“UNCONSECRATED GROUND” (2) … POSTSCRIPT ” Wonders of the www
I never cease to be amazed at how intimately the internet can connect us – sometimes with inevitable sad results, but more importantly and more frequently, with surprising, happy, amazing results.
I first learned of my great aunt Katie Dietz’s 1903 death, in 1988 when I met Velda Gilbert. Velda told me the sad story.
I was haunted by Katie’s story. How did she become pregnant? Who was the father? Was is it unrequited love; was the man married; was it a rape? What happened to him – did he suffer any repercussions or did he go on to marry, have children, and live !?
Also, I was haunted by the thought of an unmarried great-great aunt, single at 29 years of age, living on a rural Muskoka farm with her immigrant Dad and a brother. No woman to talk to – Mom dead a few years earlier, sisters dead or married and away to raise their own families. How lonely for Katie. No cars. Walking, or horse and buggie, the only mode of transport for reaching a train station, or visiting family a few towns away.
Katie’s story to me was symbolic of all women who found themselves isolated, pregnant, not understanding much about how their bodies worked; feeling the intense social and religious intolerance and disgust for an unmarried, pregnant girl or woman, with no blame placed on the man involved. The unfairness of it still stuns me, causes my teeth to clench and my chest to tighten.
Now in 2013, one hundren and ten years following Katie’s suicide, another connection, this one due to the internet, and Katie is once again talked about and remembered ……..
I came across your story entitled,” Unconsecrated Ground“, today. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised to see that someone else, other than my family, knew about Katie, so long after the fact. Well written and presented.
I was in Germania in 2007 visiting family and I walked down to have a visit with Katie. I don’t recall seeing the stone there anymore but my wife says there was a small portion still visible, the rest having sunk into the soil. I felt very uncomfortable with the fact that she was buried down in that corner all by herself. Times were different in those days I guess. Still!! You do of course know the whole story I assume? Very tragic.
My great great grandfather Heinrick Gilbert was the first internment in the cemetery in 1872 and the land for church and cemetery was donated by my great grandfather William Gilbert. The big old house across from the Church was the original Gilbert homestead although the old section of the house had been torn down in the 1970’s.
I am kin to Susannah Dietz who married a first cousin , Valentine Schinbein. Also , my uncle Bob Gilbert often spoke of friend Billy Dietz. Nice chatting!
PS: Aunt Velda is still alive at 97 years old.”
It is so wonderful to hear from you Gary. You have no idea. This again validates Katie’s existence. And to learn that your Aunt Velda is still alive – so very wonderful and amazing. Please give her a hug from me & tell her how very much I appreciated the serendipitous moment when I knocked on her door and she was there and so willing to share the incredible story of Katie. It has always haunted me. I am so pleased that you touched base. You mention Susannah & Billy Dietz – I have William b 1875 who lived on the farm with Adam & Katie when all the rest had gone, married, etc. But who are Billie & Susannah? Who were there parents – Conrad’s line? May I share your note on my story?
Gary said yes, so there you have it – the world wide web bring together unlikely people and stories.
See original post: “Unconsecrated Ground” . Good Blood . Katie 1903 .” posted 2013/04/08 https://inknpetals.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/unconsecrated-ground-good-blood-chapter-1/