Welcome to My World

It has taken me quite some time to come to the decision that a blog was the proper way for me to create and store my efforts at preserving history as my family has experienced it and as I have experienced it.

This past week I was delivering a talk to our United Methodist Men group at St. Paul UMC here in Jonesboro concerning genealogy and family histories.  One of the main points I made to them was the difference between the facts and dates of genealogy which I called the skeleton of an ancestor, and the real life stories that happened to us and our ancestors.  While the dates and locations of various events are important, they really don’t tell who an individual is/was, it takes real life stories and feelings to know who a person was.

The average age of our Methodist mens group is probably about 65+.  I tried to emphasize to them that even though they think they don’t have a story that anyone would be interested in, someday they decedents would cherish the opportunity to hear their story.  While the facts, locations, and dates might tell where major events happened, they will never explain why decisions were made.  Only a personal telling of a story can do that.

The major focus on this blog is going to be some of the family stories of relatives, such as my Great Grandma Jessie Louise Kapelle (Smith) who was brought to the US by her grandparents from Germany.   Her father staying in the “old country.”  Then in her late teen years she hears of her father having come to this country also and she travels halfway across the country to meet him.  At which points he rejects her.  We will investigate this and ask the questions of how/why a father could do this.

We will also look at my Great grandfather John A. Lakey on my dad’s side of the family.  He had a family in the western part of Tennessee during the Civil war and made the decision not to fight for the Rebel cause like so many of his neighbors, but to join the fight with the 6th Tennessee Calvary Regiment USA to keep the union together.  What would drive a man to place his family in such a precarious position?  We will ask those questions.

Then in addition to talking about various ancestors, I will do what I advised those Methodist men to do and attempt to preserve some of my own family story and experiences.

Personally, if this blog is never read by anyone other than my family, that will be ok, because they are the ones I am actually writing it for.  It might be 15 years before any of them read it, but that will be ok also.  The idea is to preserve the stories for as long as possible, and if someday they contribute to a study of the time I grew up in, that is great.



1 Comment

Filed under Introduction

One response to “Welcome to My World

  1. David Kapell

    Hello Dan: My name is David Kapell, a distant relative of yours, who knows a little about your great great grandfather Christian Heinrich Kapelle. He did not “stay in the old country” but was actually an American pioneer of the Kapelle family coming here in 1883 with his brother Fredrik Vilhelm, while Jessie’s mother Magdelene was pregnant with your great grandmother Jessie. Jessie came to America a year later, arriving on May 16, 1884 with 6 other members of the Kapelle family. My guess is that Christian, known as Henry C. Kapelle in America, came here out of desperation AND looking for an opportunity to feed his new unborn child. Germany at the time was in tough economic times. Your great grandmother, Magdalene Uhl died in Germany in late 1884 or 1885, soon after Jessie’s birth and was possibly too sick (or already dead) and didn’t come to America – thats’s why Jessie travelled with her uncle’s family – her dad was already here washing dishes in New York City working his way up to a job at GE in Schenectady in or before 1907. I have a vague theory why your grandmother was rejected by him. As far as I can tell, your great great grandparents in Germany, Christian and Magdalene were never married and this would have caused an uproar with Christian’s father, our ggreat-grandfather Heinrich Ernst, a STRICTLY religious man. Before Heinrich reformed his ways he “hooked up” with our gggreat-grandmother out of wedlock. It appears that when the “bump’ became evident, he and his wife were banished to Denmark by his father Johann, where 6 children including your gggrandfather Christian Heinrich were born. Heinrich Ernst was VERY religious and strict according to family history (with 13 kids to rein in – how could you NOT be?) and probably taunted, humiliated and demeaned Christian to the point of despair about his perceived immoral behavior. This could explain why Heinrich, Jessie and the 1884 gang went straight to Kansas while the 1883 duo of Christian and Frederik stayed in New York until Frederik re-united with his father and brothers in Oklahoma in the early 1900’s. Christian’s side, sans Jessie, always remained in New York ……..ostracized from the rest of the Kapelle’s. I’ve got tons more…….. Nice too meet you, cousin!

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