Friday, May 25, 2007

Former Wagner Farm, West Moshannon, Clearfield Co, PA

This is the former farm house of my great grandmother, HENRIETTA HOHNKE, and her second husband, CHARLES MICHAEL WAGNER. Henrietta was widowed by her first husband in October, 1885, according to the marriage registration of Henrietta to her second husband. Marriage applications usually give the death date of a former spouse, though the name of the deceased spouse is not given. So, the name of Henrietta' first husband, who would be my great grandfather, is not documented, but family tradition suggests his name was KARL STREICH. His place of burial is also unknown.

In 1900, the U.S. census enumerated Charles and Henrietta, 3 children, 2 step children, and 2 grandchildren in the farm house. One of Charles' great grandchildren, Eleanore Grove, was the last resident on the farm. She died in Fall, 2005, and shortly afterwards, the old farmhouse was put on the market. I was so glad that I had an opportunity to visit Eleanor a few times in the last decade. She gave me stories of the family as well as old pictures- including several of my grandmother, Mrs. Emily Strike, nee. Russell, which I had never seen before. Thus, the farmhouse which has been in the family for at least 120 years, is now gone forever.

After Mrs. Grove died, the contents of the estate were auctioned. I was not aware of the auction since I live far away in NC. Indeed, Eleanor and her cousin, Alice Wagner, used to keep me abreast of the news and events in Houtzdale. Now my informants are gone; deceased.

When this picture of farm was taken, the property was under a sheriff's sale to pay off debts. Asking price for the house on one acre is about $60,000. I was told by a neighbor, Eleanor's brother, that some of the old clothes, such as military uniforms, and perhaps old pictures were destroyed.

A family story: My uncle Russell Stryke, born Strike, told me he stopped at the farm in 1929. Russell brought along his new wife, Ruth, and they were on their way to a honeymoon in Niagra Falls. Russell said his wife walked out on the front porch and became mesmerized by the baying of mules in the fields below the house. These mules were probably retired from their work of hauling coal cars along the mine headers underground. Ruth, a city girl from Alexandria, VA, had never seen, nor heard, mules before in her life.

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