Saturday, March 20, 2010

My Heritage...

Nearly forgot today!  This is my Father's Christening picture.  John Sober Hummel was born October 10, 1912.  He was next to the oldest boy born into a family that would eventually have eleven children.  The family were farmers who originated in Pennsylvania.  Hummelstown, PA in either Lancaster or Northumberland County (Dad used to tell me, but without researching, I'm afraid I don't remember which).  Family members fought alongside George Washington in the Revolutionary War.  My Father's family had acquired several farms prior to the crash of 1929 when my Grandfather speculated by acquiring more land.  He ended up losing everything.  The family was set out of their home by the local sheriff in the winter.  The youngest brother, Ezra, had just been born.  They were allowed to keep a few meager belongings, a team of horses, a wagon and a milk cow.  Dad talked about finding an abandoned shack down by the river and how they boarded it up and moved into it.  The baby caught pneumonia and died.  Life for the family was very difficult after that.  My father was taken out of school to find day labor to help feed the family.  He had been a very good student who loved school and lived out his life regretting that he'd never been able to complete his education.  He was a very hardworking man and he instilled a strong moral fortitude in his children.  Life was hard and unfair for him, but I can honestly say that he lived it to the best of his ability and never took advantage of another human being.  


  1. Very nice photo! It looks like the gown has very intricate detailing. FYI, Hummelstown is in Dauphin County, PA now, but was originally part of Lancaster County. What a tragic story you have to tell. My mother's family went through a similar experience. I'm certain there's many, many Depression-era stories like ours. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I would rather my father have a reputation as an honest hardworking man like yours than a no-good alcoholic like mine was. I loved him but find so many stories just like mine. That is a wonderful story of your father. The christening gown is a cherished recollection of a time gone by. Great SS Blessings

  3. A sad story --but those last two lines are an epitaph anyone could be proud of.

  4. We can't begin to imagine what life must have been like for your father. To think, in this photograph, these hardships couldn't have been further from his mind. Nice post.

  5. Your Father Lived a Worthy Life Indeed.
    I notice how so many families in the States were scarred by the Events of 1929.History Has Echoes That Ring Down The Decades.
    A Lovely Photo.Thank You.

  6. This is a very nice tribute to your father- a hard-working, honest man ,devoted to his family.
    The photo displays a blonde baby with lively eyes and an inviting smile.

  7. Patty - Thanks for the update on Hummelstown. My brother took me there a few years ago. It was interesting to go to the museum and see relics of our family. The cemetery provided even more information. I must say I was disappointed, however, when we asked to speak to one of the museums managers. I have a family account book that dates into the 1700's. One of my ancestors was a blacksmith. The entries begin in German and switch over to English. Each entry sets out a family name (which I thought would be of interest to the museum) and tells the work done and fee received (some money and some stock, feed, etc.) The book is in pristine condition and I had hoped to donate it to the local museum, however, when there appeared to be no interest from the individual we spoke with I kept it and will pass it along to my sons.

    Thanks for straightening out my information. My Father always told the family stories but of course never got to visit PA.

  8. QueenMotherMamaw - I'm sorry for your Father's challenge. Some of our elders had heavy crosses to bear and could only cope though addiction. I'm glad there was goodness enough in him to help you love him.

    Vicki - My Father took great pride in being an honest man. He married late in life to save my Mother (11 years his junior) from an unbearable family situation. He was a decent, good man who worked hard his whole life and provided the best he could first for his brothers and sisters and last for his wife and children. I am blessed to have been his daughter.

    Martin - I'm sure it was more difficult for him since his early years had been lived in a well-to-do family and then he was reduced to accepting commodities to help feed his brothers and sisters. He had to walk 14 miles roundtrip to go to the County seat to pick up commodities (beans, rice, etc.) then carry it back home. He did this every week along with working a hard labor job to earn their meager income. In my mind he was a Great Man.

    Tony - Thanks so much for your comment. It's so humbling to think about what our parents/grandparents experienced to bring us to this juncture.

    Duta - My Father was a beautiful child and grew into a handsome man. (IMHO) His laughter I still hear in my head and his moral teachings served to keep me on the straight and narrow my entire life. I learned the lesson young that you must accept responsibility for your actions (You make your bed, you lie in it.). To this day I don't even cross against a yellow light in a cross-walk. Honesty is always the best choice.

  9. I am always in awe of people like your father, who live a life of hardship and yet are generous and hardworking.
    P.S. I can't believe the museum wasn't interested in that book. Shame on them.

  10. Yes, a lovely photograph. And a story that seems to mirror the story of your country. Such stories should be told and retold, such photographs should be shared as widely as possible.