Monday, February 24, 2014

52 Week Challenge #6 Great Grandfather Karl Dostal

Karl Dostal is my Great Grandfather, my 
father's father's father.
Karl was born October 11, 1849 possibly in
 Danzig, West Prussia, according
to family tradition. His father was 
Michael Dostal and was a "wandering veterinarian."
His mother was Anna Zivarth Dostal.  Karl
had 2 sisters that lived to adulthood, 
Anna and Louise. 
The family traveled together, from
town to town, following the need for a veterinarian.    
 Some of the towns that my Grandfather
 remembers his parents mentioning  were Potsdam,
 Lindenau, Danzig and Liepzig.
Not much is known to the family
about Karl's parents, beyond their names and 
knowing that work was hard and often scarce
for them.  Karl's mother Anna, died when he and

his sisters were pretty young.  The children were put in
other families to be taken care of.
How difficult for the children.  How 
young to learn such sorrow.

Karl Dostal married Caroline Meyer circa 1878.
Together they worked hard to make a life for themselves 
and their children.  Karl and Caroline were
not land owners, or business owners, 
nor did they have wealth passed down through the family.
Karl worked the land for the wealthy
landowners.  It was likely during this time that much
damage was done to  his back and hips.
He carried a yoke across his shoulders that held
 2 buckets (full of water or manure) out to the fields
time and time again . . . . daily . . . . . fertilizing and watering
the fields.  

*My Grandfather told of how his father walked, bent, with his
legs together from the hip to the knees, and the walking
motion coming from the knee to the foot, not the hip.  His 
back and hips gave him great pain, but it did not
hold him back from work.  Grandpa also said that his
father, Karl, was never ill, and worked every day without fail."

With the thought of a better life, Karl, Caroline and their
3 young children immigrated to America in 1884.
(I am still in search of their passage records and Karl's
Naturalization record.)

Caroline had a brother in Ludington, Mason County, Michigan,
and so it was Ludington that was their destination.  It would
be good to be with family.
After stepping onto American soil, it took 3 months before they
were able to get on their way to Ludington. The
processing for their immigration seemed endless.
The early months in America were certainly
not easy . . .  unable to communicate easily, no home, little money.
Maybe it was not the dream that they were hoping it would be.
Karl and Caroline wondered if they
had made a mistake in making the decision to leave Prussia.

Once Karl and Caroline reached Ludington,
Karl began working at the Stave Mill.  They lived
in an area of town called "Smokey Road," where many of the
immigrants lived.
 As time went along,  money was 
 saved and the day came when they were able to
buy their own farm!  I can only imagine how
that must have felt to them---their own farm!

Grandfather Karl was now a Farmer, a Farmer of his own land.  I wonder
if he had dreamed of this day, if he wondered if it would ever come 
to pass.  It was on his farm, out on his land that Karl fell down, 
in great pain and paralyzed on his left side.  He was taken 
carefully to the house, and it was there that Karl left the pain 
of this world to join his Savior.

Karl Dostal died September 23, 1914.
He is buried in Lakeview Cemetery along Lake Michigan, with 
his family.

The Dostal Home.  Karl and Caroline seated in chairs, youngest child, Helen standing, and my Grandfather, Frederick seated on the ground with the dog.  Holding the horses is thought to be their son, Charles.

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