

In her time she was the most publicized Christian evangelist, surpassing Billy Sunday and her other predecessors.  Public faith-healing demonstrations were conducted by her before large crowds, allegedly healed tens of thousands of people.  McPherson’s articulation of the United States as a nation founded and sustained by divine inspiration continues to be echoed by many pastors in churches today.  Her media image, which sensationalized difficulties with her mother and daughter, as well as a mysterious five-week disappearance, shrouded her extensive charity work and significant contributions to the revitalization of American Christianity in the 20th century.

Courtesy (

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1929 Western Journey, part 2

Continue reading and re-living a 1929 across country journey with H. H. Franzen and his wife in part two of Western Journey.  Read Western Journey, part 1 if you’ve not done so for greater understanding.

Similarly, as Mr. Franzen compared in this week’s California Letter the East from the West as almost indescribable, I too would say the same of our visit to Alaska and the rest of the country.  Indescribable.

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Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois
Thursday, May 9, 1929
Groves & Mockmore, Publishers

CALIFORNIA LETTER by H. H. Franzen (continued from last week)

I have an idea that the sea breeze makes it so cool there evenings after the sun goes down.  Back from the coast it becomes considerably cooler, but this good country extends only about 100 miles eastward and then you reach the mountains.  Here you see mountains and gullies, such as you have never seen before in your life.  Along the coast you can always see snow-capped mountains.

It certainly is a sight to see the wonderful orange and lemon groves.  Flowers and roses grow all along the highways.  Of course, in the winter time it is not as nice as it becomes later in the season, but the difference between the East and the West is almost indescribable.

There are the most beautiful orange and lemon groves by the tens of thousands of acres, just loaded down to the ground with fruit for miles around.  Both orange and lemon trees have a wonderful strength of bearing.  The lemon tree bears the whole year round.  It has blossoms, real small lemons, half grown and ripe lemons all the year round.  The orange bearing season is only about nine months.  We brought a few twigs with small oranges, half size and full grown on them, and also with larger number of blossoms, but the twigs and the blossoms dried out before we could show them.

Then come the ornamental trees such as pepper and palm, and a number of other trees and bushes.  They have a wonderful effect on the whole countryside and give it a foreign appearance.  Then come the trees and bushes which shed their foliage the same as they do here, but they are much different from those we have here, such as figs, English walnuts, and fruit trees of which we did not learn very much.  Then there are the California grapes which are cultivated so much.  We passed through a patch of 7,000 acres of them.  They do not grow in the winter.  You see very little of the plant itself.  The vines are all trimmed and have just the stumps, from ten inches to two and one-half feet high.  They are planted a good deal like corn, in rows, about 6 to 7 feet apart, and the same distance in the row, so when you pass a field of them it has the appearance of young corn plants, but as they didn’t bear while we were there, we cannot say much about them, except what we were told.

The blackberries also bear abundantly, as the vines do not die at all, the bushes get very large.  The peaches also are wonderful, and I have eaten some of them at different places; that is, what they had canned.

It seems they can raise garden truck all the year.  For at Long Beach, three times in the week, you can buy anything in that line you wish or can think of.  The Japanese are the main people following that line of occupation.  Every other day, you see a solid line of stands on two sides of Lincoln Park, selling everything that you care to eat, and they have such a large patronage that it is almost impossible at times to push through the crowd.  Everybody carries a paper bag, mostly filled to the top.  Then they pitch horseshoes. Thirty-two men were playing the game.  They also have a number of croquet grounds.  It is a most wonderful park with beautiful flower beds and shaded with palm trees.  Also, there is a public library here, and from it they continually broadcast over the radio.

At Long Beach they have all kinds of games and amusements, continually, almost night and day. Everybody seems determined to get all the money of tourists that they can.  If you have any money, you can soon get rid of it, but when you talk of hospitality, California has them all beat.  That is, where you visit of acquaintances, they surely exceed us in hospitality.  They took us all over that part of California, and they arranged all kinds of meetings and gatherings.  They took us from town to town in their autos.  Their generosity had no limit, not only in the day time, but have made many a trip after night, and as the whole country has the finest and best and widest hard reads, it was surely the greatest enjoyment to us both.

H. H. Franzen


Lincoln Park & Public Library Postcard

From back of card “Lincoln Park, Long Beach, California. Fronting on Ocean Boulevard at Pacific Avenue. This public park contains Public Library; rogue courts, chess and checkers facilities, and open-air band concert building. At its west edge is the famous Long Beach Farmers’ Market.”

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Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois
Thursday, May 23, 1929
Groves & Mockmore, Publishers


(continued from last week…the May 16, 1929 edition missing)

Some days later we were informed that some of our friends and the Tholens had made arrangements for a meeting at the Reverend Peter’s church at Los Angeles, but as this has already been published in the Golden New Era some time ago, (missing edition) I shall not say anymore about it except that Ehme Bruns and wife took us to that church, and they also stayed for the forenoon sermon of Reverend Peters, but as they had been invited to dinner at Mr. Bruns’ brothers they could not take part in our dinner at the church.

After dinner our party was taken to the Exhibition and Art Buildings.  Here we saw the greatest collection of real and also unreal mountains and forests, which were inhabited by almost all kinds of wild beasts and animals, and also the different kinds of birds and feather-bearing creatures.  All were shown in their native home surroundings.  All of these creatures were stuffed and held in such lifelike positions that it was indeed a wonderful sight but the background of the real scene was transformed into a most natural hand painted picture, yet so real that you couldn’t tell where the change took place.

Well, as this building was so large and filled to the utmost and as it is beyond my ability to give you a true description of the same, I shall not try to say more, but this much I will say, although I have seen a considerable number of the wonders of the world, this beats them all.

After supper at the church a son of Mr. and Mrs. Harm Buss took us home, and then he had to go back to Whittier where the Goldenstein’s made their home at that time, but he didn’t seem to mind a 50-mile trip after night and we sure thank him very much.

The next meeting was held at Mr. Willard Steward and his companions’ home where we celebrated Mr. Steward’s, and also one of his companion’s birthdays, at Los Angeles.  Francis Tholen took his parents and us there.  They had invited a large number of friends, but I have an idea that it was mostly in honor of us, at least we appreciated their invitation very much.  Neither one had a wife and I suggested or asked whether all three of them could not afford to have one wife, but it seemed they couldn’t agree to my suggestion, as one of the three took the place of the cook, but they may change their minds later on.  At least I would.  Well, John the cook served us two bountiful meals, dinner and supper.

Here I shall mention Otho Reed and wife, Mrs. Reed, and Mrs. Ruth Crum, who took part in serving the meals.  Mr. and Mrs. Reed were formerly of Golden and had the telephone office here.  We were about fifty in all former residents of Golden.  Mr. Reed took a picture of the crowd, but so far I haven’t seen the picture.  I would be glad to receive a picture and pay for the price.

That evening Mr. and Mrs. Claas Tholen took us to their home in Ontario, and next day we went to Riverside, a distance of 20 miles, where we made arrangements with John Bohlen to meet us and take us to his and his sister’s home at Anza, about 70 miles distance.  He was to meet us at noon but was a little late, and when we got to Hermet, we still had 40 miles to make after night, over the most crooked and mountainous road.  Say, what a wonderful ride, and we were not used to mountain rides as so far we had had smooth roads.

Of course, John was used to these rides as he had made many trips after night.  He surely is an expert driver and his car is a great puller.  He has great confidence in himself and also in his car, so he just let it go up and down, right and left, around the corners and short turns and narrow tracks on the side of the mountain and hills.  We almost begged him to slow up but he just laughed at us and claimed that he didn’t drive fast at all.  I always thought I had a little courage as I have driven cars thousands of miles, but I must shamefully confess that I am a coward.

Well, we finally got there.  It was 9 p.m.  We stayed with John and his sister Grace for two days.  They own 290 acres of land.  A large portion is sage brush but it can be cultivated but it needs lots of work to clear it.  They raise lots of turkeys and chickens.  John and his sisters are hard workers and have surely done well.  Their sister, Marie, and her husband live but one-fourth mile from them.  He follows farming and cattle raising.  They have built a new house.  John took us to a place called Rocky Mountain, and it sure was a sight.

H. H. Franzen

Note:  I wonder if John Bohlen was also as confident in the tires he bought for his motor car.  Then was H. H. Franzen remembering the “Friendly Warning” in the 1920’s Golden New Era when he said he “shamefully confessed he was a coward” that night on the dark mountain drive.

Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois
May 20, 1920
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Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois
June 17, 1920
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