In one way or another, history is all about stories. Collecting facts about the people, places and events of the past is a good start. But to really make that information useful and memorable, we need to tell it as a story. Nobel Prize-winning author Rudyard Kipling understood this. “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten,” wrote the author of such famous tales as The Jungle Book and Captains Courageous.
Stories are the shared history we pass down for generations. We recently discovered for a client that generations ago, a relative served in the Revolutionary War. That discovery alone shed new light on the family history and heritage. When we research our history, we find the grist for stories to tell our children, grandchildren and future generations.
Stories can come from simple conversations with relatives, or examination of old photo albums. A simple, “Who’s this?” can lead to wonderful discoveries. William Gaulke’s family found a very famous face in an old photograph from the 1870s. Gaulke worked on the American frontier, ferrying people and goods across the Missouri River. During his youthful days, he befriended a U.S. Army scout and buffalo hunter named William Frederick Cody. Most people know him as “Buffalo Bill” Cody.
John Gaulke later wrote of meeting Buffalo Bill in the early 1900s when his father took the family to see his Wild West show. “Why sure, Bill and they had quite a talk,” John Gaulke later wrote. “Finally Buffalo Bill reached into his pocket and gave my Dad a handful of tickets, who the whole family saw the show for nothing.”
The Krosch family of rural Minnesota often tells the story of its forebears travel from the Kingdom of Saxony to America in 1854. When Johann Frederick Krosch and his children boarded the multi-mast barque Bertha at the Port of Bremen, they had no idea the journey that was in store. During an early part of the journey, passengers noticed a shark following the vessel, which sailors’ lore says meant someone on board was going to die. A severe storm blew up and severely damaged the ship’s mast rigging. The carpenter on board refused to scale the mast, so Augustus Krosch hoisted himself up and made repairs. Shortly after, the Krosch family was moved from steerage to a cabin for the rest of the journey.
Earl J. Mulqueen Jr. left behind incredible stories of his World War II service in the U.S. Marine Corps. He enlisted right after high school graduation in the summer of 1942. After basic training in San Diego, he sailed for parts unknown. Over the next two years, he saw some of the heaviest fighting of the war at Guadalcanal and Tarawa. In between major operations, his 2nd Marine Division retired to New Zealand for rest and training.
In May 1944, the Marines were at Pearl Harbor, loading ships for the pending invasion of Saipan in the Mariana Islands. A spark aboard a Landing Ship-Tank (LST) set off a massive chain-reaction explosion. More than 150 men were killed and hundreds more wounded. Mulqueen suffered severe injury when wood and other debris was blown into his left leg. Infection set in and doctors had to amputate the leg above the knee. After months of recovery, Mulqueen returned to his native Milwaukee and went on a war bond drive with two of his brothers and his mother to raise funds for the war effort.
So with just a bit of digging and perseverance, you can document your family stories. Treasured Lives will get things started for you. See our easy pricing plans and contact us today. Make an investment in your past!
Read more inspiring stories:
- Dying Wish Brought Stained Glass Windows Home
- After the Storm: Gulf War Vet Recalls Capture, Torture
- Battle of Shiloh Claims Young Michael Kennedy
- Photo Detective: Finding Sammy Kaufman
- Ruby’s Drive to be Queen of the Bridge
- ‘You Buy the Bonds; the Mulqueens Win the War’
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