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Monday, November 22, 2010

The Kauflin-Mathis Wedding and Vanishing New Gretna Surnames

One thing that I have noticed in my 35 years of living in New Gretna is the change in the family makeup of the town. When Jackie and I moved here in the mid 1970's most of the families in town had connections to the old, founding families in the area - the Mathis, Cramer, Allen, Adams, Loveland, Lamson, French, Maxwell, and Sears families. The school population reflected this fact, as the students surnames echoed those of the old New Gretna families.

Today is another matter. You would be hard pressed to list a significant number of families with old New Gretna ties or find many old New Gretna surnames on our present elementary school roster. Seems that the old names are fast disappearing as today's mobile society has encouraged a migration of those with old families ties out of New Gretna. Also, the "Atlantic City phenomena" has caused an influx of new families in town as New Gretna has morphed from a small close knit community with local businesses and vibrant churches into a more impersonal bedroom community. Ah, the price of progress!

Another reason for the present dearth of old New Gretna surnames is the marrying of the old family girls into families with no New Gretna ties. The roots are still here, but the tree has a different name. The following illustrates this point.

On July 21, 1938 there was a wedding between Milton Kauflin and Mildred Mathis. Mildred's New Gretna pedigree ran deep, she being a direct descendant to the Great John Mathis, the first permanent settler in Bass River. Milton, a second generation New Gretna-ite, was the son of Charles and Eva Kauflin of South Maple Avenue who ran a local saw mill for many years which had a significant impact on the local community in his providing lumber for local ship builders and for many New Gretna's houses.

Charles Kauflin, the groom's father, ran a saw mill on South Maple Avenue for many years. (Photo courtesy of Ron and Carol Kauflin Nicklow.)
The wedding took place in the South Maple Avenue home built for the newlyweds with lumber sawn in the Kauflin sawmill. Milton was 23 years old and Mildred was 17.

Milton and Mildred Mathis Kauflin's house on South Maple Avenue where the 1938 wedding took place. (March 6, 2007 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

Elizabeth "Lib" Schutte and her husband, George. Lib was the matron of honer at the Kauflin-Mathis wedding. (Photo courtesy of Betty Schutte Kalm, Elizabeth's daughter.)

Carlton Maxwell and Helen Mathis. Carlton was the best man at the Kauflin-Mathis Wedding. (Photo courtesy of Marian C. Broome.)

There are no known wedding photos of the happy couple. Following is a photo taken some years after the wedding.

Milton and Mildred Mathis Kauflin
(Photo courtesy of Ron and Carol Kauflin Nicklow.)

Mildred and Milton were blessed with a daughter, Carol, in 1947.

Carol Kauflin, age 4 months.
(Photo courtesy of Ron and Carol Kauflin Nicklow.)

Carol went on to marry Ronald Nicklow. They lived out of the area for many years but have since returned to Carol's New Gretna roots and currently live in the remodeled Kauflin home where the 1938 wedding took place. Remnants of the old Kauflin saw mill still stand in their back yard.

Ron and Carol Kauflin Nicklow at the New Gretna Presbyterian Church pulpit. (May 19, 2002 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

So, here we have a case of someone with old New Gretna family ties, Carol Kauflin Nicklow, a descendant of the Great John Mathis, with a "foreign" surname. Again, the roots are still here, but the tree has a different name. It is the genealogist's great dilemma!

I'm sure that there are other examples of New Gretna residents with old New Gretna family roots still living in the community but with a name that has no New Gretna connection. Can anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere give me another example?

Pete S

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back Mr Stemmer,

    Surely there must be a few Leeks running about? Sadly, I never knew any of my Leek relatives just over the bridge to the North, but based upon what my grandmother described, and from my own genealogical research, I'd assume there were a few Leek families yet to be found in New Gretna or thereabouts.

    But as I mentioned, I never met anyone from the Leek side of my family, and only recently gazed upon the face of my 2nd great grandmother for the first time after noticing a picture in 'Heart of the Pines' with a caption beneath, identifying the subject as: Lucretia Applegate Leek, who is my grandmother's grandmother. I was pleased to notice She looks very much like her.

    I do think it a bit odd that the male lines of the old families have been transplanted, with only female descendants of the Mathis, Adams, and Lovelands remaining to bear genetic testomony to these great founding families' former presence. Thank God, or maybe But there are still plenty of Gibersons over here in Port Republic and Galloway, right where we've always been for 300+ years. We're not very adventurous souls I suppose, and like it fine where we are.

    If you are running low on Sooys, maybe we can reintroduce some of ours from our domestic breeding programme back into the wilds of New Gretna and Wading river.