Saturday, February 07, 2004

This was posted to the Zinegeeks group on Yahoo. Somebody asked if any of us knew anything about our ancestry. I thought it was a good blog piece. Or at least more interesting than telling y'all thatI sat around the house all day watching the DVDs for Lost in Translation and American Splendor

My Mom's Paternal family (League) were Scottish/Irish Immigrant farmers who
settled in the Tennessee foothills in the early 1800s. No major
landholders, they were peasant farmers really , right up thru the
depression. There is a distant cousin documented in My grandmother's family
bible (oneof those with all the family history hand-written in the flyleaves
and endpapers) as having signed up for "the wrong side" (Union) in the
Civil War.
My Mom's Mother was a Ford. She was a 5th cousin to Henry. Her Mother (my
great-grandmother) was a full-blooded Cherokee.

On Dad's side, I'm told the Stecklers were feudal barons in Germany until
the mid-to-late 19th century. The Family story goes that Kaiser Wilhelm
purged the nobles, and either my great-, or great-great Grandfather was
smuggled out of the country as a child. The Strathmeyers were our family
groundskeepers, they were allowed to emigrate, and brought my ancestor
with them out of Germany, posing as one of their children. Supposedly the
money they were paid for smuggling him was used to establish their forestry
business here in the U.S. (They are one of the largest growers of Christmas
trees in the State now)

Unfortunately, The Steckler Family has a history of deep blood-feuds
between siblings. I know that my Great-grandfather had a rift with his
brother Max, and Max took his young family and headed west at the turn of
the century, never to be heard from again by my branch of the family. (my
dad had a similar split with his sister in the 70s...they didn't move away,
but i still rarely see my Aunt, or my cousins)

In 1991, I was moving from Virginia to Ohio, and stopped in Ashland
Kentucky for a rest break. On the square downtown is a large abandoned
dept. store, with a huge neon sign out front that says "Steckler's". I
inquired around town, to see if maybe i had relatives, but the old owner of
the Drug Store across the street said, "No...They all left town soon after
ol' Max died." When i heard the name Max, i was going to whip out my ID,
and say i was related, but his next sentence was, "They were Jews..."
I quickly remembered that i was in Kentucky, and thanked him and left. I
do know that my dad has Jewish cousins, so I still think that I'm related
to that Kentucky branch.
I often see the name "Doug Steckler" in movie credits, and wonder if
it's a distant cousin. A part of Max's family that went all the way west.
Yes I also wonder about Ray Dennis Steckler, and the other Ben Steckler that
played for Michigan State a couple years ago.

I'd like to try and verify the story of how my dad's family got to
America, but now all of my Grandparent's generation are dead, and My dad's
generation aren't very clear on the story. I know that many European
immigrants of the late 1800s had "stories" of being royalty, and i wonder
if the story of the Barons Steckler was just a fairy tale used to give some
"status" to a young Immigrant businessman trying to get his store open (my
great-grandfather and grandfather were hardware store owners).

My Mom's family story is documented, but My Dad's family story isn't. i
think the feuding every generation or so might have prevented any

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