Sunday, December 1, 2013

Advent Calendar: Christmas Trees (and Christmas Cousins - an update)

It's the annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories!  I've participated the past four years (2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012), but this year, there are some new prompts, and the sequence has changed for some old prompts used in previous years.  For the latter, rather than simply re-post, I'm going to link to the older posts, and - when applicable - post about something else that's at least somewhat related.

That's the case for today's prompt for December 1 – Christmas Trees

What are your memories of your family putting up the Christmas tree? Many of us come from different traditions: some people won’t put up their tree until after Thanksgiving or even on Christmas Eve? Some like live trees and actually go out into the woods to cut their own while others prefer the convenience of an artificial tree.  Write about anything related to Christmas trees and your memories of Christmases past.

I wrote about putting up our always real, always after Thanksgiving trees in my post for this date in 2010 (and 2009).  Last year I wrote about trees on the courthouse square in my town of Granbury, Texas.

In 2012 I wrote about a Pape family Christmas tree circa 1913-1917, with what I thought was a picture of my paternal grandfather Paul Robert Pape (1896-1970), his six siblings, and six of his first cousins who had recently immigrated from Germany.  I call it the "Christmas Cousins" picture.

That picture was provided to me by Mary Kay, a descendant of one of the cousins (Maria), with input from her mother, my dad, and Lawrence, the son of another cousin, as to who was who.  Back in February I did another post identifying who we thought was who.

Karl James Jacob Lorenz Pape, 1889-1958,
in the 1910s, courtesy of Joe Bates
Just a few months ago, in August 2013, I was contacted by another distant cousin, Joe, who sent me a picture of his grandfather Karl Pape, in his 20s, at left.

After studying this picture, I now feel pretty certain that the tall man in the back row of the Christmas Cousins picture (below) is Karl James Jacob Lorenz Pape (1889-1958), and not his first cousin, my great uncle Otto Richard "Dick" Pape (1898-1972).  The tall man looks like he might be wearing glasses, just like Karl.

This would also mean that the man in the mustache in the first row that I originally identified as Karl is probably his father Lorenz Pape (1862-1932), as Mary Kay and her then-85-year-old mother originally thought.  Mary Kay's mom would be more likely to remember her grandfather and what he looked like.

So, where is great Uncle Dick?  My guess is that this picture may have been taken in 1917 rather than 1913.  Here is how old everyone would have been at Christmas that year:

Lorenz: 55
Karl and Clara: 28
Martha: 27
Joseph: 26
Rhea and Maria: 25
Lee and August: 24
Ewald: 23
Paul and Nellie: 21
Dick: 19
Walter: 17

Clara had been living in Iowa since 1912, but may have come home for Christmas.  The first of these cousins to marry was Joseph in April 1918, and I think it would have been less likely for him to be around for a Pape family Christmas after that.  Dick's World War I draft registration card shows him living in New Liepzig, North Dakota, by September 12, 1918, but perhaps he had already moved out west by Christmas 1917.

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at

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