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A Fortunate Passage Excerpts
The Story of A Fortunate Passage
My Grandparents journeyed from opposite ends of the globe into America’s heartland. Displaced by heart-wrenching circumstances and orphaned at age five, my grandfather “Hiram” finds his way from devastated Georgia and its Civil War aftermath to an early Kansas frontier. Martha, my grandmother, the youngest daughter of Volga-German immigrants, struggles with a settler’s existence on an arid, primitive, high plateau of the “Great American Desert.” They meet early in the century, and together they raise a family in the midst of a world war. From their austere beginnings, both earnestly strive with courage and purpose to do what is right during their passage through life. This story of their chaotic beginnings and continuing life challenges paints a poignant picture of life in an early 1900s society during this most”Fortunate Passage.”
Why document the family history? My grandmother told me stories when I was a young boy, and I was awestruck by her lessons of the past. She particularly held my attention when sharing her vivid memories of growing up on a wheat farm and the very hard times she endured. She told me stories of her struggle to raise her family and deal with my grandfather’s dying a tragic death from a ruptured appendix at such a young age. Her story was, of course, a selective view, considering the austerity in which her family existed. Nevertheless, I was eager to hear those memories and accounts of sacrifice.
I marveled at her (our) family’s determination to endure and succeed despite many challenges. I admired her humble attitude of faith, determination, and work ethic. It set the stage for me to accept the hard work and intense times I would face…
There are many stories of our family that will be explored in this family history. It is my pledge to be as factual as possible, presenting supportive documentation to reinforce the telling of my family’s ancestry, journeys, and footprint in a new land.
~ Grady T. Birdsong, Author