Hilda Elizabeth Krause Miller (1921-1997): An Autobiography

Transcribed and redacted with Introduction, Miscellaneous Material,
Conclusion and in-script  [commentary] by
Larry Pearce
Final edit by
Susan Miller Pearce, daughter
4/9/18

Hilda Krause & Dick Miller
c. 1942

TABLE OF ARTICLE CONTENTS:
Click 1. INTRODUCTION
Click 2. GENEALOGY & FAMILY
Click 3. EARLY LIFE IN SOUTHERN SOMERSET COUNTY
Click 4. MOVE TO THE PRESBYTERIAN FARM, JENNERSTOWN
Click 5. MOVE TO THE JENNERSTOWN SOUTH SIDE FARM
Click 6. MARRIAGE OF HILDA & DICK  AND WORLD WAR II
Click 7. BUILDING A HOME WITH DAN & SUSAN
Click 8. LATER YEARS: A SUMMARY & CONCLUSION
Click 9. OTHER ARTICLES ON THE KRAUSE AND MILLER FAMILIES

1. INTRODUCTION

My wife Susan’s late father, Richard O. Miller (1920-2015) kept many things that were only discovered as we settled his final affairs, including postcards, letters and personal journals. One of the absolute treasures, however, was a handwritten, double-sided 15-page autobiography of Hilda Elizabeth Krause Miller, Susan’s mother and Richard’s wife. The account seems to ramble at times, repeating itself, although Hilda did attempt to edit and number the pages. The fact is that the work is so massive and intertwined that I felt it was best to transcribe, redact, introduce, comment on, and present the information in ten chapters, as seen below. You need to know that her daughter, my wife, Susan had the complete editorial power to redact and/or remove items that were too personal or too sensitive to include. It remains to be seen if this information will ever be made “public,” especially while relatives are still living. If not always obliging, Hilda was honest and forthright about the way she felt. She never minced words. Unfortunately, Hilda passed away in 1997, before she could write down the facts and her feelings about the marriages of her children, the birth of her grandchildren, and the later lives of her and Richard. One wonders if she didn’t have a sense of her own mortality and wanted to “set the records straight” concerning what was truly important to her before she died. I have taken the liberty of summarizing all of the 17-plus years between her death and that of her husband in chapter eight. The final section is a simple list of other articles on this webpage pertaining to this beloved couple. My nature as a genealogist and writer is to juggle several balls in the air at the same time. So, even as I completed the transcription of Hilda’s autobiography, I began to read and consider thirteen years of journals written by husband Richard. They began only three months after her death, I believe as a coping mechanism. When my summary of these priceless recordings is complete, you’ll follow Richard’s many activities, listings of phone calls and visitors, medical procedures, including open heart surgery and cataract removal, changes of residence, and life without his beloved wife of 55 years. So we begin by hearing the voice of Hilda Miller as, not unlike the genealogical introduction in the Gospel of Matthew, she establishes her bloodline.

Charles “Pop” &
Annie Lee “Mom” Krause
c. 1950

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2. GENEALOGY & FAMILIES

[Beginning of Hilda Krause Miller’s autobiography] Ferdinand Krause, [my grandfather, was] born April 8, 1840 and died January 29, 1912. [He] married Margaret Georg. They were [both] born in Germany and [emigrated to the] Cove, [in western] MD. They had eight children plus one boy born dead and one that lived only a few days. These were the parents of Charles Frederick Krause, [my father]. He was born January 20, 1884 at Cove, MD. He had five brothers and five sisters. On July 19, 1908, Charles married Annie Lee, a descendant of Thomas Lee, bornNovember 15, 1816. Elizabeth Brenneman, [his wife, was] born November 15, 1816. They were married October 3, 1842. Christian Lee, [my maternal grandfather,] a son of Thomas Lee, was born July 24, 1855. [He] married Laura Speicher [who was] born January 21, 1859. Christian and Laura were married October 18, 1883. They were Old Order Amish and had six children. One daughter, Annie Lee, married Charles Frederick Krause July 19, 1908, in the German Lutheran Church at Cove, MD. They lived various places and had eight children: Ernest, Harry, Floyd [Alton], Clyde, Olive, Ralph [Pud], Hilda, and Lawrence.

My [brother Ernest (1909-1980)] was so much older than I. He would get headaches and was impossible to live with. [After his public schooling,] he worked at some mill in Baltimore, later coming back to Pennsylvania to set up an electric shop. He did well in this work, wiring homes, fixing electric motors, etc. He had big hands, but in spite of this he could fix tiny things. When he came back to PA, [his] children were still in school. Mary [his wife] was sick for years with a  kidney disease. She died in 1946 and was buried at the Kaufman Cemetery near Davidsville, PA. Ernest later married Mary [Coons] Mayor. She had a son Martin from a previous husband. Between [this Mary and he], they had two boys, Bill and John. Shirley and Donnie [from Ernest’s first marriage] grew up. Shirley married Jim McGory of Pittsburgh. They had two sons, Jim and David. They too grew up and are married with one or two children. Donnie married Emily Airsman. They lived around Jennerstown [where the Krause family farm was located], ran a fruit stand, [and] worked with his dad. Donnie and Emily had four children: Linda, Kathy, Don, Jr., and Barbara. Donnie and Emily left this area and moved to D.C. He became a Policeman there and got a government job. [Their oldest child] Linda got married and had one son, divorced her husband who took their son with him. She later had a little girl. Kathy married and had three children. Donnie, Jr. married and had one child. Barbara married and has one daughter. They all live in Virginia. Bill and John grew up and [each] married. Bill married Susie and they have two children. John Married Judy, and they have three girls. Both Bill and John do electrical work [like their father].

Second in the family was Harry [(1910-1970)]. He too married, a sister of [brother Ernest’s first wife] Mary. [Her name was] Alma Kaufman. They also lived close home [to the farm] and we babysat their kids all the time. They had Ronnie, Jerry, David, Jim, Rita, and Fred. They bought the farm with my dad that was owned by Harry’s wife, Alma’s [family]. The kids all grew up there, went to school, and got married. Ron married Pat Saylor. They had three sons, Eddie, Dwight, who died of cancer, [and] Dennis, and [a daughter] Betty Ann. Eddie married but [got divorced]. Dennis married and had two boys. Mary Ann worked at a daycare and is not yet married. [Father] Ronnie work[ed] as a carpenter [before his passing,] and Pat work[ed] at the Windber nursing home. They are a very caring, loving family.

[Harry’s second son] Jerry married Donna Hollsopple. They lived on the farm in a double-wide home. [Their] two children grew up there: Brian and Pam. Both are married with children. Jerry ran the fruit stand [after Donnie moved to the Washington, DC area] and helped some on the farm. [His father] Harry had a milk business plus the farming with my dad. [Brother] David helped on the farm, and [brother] Jim helped too. He married Judy and had one child, Chris. Jim was killed in an accident when his car hydroplaned into another auto. His wife later remarried. [Sister] Rita married Charlie Showman. They had a son. Rita divorced Charlie and married again, taking her son with her. She lives in Virginia. [Brother] Fred married and they had a son, Freddie.

[Father] Harry had an aneurism of the brain and was rushed to the hospital in Somerset where his died. The boys [continued to run] the farm. They finally [sold the farm]. [My] mom cared for all those kids while [their mother] Alma was operated on for a brain tumor above her eye. When she came home, she was like a child.  Harry must have had some kind of a sickness. He was so tired all the time and could fall asleep anywhere. He was mild-mannered.

My youngest brother [Lawrence] bought [the farm]. Mom died there in 1971. She [must have been] broken-hearted. She lapsed into a coma soon after she got down sick. She said, “I want to tell you something,” and I honestly think it was about what [had happened with] the farm. She opened her eyes one night before she died, after I had put cream on her dry face and hands. She looked at me as I stood by her bed and glanced at [my husband] Dick coming in the door, for only a moment, then closing [her eyes] only to die a day or two later. To this day, I know she knew we were with her, and I was so happy she did.

[Harry’s wife] Alma got a job. All [her kids] were married [then], I think, but Dave, He was in an auto accident where one of his best friends was killed. He married Barbara Butcher and they have one son. 

[Harry and Alma’s oldest son] Ron live[d] in Davidsville. Jerry live[d] on the farm [until his death. He ran an auto repair shop across the road [where the fruit market was]. [His wife] Donna work[ed] for the water authority in Jennerstown. Dave lives [nearby] in Ferrellton and Rita in Virginia. [After Harry’s death] Alma moved to Boswell and lived with Dave. She [later] moved to the [public housing] project and lived by herself. She died of a heart attack or blood clot. Harry and Alma are buried in the Kaufman Cemetery, [Davidsville], along with a baby who died in infancy. Jim was buried in Jennerstown next to my mom and dad.

Floyd Alton Krause
(1913-1978)

[Floyd] Alton [(1913-1978)], the third brother, was a very likable person, kind, gentle, and caring. He was home until he grew up. He went to Boswell high School, played football, and everyone liked him. He worked in the Bethlehem Steel of Lorain Steel Plant in Johnstown. Before, he worked at Stoughton’s Green Gables Restaurant [in Jennerstown]. He and a friend [set out to hitch-hike clear to the West Coast, only to get into an argument on the way and split up. They somehow ended up in the same car again after separating for a long time, each going their own way. [Eventually] they came home together. Alton had many friends. All the brothers and Dad had blue eyes and Mom and the two girls, brown. In my estimation, [Alton] was very nice looking with personality plus. He married Genevieve Overdorff, whom I liked very much. Their children were: Debbie, Becky, Alton, Jr. “Butch,” Sandy, and a good many years later came Cindy. He lived in new Hampshire working in the shipyards. He [eventually] moved to Idaho and gold-mined in the mountains out there. He also lived in Texas, Wyoming, and all over the U.S., enjoying every minute with his family. He did so enjoy his life and family. 

Alton’s children grew up here and there, Debbie married [and] had three daughters. Becky married Fred Deckert. They had two girls, Heidi and Joanna. They spent time in Germany where Fred was born and went to school. Becky wrote my folks letters while there and kept in touch with them, which I thought was so very nice for a young person. She was so thoughtful. They came home and moved to Philadelphia. Fred was a scientist, very bright, [but they] divorced. Becky was a real estate agent but thought [that] they were [all] so dishonest, so she quit and went back to Wyoming to live. Heidi got married. Joanna married and divorced. 

“Butch” [Alton, Jr.] married, had two boys, divorced, and remarried. He live[d] in Arizona [before his passing]. Sandy married Jay Cristler. They live in Wyoming. He had a daughter to a previous marriage. They live on a ranch and raise sheep and cattle. We had much fun visiting them. Cindy married Laurin Leonhardt, who was married before. He had children to that previous marriage. They too live and work in Wyoming.

Clyde [(1915-2008)] was the fourth child [to my mom and pop]. He grew up then worked in Johnstown. He met Jean Trostle and married her. They moved to Baltimore where he worked in the shipyards and later for the gas and electric company. Jean worked for the Baltimore police. They had one son, Warren, who married and divorced. He works for a printer. Clyde enjoyed his life doing crafts , making candy, woodworking, painting and carving. [He worked] at a church food and soup kitchen or anything he wanted to do. He too was natured like my oldest brother [Ernest], he was good to us. He was a big man.

Krause kids @ Mom & Pop’s, Salisbury (c.1922):
Toots, Clyde, Alton, Harry, & Ernest

Olive [(1917-2014)], [known as “Toots,] the first girl [in Mom and Pop’s family], grew up and went to Boswell High. [She] worked at Green Gables and the [sewing] factory [in Boswell]. She was my only sister. She married Herbert Adams. He worked in the steel mills in Johnstown. They had two sons, Larry and Paul. Larry was born with heart problems. He would say when he was little that his “motor hurt.” He lived until he was 17 and died in school in spite of a heart operation. His death almost sent Herb and Olive out of their minds. Paul moved out [of the house]. [The parents] were hurt. Olive became a nurse at Lee Hospital [in Johnstown]. [After retiring, Herb and Olive] moved to Florida where they live[d until their passing. Paul remained in Johnstown and work[ed] as an eye doctor [until he too moved to Florida to be with his parents].  [Olive] did wonderful paintings. They ha[d] a beautiful home and automobile. Somehow I know they miss[ed] Paul [when he stayed up North].  Larry was buried in Richland Cemetery, [Johnstown]. He was very talented.

Ralph [(1919-2011)] was the next [Krause] boy. As I remember him, he seemed to be determined to do his own thing. We called him “Pud,” a nickname given to him when he was little. Pud quit school in eighth grade. He helped on the farm, later to join the military police (MPs) in Virginia. He was there for a number of years. He dated a girl, became engaged later, [only] to get mad and throw the ring in the Potomac River. We visited him once in a while. He visited with my aunt and uncle in D.C., Uncle Dave and Ernestine Heyser. Pud had white hair after he was older, the only one in the family with white hair. He moved to Texas, and I think he lived with my brother Alton. Alton left Texas and Pud remained and started a restaurant, the Pick-a-Rib. He coaxed Alton to come back to Texas, saying her could manage the restaurant. Alton gave up everything, and the restaurant was a success, but the manager’s job never materialized. Butch stayed a short time and worked with Pud, but he too quit. Alton went back to Wyoming to start all over again. Ralph married Carol, had two children, but later they were divorced. He later married a Mexican girl, Rachel. This was a time when very few people married out of their race and color. They had three children: Charles, [others unknown]. When my brother Harry died, I called Pud. He [attended] Alton’s funeral and we [all] seemed to get along quite well. I was happy to see him. He left before the funeral because he said he didn’t think my brother should be buried in a grave in the ground. He visited Genevieve [Alton’s wife] a few times.

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3. HILDA’S EARLY LIFE IN SOUTHERN SOMERSET COUNTY

I [Hilda] was born August 9, 1921, on a small farm on Savage Mountain, [Somerset County, PA]. I was named “Hilda” after someone is a book that my dad was reading. I was a very shy little girl. In fact, I was still shy until I was about six or eight years old. Where ever Mom was, I would be right with her. I was very much afraid when I was small. My older brothers scared me, thinking that was fun for them. Someone told me they would put me in a well if I didn’t behave.The ones before me [had been] born in Niverton and some in Berlin, [all in Somerset County]. I remember very little of the farm [near Berlin] except what was told [to] me later. A man burned our barn down because my dad wouldn’t vote for his sister [to be] a school teacher [in Berlin]. They weren’t a family of very reputable people. The school board wouldn’t vote for her and my dad wouldn’t either, so he got the worst of everything. I think they lost most of everything in the barn. Later they moved to a house in Salisbury. I remember very little there, only that I was very scared of a man who said [that] if I didn’t behave, he would put me in a well. There were two beggars, as I remember, [who] would stop to get something to eat. I wasn’t very fond of them either.

From [Berlin] we moved to Crossings where Lawrence was born [in 1924]. I was two years and four months old when he was born. I remember the older brothers looking down the heaters in the floor upstairs when he was born. We had a curtain between the kitchen and dining room. The older brothers would jump out at me and scare me. I was awful afraid when we lived there. Lawrence was born the night before Christmas. Someone dressed like Santa, looked in a window, and I was so afraid. When Lawrence was just tiny, Mom put meat in the oven to bake the grease out of it. Lawrence laid on a pillow on a rocking chair close to the stove to keep warm. This was a cooking coal stove. Mom heard something in the oven, and when she opened the oven door, the fat was on fire and boiled on the kitchen floor, some catching the pillow where Lawrence laid on fire. Ernest, thinking he could throw it outside with a shovel, spilled it [more] on the kitchen floor and on his arms. While Mom took a bucket of water and washed the fire out the door, Ernest took Lawrence to a neighbor. Olive, Ralph, and I sat on a steps outside [of] the house. The house was down over a bank from the road, and we used the steps to get to the road. It was snowy and cold, and I sat there and cried. I wouldn’t let them put my highchair legs on the burned area. I crawled under the table to keep from touching it.

Brother Lawrence Krause

I was only a tiny girl, about three, when Lawrence was born. The [grease] fire in our house had a dramatic effect in my life. People dressed up, and probably many other things [meaning unclear]. Any[how], I survived. I was the second girl in a family of eight children. I loved Mom and Pop. In fact, when the two older kids wanted to do something, they would get me to ask Pop and he would let us do things. They were good Christian people [who] saw that we were all taken to church from little up. I grew up believing in God at a very young age. When I was about four, or five, or six, I got a doll for Christmas. It had a composition head tied with a string around the neck to secure it to the cloth body. This string came loose and left the head separate from the body. I remember praying and asking God to fix it. Pop fixed it and I am sure God helped him, because without God’s help we can’t do anything.

I started my first year of school in Salisbury, in a yellow brick school with a fire escape that was  a big pipe that we had to slide down from the second floor. We walked to school. It was three or four blocks to go. Sometimes we would have a penny and would stop at the store and get a piece of candy: rainbow, coconut, licorice, or a sucker. I had friends but never felt I was as good as they were. Call it an inferiority complex or whatever. I started school only to find out I needed glasses. My eyes were crossed and I had a lazy eye. I wore glasses from the time I started school. We had much sickness in our family, the children’s diseases [with] which we were quarantined. Until it [the sickness] got through our family, we would miss a lot of school. Mom and Pop not having the time to help us, or whether it wasn’t so important back 75 years ago that we got an education or what, but I struggled through school. I [did graduate from] Boswell Hi[gh] School. I had two close friends, Marybelle Newman and Mary Blucker. My first grade teacher was Maude Shram, and as a little girl, I used to wet the bed at night. This plagued me too long. Back then, I learned [that] I wasn’t the only one. I finally stopped when Mom put me in to sleep with my sister. She [her sister] must have hated me for that. Somehow, in my subconscience mind, I didn’t want to get her wet, and I guess this is how I stopped. I would dream I had to go to the bathroom so very bad, and for some reason, I wouldn’t or couldn’t wake up, and made my bed wet. This made me feel bad.

When I was in third grade, something tragic happened to me. I saw a little girl who went to school with me get hit with a car at the end of our road. [She] and a few other kids [were] from our road across the old [Rt.] 219 highway. She was the last to [cross one day] and a car hit her. [The] bones in her body were all broken. Her shoes came off, her hat rolled, and it looked as if her head rolled off. My dad and Uncle Clarence were in a field nearby and came running down. I cried for days [and] couldn’t sleep. This was a terrible experience for me. She was hospitalized for months. Her name was Dorothy Bittner. We had to go to court and testify for Mr. Sipple, the man who hit her. I told what I saw while I was standing there, only for her family to tell everyone I had lied on the stand. I felt so bad. They went to school and told kids that I lied. This hurt so bad. It was a long time until they would talk to me. Dorothy got well, and I think she is still living. I don’t know. My Uncle Clarence and Aunt Sadie, the ones who saw the accident, came to our house often. They didn’t have kids so they brought us lots of groceries.

I remember when a Lichliter lady died [and] we went to she her. She was laid out in a bed in her house. We had to go up a steps outside the building to see her. I went with someone to a movie. Yo had to read [sub-titles] to find out what it was all about. I couldn’t read then. Mom and Pop took us to the Lutheran church for S[unday] S[school] and I also went to Bible school. [The] last day we had a picnic at a big house on [Rt.] 219 towards Meyersdale. Mom had her goiter out at the hospital in Cumberland. Ralph walked in front of a car while we were there. Lawrence, about four years old saw a Black man and called him a “nigger.” [The man] made a fist at Lawrence. Ralph wasn’t hurt. Mom came from the hospital, but she could never sing after the operation. They damaged her vocal cord[s] in the operation. She always talked as though she had a cold.

We had an old Ford or Model-T car. It had curtains on the side windows. Pop would take us places in the car. One time we stopped to talk to a family of Black people called Duddleys. They were our friends from Berlin, PA. They had what they called “Chitaqua” just out of town. We went there. it was like a church carnival. Pop took us up over the bridge just outside of Grantsville. The car went straight up and then down. We thought that was great. I think it was the George Washington Bridge in Grantsville. I played with Mary Blucker. Her older sister Vesta was sent to Cresson [Sanitarium] because she had TB. She later died there.

We had a garden down along the river bank. There was a springhouse close to the house. Pop made little men that would jump on a bat. We liked them. This is about all I know about that place., and from there we moved to Salisbury. We had neighbors: Hazelbarths, Weimers, Bluckers, Johnsons, Morts, and others I can’t remember. I started my first year of school there. Pop worked in the lime quarry and mines. He [had] run a store in Maryland before I was born, and was President of the [Berlin] School Board and a farmer too. He also worked in a lumber camp in his younger years. He often told us how big the biscuits were at the lumber camp and how good they tasted. Mom worked house work for people when she was young. She said she got homesick even when she could see her home barn from the place [where] she worked. She [had been] brought up in an Amish home in Niverton, which was a mining town. The mines underground caught on fire and burned some of the houses. The home farm still stands and is occupied by the Amish Benny Yoder family.

Pine Springs Camp (northward 1950) from Jennerstown, PA

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4. THE MOVE TO THE PRESBYTERIAN FARM, JENNERSTOWN

Time came when we left Salisbury and moved to [what we called] the Presbyterian Farm. When we left Salisbury, some of us kids, Mom and Pop, and Prince the dog were all packed in the old car to come to the big house on the farm north of Jennerstown. Elizabeth Weimer, our neighbor, came with us to help Mom. Soon after we got there we kids came down with the mumps. We were quarantined and couldn’t go anywhere. It took us forever to get rid of the mumps tip it got through all of us. We were quarantined with measles, chicken pox, and scarlet fever, plus all the other sicknesses that went around. They put a sign outside the door of our house. Alton worked at Stoughton’s Green Gables [Restaurant] when he had scarlet fever. We all got shots for it. Olive, Ralph, and Harry all had scarlet fever. Olive was reported dead at school. She couldn’t hear from the scarlet fever. Alton stayed at Stoughtons but eventually got scarlet fever.

The Presbyterian Farm, north of Jennerstown [had been] willed by people named Coffen to the Presbyterian Churches, provided they build at church and have church in it, which they did. Pop farmed the farm, which was grown up with brush, and the soil [was] very poor from being farmed without fertilizer. He got two-thirds of the crops he grew and gave the churches one-third of the crops. The house on the farm needed much work, and the grounds around the house were all grown up. Kids around the area said the house was haunted. It had two parts to it. The brick part had a basement and a large kitchen with a fireplace in each of these. It had wide window sills, a dining room and two bedrooms but no bathroom facilities. All four of us younger kids slept in this part of the house while the four older boys slept in the other shingled part of the house. Mom and Pop slept in where we slept. There were pictures painted on the two walls of the brick part and painted on the two doors. At the top of the cellar steps were two sliding doors going into the kitchen and dining room, one going out to a little porch from the top of the cellar steps and dining room. The porch had lattice on the sides and front with about four steps to the ground. One night, from this side of the house, we watched the White Star Hotel burn down at Jennerstown. The shingled part of the house had a long hall to the steps at the opposite side of the house that went upstairs. This part had two big porches at each side. A huge living room along side the hallway was 30-feet long. It had long windows almost to the ceiling, and [to] about six inches from the floor. It was a music room and had a fireplace with a bookcase above the fireplace and a window on either side. Large rafters, like used in a church, were in the ceiling. The walls and floor were all wood. A long steps went to the second floor where a hallway went to a bathroom, and from the top of the steps the hallway went to two bedrooms. There were two double beds that the four brothers shared. The other room was a spare room. [The] huge double house was heated by one little furnace and a heating stove plus the cook stove in the kitchen. It was one of the coldest houses I remember, with big rooms and long hallways. When the wind blew in the winter you could feel your bed move.

Main Caretaker’s house (1950)
Pine Springs Camp
Jennerstown, PA

The house up the road beyond the barn was used for a painting studio. The people used it as a camp building and put up tents so the campers could stay and came there. They built a log church in the orchard above the house. They held church on Sundays for awhile. People donated money to build the church. Their names, on a little metal tag, was fastened to the logs. the wagon wheel lights, or whatever they paid for.

Much time and work was put into the property since it was all grown up with brush. Fences needed built, fertilizer was needed on the fields, and the barn put in shape. Time went on and we all attended school. Mom cooked and cleaned, washed, ironed, and patched our clothes. She was a great mom and a good cook. She baked home-made bread, made butter and apple butter, and canned. [We had] lots of good things to eat while Pop worked the fields, plowing, harrowing, planting, and harvesting. He raised cows, pigs, [and] chickens and had two dopple gray horses, which he tilled the fields with. “He fixed things that needed repaired around the house. We worked to make a yard and garden, which proved to be very nice. An orchard grew above the house. We had lots of apples. Pop grew strawberries, some of the nicest I ever saw. He sold them three quarts for 25-cents, piled up so you couldn’t get anymore on. We all worked together. Each of us had our jobs to do. Potatoes were picked by hand and hauled on a wagon to the barn. They were put in a bin, two for us and one for the church. Later a John Deere tractor was purchased to help with the farming. I remember when the threshers would come. There always was a big meal for about six men or more. They separated the grain from the straw. The grain was put in the granary and the straw blown into a mow. Hay was also brought into the barn on a wagon and put into the hay mow. They used a big fork and pushed it into the hay on the wagon and then, pulling it up [by rope?] and dropping it into the hay mow.

Still feeling I wasn’t as good as my friends, I worked my way through school. I studied a lot, but somehow never made good grades. I did graduate in 1941 from Boswell Hi. Sickness still filled our lives. Tonsils and adenoids removed, I missed one whole month of school. Measles, mumps, chicken pox, scarlet fever, and sore throat and colds. I couldn’t see very good (lazy eye) and didn’t do a lot of reading because of it. When I was about 15 or 16, migraines started. Numb hand [unclear] going to the top of my head. I couldn’t see nor talk and ended with a terrific headache. I missed quite a lot because of those. I first was afraid I was having a stroke, but not so. I took eight aspirin a day, and later my stomach reacted.

I had a friend all through school. She was Emily Gindlesperger. We were very close. Others were Geraldine Stufft, Dorothy Bowser, Lois Manges, Alma Barnett, Janie Shaffer, Louise Hoffman, and many others. My teachers were Mrs. Mosgraves (formerly Ethel Dietz) , Mary Amanda Rhodes, Emma Barnett, Pete O’Connor, and Anna Shaffer. Mt brother Lawrence had Nellie Zimmerman. He liked her and said she was the prettiest teacher. He could hardly look at her. We walked to Jennerstown to get on the bus. It was very cold. Later, we just run down the road and the bus stopped at Green Gables. [I] can’t think of our bus driver’s name, but he was real nice. School wasn’t my favorite pastime but I had to go. I was sick a lot, and then a bunch of us kids, five of us, had our tonsils and adenoids out at Memorial Hospital by Dr. Hays. The hospital took [our] potatoes to help us pay the bill. I missed one whole month of school because of the operation. Dr. Calvin C. Hays was a Presbyterian minister and adopted father of [surgeon] Dr. Hays. He and his wife brought us clothing and toys. They visited us often. He was a tall, thin man with white hair and a mustache. He was very nice.

I dreamed about school after I graduated. I never could get dressed right or couldn’t find my desk in my dreams. Holidays came. Christmas and Easter were my favorite holidays. Thanksgiving Day too. We were all together as a family on holidays. We would decorate the big room, a tree on either side of the fireplace. We weren’t allowed to help trim the tree until we got older. At first, we would put our plate on the table and Pop would put and orange and candy on each plate. I can’t remember getting gifts until I was older. Eight kids were a lot to care for. Mom made cookies, popcorn balls, pies, cakes, and cooked a delicious meal. We knew this was Jesus’ birthday. We had our little recitations to say at church for Christmas. I was scared to death, asking God to help me not to be afraid.

Easter was much the same only we colored eggs [and] probably had a few jelly beans. We knew [that] this was when Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried. He arose from the dead on Easter, a happy time of the year. The Fourth of July we celebrated by Pop buying a big bunch of bananas on a stalk and a watermelon. This was fun. Thanksgiving Day we butchered pigs. This was a fun day. This supplied all our pork for the year. Pop smoked hams, bacon, shoulders, and sausage. One day the smoke house caught fire. They lost some of the meat.

We had pets, collie dogs. One got hit with a car and Dr. Fetcho came from Jennerstown and fixed his leg. We also had cats and ducks. The ducks fell in a well in the barnyard. [There wasn’t] a top on the well at that time. Pop took a ladder and crawled down to get them out. We had rabbits and guinea pigs. We had neighbors, the Wrights. We would take milk to Mrs. Wright from our cows. Mrs. Wright had three children, grown up: Pearl, May, and John. Mrs. Wright had very bad asthma. We liked going there. John and Alton and Clyde were good friends. He had little rabbits one winter. It was cold and they froze. He threw one out, thinking it was dead. Alston, interested in taxidermy, brought it home, put it under the hot water spigot to wash it off only to find it was alive. It grew about half-grown, living in our kitchen, until one day the cat got in and clawed the rabbit and it died.

Mom went with Harry and Alton or Ernest to Johnstown where they worked in the Lorain Steel Mill. They left at 3 [in the afternoon] and came home at 11 o’clock. She visited Overdorfs, [daughter-in-law Genevieve’s parents]. It so happened [that] it snowed real hard that afternoon. When they came home they couldn’t get up our lane. Mom, not being able to breathe, told them to go ahead and she would come [as she could]. They, knowing she would never make it, took her by the arms and proceeded to walk up the lane. It was terrible cold. When they got to the house, Mom [had] frozen her hand and legs and the brothers, their hands, ears, and noses. They were white as snow. Not knowing what to do with frostbite back then, I think they used cold water. Dr. Fetcho was called. He treated Mom. She had terrible pain, especially her hands. One day he brought a saw along down and said he might have to do some cutting, which he never did. He wanted to throw some old bandage or tape in the stove but mistakenly threw the salve in the stove but quickly got it out.

One day Lawrence had a nose bleed. He layed and the blood went down [into] his stomach. He vomited or he would have bled to death. Dr. Fetcho packed his nose to stop the bleeding, leaving the packing stick out [off] his nose. Fetcho told Lawrence he looked like a darn walrus. Lawrence had his tonsils out and had to go back for the doctors to stop the bleeding.

Margaret Georg Krause with husband Carl F.
(c.1910)

Our grandmother, Margaret Krause [(1856-1941)], came to live with us. She didn’t like people, and we had lots of company. She would sit in the rocking chair in the kitchen and say, “I have my Gott [God].” She was German. She was cranky! I had the flu and she told Mom I was smoking in bed. [That’s] because it was so cold in our bedroom, you could see your breath. She spit on the the carpet and rubbed it in with her foot. Later, she had a stroke and was in bed all the time. Her daughter Amelia decided to take care of her over in Oakland, MD. I can’t say I really missed her very much.

The two older boys, Ernest and Harry, left [the farm] to find work in Detroit for a time, later coming back and getting jobs at Lorain Steel Mill in Johnstown. They later got married, moved close to home, and raised their families. There was a camp, [now called Pine Springs,] on the farm and a little log church that they took care of. Each of the family members, when they got old enough, did what they could to help. [Our Krauses] lived there 17 years, enjoying most of the time, learning new friends from the campers. Later the Mountain Playhouse opened and the renters boarded with us. There were 18 there during the summer. Mom was an excellent cook.

Professional theater, Mt. Playhouse, Jennerstown, PA (1941) reconstructed by Charlie Krause (Dick & Hilda Miller in picture)

[After high school] I lived at home helping Mom. In the summer we had the borders from the Playhouse. Mom [had]  hired Lillian Weimer to come help us. I cleaned chicken because we raised so many [that] it was easy and plentiful to prepare for the borders. The smell of scalding the chicken to pick feathers turned me so much [that] I refuse to eat chicken to this day. We served pork, beed, and fish too. This was fun, and we got to go to the Playhouse, and we met all the actors and actresses. I helped backstage two weeks. It was fun. We also made friends with the campers.

The campers and Toots and I would go swimming at Hanna Hole. We would walk down the dinkey tracks, [used by] a little train that went from the Boswell Lumber Company up to the mountain to bring lumber back. Often times, when it was dry weather, it would catch the woods on fire. When we went swimming at Hanna Hole, I got a terrible sunburn on my back. I didn’t know [it] until I got home and it started to blister. I could hardly sleep for about a week. It was like the time I was frying carrots. I pored them into the skillet and the water in the carrots made the grease fly up on the palm of my hand. it made a big blister and hurt so bad. We had a swimming pool below our house. Kids, like the Lichts, Raileys, and my brothers dammed the stream up that came from the mountain. They had a diving board and sliding board and a boat that they went up stream on. There I learned to swim because my brothers threw me in the water and said, “Swim.” If you knew what was good for you, you would swim. When the high water came it would wash the breast of the dam out.

Log Chapel (1930)
Pine Springs Camp
Jennerstown, PA

The little church in the orchard was kept locked. When a car came up to see inside the church, we kids would run up through the orchard, unlock the door, and wait until the people were ready to go, and lock it up again. We cleaned that church every week in the summer when when they had church. They would bring the big piano down to the house in the winter so it wouldn’t get so damp. We had a big lawn that we mowed with an old-fashioned lawn mower. it was hard work but looked so nice when it was done. Pop burned leaves one day, and the fire spread towards the house. He was so afraid until he got it out. He seemed afraid of fire, maybe because of having his barn [in Berlin] burned down.

In the barn there was a big swing and at the big oak at the church there was another. Above the house [there was] a little swing in the maple tree. We loved to swing. They also played basketball in the barn. One day Lawrence had matches. he piled a little pile of hay or straw in the barn and lit it. If the older brothers wouldn’t have been there, he could have burned the barn down. Pud, Lawrence, and I tried smoking corn silk. We didn’t have any luck, but Lawrence wanted to try and he choked. At the supper table he told Pop about it and Pop said [that] if we ever did it again he would give us a whipping. Of course we never tried again.

We went to call Pop for supper when he was working in the field with Maud and Florie, the two horses. He would let me ride one horse back to the barn. One time the three of us went to call him. Pud and I jumped across a tiny stream and Lawrence hesitated only to find out he was stepping on a yellow jacket’s nest. He bawled and we had to get to him. He wouldn’t jump, just bawled. One time he made me so mad [that] I threw and apple at him and he bawled. I got heck and my cousin Lois was there. I felt ashamed, but he asked for it. Alton, Clyde, and Toots worked at Green Gables as waiters and waitress. Clyde kept a tip someone gave him and Jimmie Stoughton [the owner] fired him. Toots didn’t get hardly any pay, so Alton gave her part of his so Mom and Pop wouldn’t make her quit.

Our parents were pretty strict with their children, expecting the best from them. [Sometimes, when he was younger, Pop] would hang from a tree limb, upside down by his feet. He was full of fun, but still down to business. The last fifteen months of his life he lived with us. He was a model patient and lived until he was 89 years old. He seemed very happy. Mom died at home on the farm [they bought with son Harry south of Jennerstown].

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5. THE MOVE TO THE JENNERSTOWN SOUTH FARM

After all the family were grown and away, [Mom and Pop] moved to the south side of Jennerstown and bought a farm with the next-to-the-oldest son Harry, the Chancy Kaufman farm. They butchered pigs, beef, and chickens.They worked up sausage pudding, hams and bacon and made lard. [This would be their] meat for the year. In the winter they would store apples and cabbage in a covered wooden frame so it wouldn’t freeze. They had cows, which supplied milk, cream, butter, and cottage cheese. Pop boiled sugar water in an iron kettle on the back part of the farmThey had a radio that they listened to. Lowell Thomas always came on about 6:30 or 7 o’clock while we were clearing the supper dishes. Fibber McGee and Mollie was one of our favorite programs. Amos and Andy too were great. Mom made delicious baked bread and apple butter. She canned fruits and vegetables and meat and made jellies. She had company for Sunday dinner almost every weekend. She enjoyed cooking, sewing, and flowers were special to her. She enjoyed people and had lots of friends. [She] made lots of quilts and clothing. When we were tiny she would scrub our clothes on a washboard, later using a wringer washer. She cooked on a coal stove and in the summer used an oil stove. She ironed big baskets of clothes, no permanent press fabric. Flies were plentiful back then. They used mesh netting on doors and windows to keep them out.

Hilda E. & Richard O. Miller
Newly weds
Baltimore 1943

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6. THE MARRIAGE OF HILDA & DICK AND WWII

After I graduated, I decided to go to Baltimore to find work. I [had fallen] in love with Dick [back home], but I went there anyway. I lived with Ernest and Mary. I went all over Baltimore by myself trying to find work. My first job was Montgomery Wards at Christmas. Lillian Weimer and Ruth Griffith decided to join me. I lived with Ernest. He made life unbearable. Growling [at] the kids. Mary was sick. I was afraid of him. Dick came down [and] stayed with Ernests. He resented us getting engaged. Ernest complained to Pop. My dad said, “Let her go. if she isn’t old enough to make up her mind, she never will be.” I left there because of all the pressure and moved into a room at Dunbars not far away. Dick moved clear across Baltimoree and worked in Calvert’s Distillery. We both worked at Montgomery Wards at Christmas. Lillian and Ruth came at the time I moved to Dunbars. I shared my room with Lillian, and Ruth had one of her own in the same house.

I went to a trade school and got work at Glenn L. Martin’s airplane factory. Dick followed and so did Lillian and Ruth. I worked day shift. The rest, afternoon. One day, I met them as I was getting off the bus. They said they got throwed out of their rooms. To this day, I don’t know why. They said I could stay there, but I decided to leave too. Two other girls, Jean Webb and Winifred Walpuskiw, came down, and I found rooms for them too. Dunbars and the people they [Jean and Winifred] lived with sort of argued who had the best renters. We came home [and] returned to Baltimore on Sunday. Walking the streets, we found rooms at Goldbecks. The three of us lived there.

Dick moved closer in order to work at Martins. we were married August 27, 1942, in Baltimore, MD. Only Clyde and Jean and a soldier boy who asked to watch were there. It was in a beautiful church. We went to Clyde and Jeans apartment for cake and ice cream. They had moved to Baltimore soon after I did. Dick went to work that night, and we came home for the weekend, afterwards getting hell for missing work by my boss. We [had] intended to get married in Jennerstown at my church by Pastor Karns, thinking we could get a license in York, PA. After getting all arrangements [made], we were told it had to be in the same county. I had invitations all made up [and] arrangements with Pastor Karns, but [they] had to be cancelled, and we were married in Baltimore, MD. [We] couldn’t take off work in order to get [a] license and get married at home.

The War was going on between [the] US and Germany, World War II. Dick and I had a bedroom at Wilsons, ate our meals out, [and] went to work every day, but would dash home weekdays when we could. Lillian and Ruth married and worked at Martins after we left Baltimore. Dick was called to the service six months after we were married. It hurt so bad to let him go, but everyone was expected to go. People were proud to fight for their country and against a maniac like Hitler, a mean Communist dictator.

I came home with him [Dick], not wanting to stay in Baltimore by myself. Dick left Somerset [in] February to go to Indian[town] Gap and [then] to Miami Beach, FL, for his basic training. I took him to Somerset to get on the bus [on] a cold, snowy, icy, wintry day in an old ’35 Dodge car [that] he and I [had] bought together in Baltimore. I learned to drive in Baltimore. After getting him on the bus, I [started for] home, got part way up the old road at Sipesville, only to slide back down in the car. I was really scared. My folks [still] lived on the Presby farm at the time.

I know Mom didn’t want to see me go to Baltimore to work, but she felt much worse when I left for Denver to be with Dick after his basic training in Florida. Somehow, they planned for Omar to accompany me on the train to Denver. Mom cried and Pud, [who] was home at the time, said, “Why do you want to go out there with him?” After all, he was my husband, and I knew I had such a short time to be with him before they shipped him overseas. Omar got a room a few blocks away from me. He worked in a lumber camp. Dick was sent to Lowry Field, Buckley [Lowry Bombing and Gunnery Range]. I lived with Wrights. [I] had only a bedroom [and] ate out as cheaply as I could. I walked all over Denver, visiting parks [and] seeing buildings while Dick was at camp. He came home at night.

I later got a job in a fancy restaurant called Bentons. There they played organ music while the people ate. Headaches and sinus [problems] plagued me, and I quit working. I lived on money we [had] saved at Martins making 87 1/2 cents an hour. I received $40 dollars a month from the Air Force. I only used the savings when I had to travel. I stayed there awhile and soon Dick was moved to Lowry Field, Denver, then to Pyote, and to Las Vegas.

Omar and I came home, stopping in Wisconsin where Alton and Genevieve and the three kids lived after being overseas. Home again. Mom and Pop had moved from the Presbyterian farm to the south side of Jennerstown [while Dick and I were gone]. I should have stayed to help them [move], but Harrys moved [also], and between the lot of them, they made it. I stayed with Mom and Pop, helping on the farm shocking wheat and oats, husking corn in the field, picking potatoes, and making hay, only to have a load slide off the wagon because I didn’t stack it right. I painted rooms, helped Mom with the household chores, worked in the lawn, and picked strawberries. I did for Harrys too, for no pay.

[Eventually] I went to Dalhart where Dick was sent. Our train [connection] was missed in Chicago, and I arrived a day later only to arrive at a little train station outside of Dalhart. [The] station was locked up [with] no one around. God sent three soldiers around just soon after I got there. They asked to help me and went back to the base to get Dick. He had one room where we lived. We ate hot dogs almost every day in order to save money. We cooked them on a gas grill which heated our room. It was wintertime and there was a bad snow storm.

From there Dick was shipped to Dyersburg, TN. He left camp and I followed him again. There we lived in a little cabin. It was cold and I cooked on a tiny little cook stove. [I] worked a few days for the man we rented off of in a small restaurant. [Dick] was to be shipped out from there but his crew broke up. I came home only to go down [south] again and live at Banes [cannot locate, is this a family?] and [we] boarded there. They were old people and they treated us like their children. They had some of their own and grandchildren too. From there, Dick was moved by train, ready for his trip overseas. I watched him go [away] on a train. [I came home and helped] for room and board. Dick was overseas. I wouldn’t hear from him for weeks, and then the mail was censored. He was flying in a ball turret on a B-17. You would hear on the radio but never know [exactly] what was happening to him. It was nerve-wracking [and] frustrating.Worry was no stranger in my life. I kept busy.

[Dick had finally] left for overseas in the Spring. [He first] went to Omaha, NB, on a train and [then] flew from Omaha to [NY City] then [took] a train to [New Jersey] and then back up to NY City by train and shipped out on a ship, the Maritane [sp?], to Liverpool, England. From there he flew 33 missions in a ball turret inn a B-17 over Germany, France, and Spain. They dropped bombs in these areas. After he [had] spent six or seven months, [he] came back [in] October. He came back on a ship with German prisoners. He was seasick going both ways: 7 – 8 days going over; 12-14 days coming back. He’d had furlough.

We went to NJ to spend a week during Thanksgiving Day. They paid my way, and we stayed in a hotel. All food and lodging [were] free. Then Dick was sent to Laredo, TX, and the government paid my way on the train. They derailed our car on the train and forgot us. Little Mexican kids sold hot apple pie and hot tamales on the train. [The] next morning they hooked us up and we got into Laredo, TX, found a room, stayed there two nights, and then moved to [the] St. Paul Hotel. Two Mexican girls cleaned the rooms. I got real sick there: diarrhea and vomiting for four days. The gentleman at the hotel told Dick to get bicarbonate of soda and give it to me since the pills from the doctor didn’t help. One dose of soda and I felt real good.

We went across a bridge into Neuvo Laredo, a Mexican town. We had a picnic along the Rio Grande River in December. [From Texas,] Dick went to Las Vegas by train and I followed him there. We came home on the bus and got our car, and [we] went back to Las Vegas and lived at Henderson Air Base, [now Nellis in Henderson] [from] where Dick was discharged on October 19, 1945. We drove home by way of Arizona, to Texas to see Altons at Corpus Christy. [Dick] was an instructor in Las Vegas. Somewhere from Las Vegas we went to Denver, CO and lived at McKays in their basement, then back to Las Vegas on the bus. From there he was discharged.

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7. BUILDING A HOME WITH DAN & SUSAN

We came home to live. We stayed at home for a short time then moved to Jennerstown in [the] Allegro Farsht house, the former Lecht Restaurant. Dick worked for a lumber company up on the mountain. Dan was born first, May 5, 1946. We lived there awhile longer. Mary, Ernest, Don, and Shirley just lived up the street about two doors from us. We moved to Leroy Morgans in Jenners. We had good neighbors, Cons [?] and Fleigles. Dan was two years, six months old when we left Jenners to move north of Boswell along [Rt.] 601, where we were building our home. We moved in November 1948. Susan was born March 2, 1949. We continued to work on our house while living in it. We had no bathroom, only a toilet downstairs. [We had] only sub-floors. [Our] bedroom [was] in the living room. Dick worked for Joe Miller, Contractor when we started the house. We put a fireplace in it [and] continued to work, and eventually finished the house downstairs and moved upstairs in an unfinished room. The bats would get in the bedroom. We used cardboard on the walls to keep warm.

After Dick built the dam for Jennerstown Water Co., he used the used lumber to build a piece on the kitchen and a bedroom above for Susan. Dan and Susan grew and were very cranky babies. Susan was just tiny when Dan tried to get her out of bed and turned her on her stomach and she couldn’t breathe. Luckily, I was there soon afterwards or she would have smothered.He just wanted to hold her. Mom came and helped me when Susan was born. She said Susan was the prettiest baby she ever saw. She [Susan] cried a lot until I changed her formula. it was soon time for Dan to go to school. We played and spent lots of time with the kids. They rode bikes in the cellar [and] had a sandbox down there. [We] colored, read books, and did lots of things for them. We took them to S[unday] S[chool] and church and Bible S[chool] at St. James Church, just back the road about a mile from home. We took them to both grandparents. On holidays we would go to one [of our parents] for dinner and the other for supper. We took them everywhere with us. [Sunday School] class meetings, they were there.

Helen and Harold Blough were good friends. If we went shopping, she kept our kids and I in return kept hers. Harold and Helen decided to build a house. just down the road from us. Dick, Harold, and Helen were down there and Dan and Janet were down there with them. Susan and Joyce and I were in our house. It came almost dinnertime. Janet and Dan got hungry and decided to come up for jelly bread. It was a hot day, and they walked in their bare feet in the shade so the macadam wouldn’t burn their feet. When they got to the 601 [road], Janet left go of Dan’s hand and said, “I will beat you across.” As she run, a car struck her and killed her right in front of Dan. I heard the car and ran out, only to find out what happened. People were trying to give her artificial respiration by pushing on her broken body. Helen, Harold, and everyone came. I went to look for Helen’s [Janet’s ?] shoes [but] couldn’t find them and had to get back to the house with Joyce and Susan. The doctor came and they took Janet away. Mr. Lichvar, a man that worked with Harold, [had] hit her. They brought Helen over to our house. Mrs. Brown and some other neighbors were there too. I was so upset. I didn’t know where Dan was. The cops questioned him. I cried in the kitchen. They gave Helen a shot to calm her. Mr. Brown hollered at  me, “Quit your crying. Helen isn’t crying; why should you?” I felt so bad. Dan wouldn’t say anything. Harold sat in their car, and I don’t know where Dick was. It was terrible, and I took a long time to get over it. I felt guilty, and Helen and I never were as close after that.

Hilda & Dick Miller (center) with daughter Susan Pearce (left) & son Dan (right)
c. 1965

Dan went to school. He never missed a day until he was a Junior in high school. He always got the kid’s diseases in the summer. One summer he got yellow jaundice and the measles at the same time. This is when we needed the extra bedroom for Susan. One childhood disease he got [and] Susan decided [that] she would get it too so she [would be] over it. She got it, only a lot harder than Dan. I think it was ______?

There was a lot of work to do. We mowed the lawn, trying to clear all of our land, which was part woods. [There was] making garden, washing, cleaning, cooking, and taking care of two little ones. [We cleaned] the St. James Church. We took over Janitor. We had to fire a coal furnace for the church. Dick still worked for Joe Miller. He had picnics for all his workers at Joe Johns Grove in the summer. I canned everything I could. [We] went to Dicks home [and] picked cherries. [We] picked strawberries at my home. In the winter we would get half a beef or pig and can that for our supply of meat. We finally got the house in fairly good shape inside, all but the upstairs. We decided to get the house brick cased.

Susan started school, and I thought I had everything planned that I wouldn’t be so lonely when Susan went to school. I was to have another baby, but I lost the baby on December 21, 1955. I was so disappointed. We had a lot of sickness. Dan and Susan had their tonsils and adenoids out at Somerset Hospital. Instead of them putting them in the children’s ward, they put them in the men and women’s ward. I had a hard time being with each of them and had to watch Susan, only three, so she wouldn’t fall out of bed. Dick had his thumb broken and had it in a contraption so it would grow straight. He had pneumonia and bleeding ulcers several times. We always had the flu.

Hilda Krause Miller,
the painter

I started to work at Penn Traffic [Department Store] in Johnstown, but Dick got well and went back to work. and I had to quit to be with Dan and Susan. I started to work at the garment factory in Boswell only to find out I needed to be home when Dan and Susan came home [from school]. I got a job at the cafeteria at the high school. This worked fine when the kids were home, I was here too. I only made $4 a day, no matter how long I worked. I stayed there six years. Mr. Simpson, [the Superintendent], promised to fix the dishwasher and never did. We couldn’t get the door up, and when we did, we couldn’t get it down. He lied and the women in the kitchen were making it miserable for us, using all the dishes they could. We were serving 700 kids at that time. The school board told us [that] if we couldn’t use the dishwasher [then] we could quit. No help anywhere, and we were short one person in the dishwashing room. It was [just] Emily Gindlesperger and I. We decided to quit. When we did, Simpson hired Thelma Griffith, Edna Yoder, and Gloria Winters. I ended up in the hospital having a hysterectomy from lifting so heavy. After we quit he got a brand new dishwasher with real light trays, and the girls had it made.We [had been] forced to quit.

“RO” Miller (gray hat, center), son-in-law Larry Pearce (red hat), and his brother Carl Pearce (white shirt, right)
Bridge project to Larry’s new house, Oct. 1974

I finally recuperated from my operation after a long struggle. I came home only to go back with infection and stayed another nine days. I think I was there 21 days in all. When I went in, Annie Trexel came in and told me I was in the same bed where Uncle Jake Baer died. I told her [that] I didn’t care because I liked Jake. Time went on and Dan graduated from high school after going all years but one without missing a day. When he was little he would get off the bus at Berkeys and go in to watch TV, and I didn’t know if he got off the bus or not. After graduation he worked for Hostetlers for a few months and then with his dad, who was now into masonry work on his own. He [Dick had] tried to work with Clarence Miller after Joe retired, but it didn’t work. He then worked for Roy Ogburn and finally worked for himself. Harry Blough, Bill Rummell, and Don Spiegle were three of his best workers, but he had at least six or eight other workers too. He did all kinds of building: foundation, garages, steps, a dam. He moved barns, milk houses, and many, many more things.

Larry & Susan Miller Pearce, Johnstown, PA

Susan was still in school and loved music. We got her a chord organ one year for Christmas, but she soon wanted a [real] organ and lessons. We took her to Mrs. Shaffer in Hooversville. Later, she wanted voice lessons. We took her to Aubrys in Johnstown. She ended up with a piano too. She worked at [Krause’s] fruit stand, and we helped her get all [these things]. She wanted to go to college, so she went to Indiana University. Dan went to airline school in Connecticut for a time and later go a job at the Chicago airport. He got homesick. He would call every night after work at 1 o’clock. Our bill went up in the $60 range. He finally quit and was immediately taken into the Viet Nam War. [Dan] did a lot of his training in North Carolina. He had two horses here at home for Dick and I to take care of, Rex and Mickey, which we [had] objected to him getting, but he did it anyway.

Susan buddied with Karen Berkey whose mother worked in the garment factory at Boswell. Karen was almost like our daughter. We took her along with us lots of places. We had picnics for Dan and Susan in our back yard. We furnished and fixed the food, and they invited around 30 young people. They sat around a fire and talked. We also had reunions in the back yard until I couldn’t do it anymore. The kids played volleyball and had a big swing on the big [tree].[This is the end of Hilda’s manuscript]

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8. LATER YEARS: A SUMMARY & CONCLUSION

Hilda doesn’t list the many organizations she served in her lifetime: Girl Scouts, Farm Women, United Methodist Women and church quilting circle, to name a few. Neither does she state the importance of her favorite pastime, painting. Our family is blessed to display many of her creations. Hilda only mentions briefly what must have been two traumatic times in her later years, the deaths of her parents. Her mother Annie, or “Mom” as she was called, died back on the family farm in 1971. I remember that Susan and I had been married Thanksgiving weekend the year before and moved to Penn State to complete my graduated studies. When word came of Mom’s death, I took Susan to the bus station on a cold and snowy winter day for the ride to catch the train from Altoona to Johnstown to meet her parents. I had teaching obligations at the University, so I drove home later for the funeral. The service was held at the old Lutheran church in Jennerstown, the Krause family’s congregation, with several old Amish friends of Annie in attendance.

PIX OF LITTLE ANNIE WITH “POP”

The death of Hilda’s father Charles, or “Pop” as he was known, happened after many years staying with his daughter and son-in-law. One of the most precious photographs we have is of Dick and Hilda’s first grandchild, Susan and my Annie Rebecca, just two years old and named after her great-grandmother. In the picture, she is sitting in bed with Pop in his happy final days. Mom and Pop never got to meet the rest of Hilda and Dick’s grandchildren: our Matthew born in 1973, just a month after Pop died; Susan’s brother Dan’s son Tate, born in 1974; and the children of Dan’s second marriage, Allysa, Abigail, and Andrea. These girls were all just youngsters when Hilda died.

Dick Miller had been retired from both his construction and fire extinguisher business when Hilda died in 1997. They had been quite comfortable in their remodeled apartment, where they moved after the sale of their brick home next door in 1996. He often found shelter in his garage with adjoining woodworking shop where he made birdhouses to give away. After Hilda was gone, it must have been a long cold winter by himself. He and Hilda had flown to Wyoming to see her brother Alton in her last years. Shortly thereafter, in the summer of 1997, Susan and I took them with us to Denver to visit daughter Annie, who was on a work project with Georgia Tech. Dick visited the Air Force base where he had been stationed during World War II, and we all had a great time. But later that year Hilda came down with what we know now was cryptococcal meningitis. She lay in a coma in two area hospitals for several weeks before her demise. As the literature says, it is caught by a weakened immune system, which in Hilda’s case was a condition known as sarcoidosis, an unexplained general physical malaise. Doctors did theorize that she could have caught the deadly fungus from the soil out west or from getting a flu shot. She had an allergy to eggs, and the flu vaccine is grown in eggs. We’ll never know.

As I posited in the introduction to this work, Dick may have begun journaling as a coping mechanism after Hilda’s death. He began in February the next year as he traveled the twelve hours by car with Susan and me to see Annie in Atlanta. Less than a month later he rode with us to visit our Matthew at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia for a long weekend. We still wonder if all of the stress associated with the death of Hilda and all the traveling contributed to his heart attack just a week after returning from Philadelphia. Again, you are invited to read the summary of his 13 years of journaling as he takes us through his surgery and other medical procedures, his visitors, letters, and phone calls, and many of the activities during those years. (This summary is still under construction, so check back.) Dick’s activities included family reunions, church and cemetery committees. fire police, and of course his hobby of woodworking.

The time came, when it surely does with anyone who lives into their eighties, when Dick needed fewer responsibilities and the security of a community of people is a similar situation. Because Dick was a Methodist now by faith, we rented a unit for him in the Arbutus Park Manor in nearby Johnstown. The apartment had to be sold, and it went to friends at his church. Many of his things had to be given away, sold, or auctioned off, and that was both painful and time consuming. But, in the end, he found a comfortable collection of new friends at Arbutus, and he could still drive his car everyday. Believe me, he did. But, as his years advanced, his health declined, and an alternative to independent living was required. A beautiful newer assisted living quarters was arranged just up the road called Richland Woods. After Dick fainted at a family gathering in a local restaurant, his driving days were over. Before long, Dick fell while getting out of bed, and we were told that he now needed skilled care immediately, and Richland Woods couldn’t provide that. Prayer is a powerful thing, but sometimes there isn’t much time to do it. We were all praying for a suitable outcome. After being told by some that her father would have a long wait to be admitted to the premiere retirement center in our area, our choice, Laurel View Village, Susan met with the folks there. I was at home as she filled out the application for this more expensive alternative to senior health care. I got a call to bring all his financial records in my keeping to Laurel View. That very day, as Susan and I sat in amazement, the admissions officer announced that an opening had just occurred and Dick would be admitted within hours. This surely is proof of the power of prayer.

Dick Miller on an
“outing” at
Laurel View Village

Those were happy days as his family and friends met most weekends at Laurel View. There were special concerts, worship services, games and activities, and old friends. The food was excellent and served with a smile. But just maybe things weren’t as good from Dick’s perspective. His dementia grew worse and his mobility lessened. He had his bouts of hospitalization until just after the New Year, 2015, he his heart gave way in the Good Samaritan section of Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown. After welcoming many friends and family at his viewing, his memorial service, with full military honors, was held at the Jennerstown United Methodist Church. Unfortunately, the committal portion had to be held at the church as a blizzard made going to the cemetery impossible. Finally, Dick and Hilda were reunited in death on the grounds of the church where they had spent much of their early married years, in a cemetery that holds five generations of Dick’s family, including the remains of their stillborn.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this autobiography of a special woman and the special people with whom she associated, by choice or otherwise, and of course the places that shaped her life. Please read some of the associated articles below for additional information and context and come back to check the menu of this webpage for future stories involving the Miller, Krause, and associated families. And by all means, if you have something to add, please send a comment below or write to me directly at e-mail: pearce@atlanticbb.net .

RETURN TO TABLE OF ARTICLE CONTENTS OR HIT “RETURN ARROW”
OR JUST CONTINUE

9. OTHER ARTICLES ABOUT HILDA, DICK, AND FAMILIES

Table of Contents: Krause

A Journey between two Passages:
The “Mom” & “Pop” Krause family
from the National Road to the Lincoln Highway

WWII Letter from Home: “Mom” Krause to daughter Hilda Miller

Annie “Mom” Krause Diaries:
1950 Diary
1951 Diary
1952 Diary
Commentary on the “Mom” Krause Diaries

Gold in the Hills: The Alton Krause Family Story
with the following supporting stories
and information on their authors:
“Quest for Yesterday: Uncle Tom’s Cabin”  by Alton “Butch” Krause
“Getting up the Hill – or Not,”
“Biscuits and Beans,”
“My Long-handled Shovel,”
“Strolling in the Mountains,” and
“Max, Cows, and Dynamite” by Becky Krause
and other siblings Debby, Sandy, & Cindy
and mother Genevieve Krause

Table of Contents: Miller

The Later Journals of Richard O. Miller (under construction)

The Gunner & The Riveter
Richard Miller’s 35 Missions Over Germany in WWII
Excerpts: Greisinger’s A World Away but Close to Home
RETURN TO TABLE OF ARTICLE CONTENTS OR HIT “RETURN ARROW”

Last revised 4/16/18

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