In a previous post, I introduced you to the very large Haitz family of Ripley, Ohio. Today, I want to concentrate on my great-grandmother, Henrietta, the mother of those sixteen children.
Henrietta Koewler was born in Ripley, Ohio on December 2, 1880 to immigrant parents, Anton (Anthony) and Henrietta (Fischer) Koewler. She was the seventh of eight children in the family. At the age of twenty-one, she married Joseph Haitz and lived on the farm where she would raise her family. On the twenty-third of March 1965, Henrietta, a widow, died in her home from a heart attack. She is buried in Maplewood Cemetery in Ripley.
Sadly, that is about the extent of what I know about Henrietta. Although I was born in Brown County, I did not live there after the age of three as my father was in the military which took us to various posts out of the Ohio area. Even though I am sure I saw her before age three, the only memories of my great-grandmother come from the few times I went with my grandfather, George Henry Haitz, to her house while on summer vacations during the two years preceding her death.
I remember those warm summer evenings, sitting on her porch steps while she, sitting in a porch swing, talked to my grandfather. Unfortunately, as a result of where I sat in relation to the swing, her face is not in my memories. When I think of my great-grandmother, only her legs come to mind which is why, if I live to see great-grandchildren, I will make sure they sit on my lap and not at my feet!
While I may not have many memories of her, I am sure that with having sixteen children and living on a farm without our modern conveniences, Henrietta's life was not an easy one. I often wonder how she managed those necessary everyday tasks such as laundry, cooking, and keeping a house clean while raising her children and, probably, helping with farm chores. Her life and dreams must have been put on a "back burner" as there was no time to pursue any personal goals. Her goals, most likely, would have been to live each day the best she could and make sure her family was fed, clothed, and well. I wish I was able to sit with her on that porch swing today, listening as she shared stories about her life. I have no doubt that she could teach all of us more than just a few lessons about priorities, life, and family!