Thursday, January 29, 2015

52 Ancestors 2015: #5 William Holzlider, Plowing Through "Chunks"

William Holzlider, center.  On either side of him are his children, Stella and Russell.
Also pictured is Stella's husband, Mason McCammon, and their dog Fanny.
Photo taken about 1920, along Bear Creek in Jennings County, Indiana.
My great-great grandfather, William Holzlider, was born on January 26, 1855 in Cincinnati, Ohio. His parents, George and Mary Gertrude, were recent immigrants to America.  (Family tradition is that George was a stowaway from Luxembourg.)  William had one older sister, Anna Mary, and three younger siblings: Edward, Julia, and Lena.  I'm not sure when his family moved to Indiana, but the Holzliders were in Jennings County, Indiana by the time the Civil War broke out.  William was working as a farm laborer on someone else's farm in Decatur county when he was 15.

The Holzlider house in Pierceville, Jennings County, Indiana.
On January 30, 1887, William married Ella Dorothy Smith in Jennings County, Indiana. He was 32, and she was 20.  William and Ella lived in Sandcreek Township, Indiana.  They had a family of six children: three boys and three girls.

William purchased 40 acres of woodland for $700 in Pierceville, Indiana in 1902 or 1903. I'm sure it was quite a job to clear the land of trees.  According to a letter written by William's daughter Bertha, the ground was all in "chunks." William and his young sons, Omer and Clyde (my great grandfather), worked hard plowing the land to make it tillable.

William's grandaughter
Martha Holtzlider in 1937.
One day in 1907, William bought a supply of lumber so that he could expand his house. Somehow, the house caught on fire that very night.  The family Bible was destroyed.  The two youngest Holzlider children, Russell and Bertha, were placed outside on a mattress that was saved from the burning house. The following day, neighbors came over and helped rebuild the house.

Ella Holzlider died in 1917 at the age of 51.  In 1920, William was still running a farm at the age of 64, with Russell and Bertha living at home.  William had retired from farming by 1930 and was living with his son Russell and his wife in Indianapolis.

My grandmother, Martha Holtzlider (pictured at right), wrote a letter in 1985 to her uncle Russell Holzlider, describing her only memory of her grandfather William:

I do remember singing to Grandpa Holzlider during what I believe was his last illness.  I was about 6 years old and it was an awesome experience for one so young and I have never forgotten standing by his bed and singing.  I don't remember the name of the song. That is the only recollection I have of Grandpa Holzlider.

William died from heart disease on July 22, 1934, at the home of his son Clyde in Greensburg, Decatur County, Indiana.  He and Ella are buried at Brewersville, Jennings  County, in Bear Creek Cemetery.

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