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La Charrette Village

Interested in what Lewis & Clark, Daniel Boone, Zebulon Pike, John Colter, President Jefferson and other notables thought about America's newly acquired westernmost village? Enjoy the west...before it became distorted by TV, movies and novels.

Location: Port Aransas, Texas, United States

A retired professor of Food and Animal Science at Texas A&M University, The University of Connecticut and Texas Tech. A cowboy in my previous life...never thought about being a professor or an author.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Grandma's House

Maria Lavina Ahmann was the eldest of thirteen children born in Charrette Township like all of my immediate ancestors. Their ancestors were all either from Lippe or Westphalia, Germany and arrived at Charrette Landing between 1833 and 1860. When eighteen she married Karl Heinrich Rocklage in 1887. By then the Ahmanns and Rocklages owned the western farms once part of La Charrette Village. Karl and Mary lived in Charrette Bottoms in the same cabin that Daniel Boone favored the last years of his life when visiting his daughter and son-in-law, Jamimia and Flanders Callaway. Previously, Syndic Joseph Chartran owned this property but it is not known with certainty whether or not Mary and Karl's cabin was the same one Chartran lived in. Regardless, their first two babies were born there, Amanda Elise in 1888 and Ida Marie in 1890. The title link of Margy Miles provides a virtual tour about the unusually picturesque environs of Charrette Creek were they lived.

As this young family anticipated better times, they moved further up the Missouri River to Ray County and bought cheaper farmland. They lived in the now extinct community of Sunshine. But 'sunshine' was soon diminished for Mary as on August 22, 1902 Karl had died, probably the victum of Typhoid Fever acquired from the impure drinking water. Mary then returns to Marthasville to her parents by a combination of horse drawn wagons and train. She was now a young widow with Amanda, Ida, Carl, Martha, Anna, Flora and Clara at her side. Otto and Elsie Ahmann, her parents, 'adopted' the family. Mary was totally dependant upon her parents for support except for her earnings from sewing for others and help from the community and the children. For about one-year they lived together in their home on the Missouri River Bluff immediately west of the Marthasville viaduct crossing the Katy Railroad. Otto then builds Mary a little house just east of his in Marthasville. Being a frugal German, he and family members dismantled an old home on one of his Charrette Bottom farms to aid in the construction of my Grandma's House. Which cabin of La Charrette Village or other structure was involved has never been resolved but Mary's lifelong connection to that nitch of history is indeed rich. Grandma died on November 15, 1955, the only grandparent I ever knew. Her grandsons served as pallbearers to include myself and Carl Rocklage shown in a rear-side view admiring our restored Grandma's Home.

Memories of the richest variety... going to Grandma's House.

Today, Linda Sutterer, a stained glass artist, has expanded the home to accomodate her studio. She offers handmade ornaments, fused glass and related art work while instructing students there.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great story about a Grandmother with a rich, rich history. She was also a Grandmother who extended great compassion and love to her grandchildren. An excellent seamstress. I remember her looking at the width of my sholders as she cut the fabric on the table for my dress. (No pattern.) Of course, all her garments had a perfect fit.
Another grandchild of Mary Rocklage,
Virginia Gallian

1:09 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Grandparents play an important, perhaps pivotal role in connecting children to the past.

In my own experience, the past was as close as the reins and rigging still hanging on the barn wall at my grandparent's farm in southwest Missouri, the "stolen" honey in a crockery jar in the pantry, the old woodstove, the now unused smokehouse, the cellar that smelled of dirt where my grandmother kept the vegetables she had canned, just over the potato bin.

In reading "La Charrette," my thoughts kept returning to my grandparents house and farm because it is there I received my love of history and the connection with a previous era which extended into well into the 19th century.

2:11 PM  

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