2016 Jacob O. Oswald Reunion in Beemer, Nebraska

When information first came for the 2016 J.Oswald Reunion I said, “I want to go”. I vaguely remember 2 previous such reunions, one while I was still at home and one after I was married with 2 small children. Both times I went with my parents. Why did I wait so long before I decided to attend again, I don’t know. It is only in recent years that I began to be interested to know our family history. A quote from an article that appeared in the May issue of “Canadian Mennonite” says, “A person who does not know where he or she comes from has no idea where he or she is going;” I don’t know if I believe that totally but I do think it has some validity. I do like hearing and/or reading stories of our ancestors. One of my favorite things to do is to make lists, put things in order, ie: most to least, alphabetically, oldest to youngest, – you get the picture. So when I started to research genealogy working with dates and names I started to ask who were these people, what are their stories, what were their passions, what was their daily life like, so I started to ask questions of my relatives. I soon learned not to expect that they would have a lot of information on the spur of the moment, best to give some time for memories to be triggered, questions lead to other memories. Time spent with relatives, at the 2016 Reunion, I was able to pick up nuances, little pieces of the puzzle; The CD, “2013 Oswald History Presentation” has been very helpful, the family picture is becomming more clear. Some interesting statistics I have gleaned from this reunion:
Jacob O and Margaretha had 12 children – 9 sons-3 daughters – from 1881 to 1901
60 grandchildren from 1908 to 1937 – 15 are still living. Felt privileged to spend time with brothers, Rolland and Sam Oswald Jr. – 2 of Sam and Mary Oswald’s children.
all of William and Mattie’s (our grandparents) children are deceased – William and Mattie had 5 grandchildren before Grandma died in 1942 and 10 before Grandpa died in 1946. 9 of their 32 grandchildren were in attendance-I think they would have been proud of us. I really injoyed 1st cousin time together.
I counted 7 generations, there may be more.
Laurie Robinson, moderator at the 2016 reunion Saturday Morning Storytelling asked us to to identify which of Jacob and Margaretha’s children did we represent then share a story choosing one incident that shaped our perspective on life, shaped your values, changed us. I thought, “ “I really never liked writing essays and I don’t really feel like doing that now, plus I don’t have a clue what incident, if any, has shaped me, and I did not have time to make something up 🙂 ” Now that I have had time to consider, ideas are coming; a matter of discipline and focus to put my thoughts on paper. It’s on my “to-do” list.
Merna Recker graciously offered me rides to and from Omaha airport, a room in her comfortable heritage home of many quilts. Shared the upstairs with Liz and Kenny Ruger. We had fun hearing each others’ stories, just being together, sharing meals, laughter, visiting relatives, picking berries. A real treat to have vine ripened muskmellon for breakfast. Next time I come I want choke cherry jelly on my breakfast bagel.
The William Oswald reunion is scheduled to be in Oregon in 2018. William and Mattie’s genealogy was current at the time. I will be asking for a family update from everyone; the list continues to grow. What I really want from William and Mattie Oswald’s decendants are your stories. I know I have asked you previously for this favor, so far nothing has come my way, but I do not despair. Each of you has a story that is unique to you, none else compares. You think that you do not have anything to write about, not true! A quote from Flannery O’Conner in Mystery and Manners, says, “Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.” My plan is to compile information of the William and Mattie descendants into a book for future generations to peruse, giving them opportunity to know where they came from and where they are going.
. The J.O. 2016 Reunion is now behind me, I returned to Dawson Creek on the 20th of July enriched by the experience of spending precious time with family, reconnecting, getting to know each other better, listening to each other’s stories, feeling like I would really like to spend more time together.
Weather patterns in the Peace River Country have been a bit unusal. We’ve had ample rain, thunder storms, some hail, high humidity, above normal temperatures. The upside: rain and warm temperatures has caused all things to be lush and green, lots of berries to be picked – (if you want to risk meeting a bear) – crops are showing promise of aboundant harvest. The downside: so much rain caused our town to be flooded. Roads, culverts and bridges need repair and replacing, homes need to be restored. It even causes a problem at the landfill as people bring flood damaged material to be disposed of. Hours of devastion cause weeks/months of labor to fix the damage. Farmers are challenged to get the generous hay crop picked up before the next shower.
I have researched Grandma Erb/Oswald genealogy. I found some facts but we still don’t know much about her as a person. I don’t recall our parents talking about their Mom and Dad. Grandma Oswald’s parents were:
Jacob S. Erb and Veronica S “Fannie” Kennel – (can’t imagine how the “Fannie” was arrived at)
Jacob was born 20 July 1858
Veronica “Fannie” was born 22 July 1860
both born in Ontario, Canada
They were married 28 February 1882 in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada – Immigrated to Nebraska in 1885
They had 7 children:
Elizabeth born in 1883 and another daughter (I could not make out the name from the census record) born in 1884 in Canada. 6 more children were born in Nebraska
Mattie – our grandma – 1886
Catherine – 1889
Katie – 1890
Albert – 1893
John – 1896
Harry – 1902 – died at 4 years old
I’m a little confused because one source tells me they had 6 children, another tells me 8.
Would be interesting to know the story of why their parents came to Canada, then subsequently mover to Nebraska
They were members of Pleasant Hill Amish Mennonite Church in Holt County, O’Neill Nebraska
Veronica “Fannie” died in 1915. Jacob remarried in 1916 to Mattie Erb, his brother’s widow, his late wife’s sister. Jacob died in 1937.

I want to hear your stories.be thinking about it. Just begin – add ancedotes as they come to you. Before you know it you will have several pages to share by the 2018 WO Reunion. Also give me your updated information for the William and Mattie genealogy.

Something you may not know about me is: I have a whole drawer full – (plus a garbage bag full) – of plastic containers that I have saved from cottage cheese, sour cream, yogurt, margarine, etc. When I reuse them the lids must match the bottoms exactly, otherwise all is not well in my world.

Life is short, and we do not have too much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel the way with us. So be swift to love, make haste to be kind, and may the blessing of God, the father,son and Holy Spirit, be with you. Amen – Amen? – Amen!
Betty Oswald/Good