Jim O'Leary

Waverly Star

By Jim O'Leary

An e-mail newsletter for and about Waverly people, used with permission in the HLW Herald and on this web site.

Sept. 1, 2001

"Dear Jim:

"I thought you might like to hear about a reunion of sorts for the 'Montrose line' of the Kreitlow family, which took place last weekend.

"I'm Pat Kreitlow, the news anchor in Eau Claire, Wis. that you wrote about a few months ago. With wonderful encouragement from a long lost cousin, Burt Kreitlow, I began tracking down Kreitlows from Hither and Yon. (Hither is located near Bird Island, I believe. No idea where Yon is.)

"This has been a remarkably enjoyable enterprise for a guy who grew up thinking there were only about seven Kreitlows in the whole wide world. (I had one of those grandmothers who would never talk about the old days or any extended family.) I've discovered hundreds of new relatives.

"While Burt has spend a decade using 'snail mail' to locate potential kin, I have had the luxury of e-mail to quickly find people and work to draw them together.

"Last Sunday, many of us finally had a chance to meet for the first time.

"The 15 to 20 of us crowded a dining room at Red's Cafe in Montrose. The stars of our gathering were four of the eight surviving cousins, whose grandparents are the original Montrose Kreitlow homesteaders: Herman Otto Kreitlow and his wife, Bertha (Block).

"We call them the 'Montrose line' of Kreitlows because Herman's brother, August, settled not too far away and created the 'Howard Lake line.'

"Orland is the son of Herman William Kreitlow and Sadie (Johnson). Leroy, Jr. is the son of Roy and Clara (Nelson). Two sisters, Ruth Vail and Connie are daughters of Harry and Clara (Schultz). They range in age from 62 to 77.

"Their children, grandchildren, and infant great-grandchildren were all delightful company . . . a true reflection of their own character as they welcomed a stranger with open arms.

"The cousins told fascinating stories of growing up in Montrose. My own favorite was how Gramma Bertha always had sugar cookies in a jar that never emptied, and always had soda crackers in the pocket of her apron.

"On our daylong visit, they pointed out Herman and Bertha's original brick farmhouse just west of town and other examples of Herman's masonry work that are still standing today.

"We visited cemeteries, especially one just south of town where several original Montrose immigrants are buried. Some of them are from the same town, Shivelbein, in the northern German Empire. (It is now Swidwin, Poland.)

"A side note: At this point, I would like to state the case that someone should take the initiative to rescue this hidden cemetery. It is completely overgrown and the stones are crumbling and nearly unreadable.

"What a local hero we could find in someone who would cut the grass, right the tilted markers, make a record of the graves that are there, and make tracings of the gravestones before they forever fade away.

"We closed our visit with dinner at a local German restaurant, the Bayrischer Hof on Highway 12 between Montrose and Waverly

"We took over at least four tables, filling them with what the great-grandchildren would likely call "ancient" photographs of the cousins and their kinfolk during simpler times. We exchanged old photos, old letters, and new e-mail addresses.

"Then, it was time for me to hop back on Hwy. 12 for the next 140 miles, as the road became 394, then 94, then Hwy. 29 back to Chippewa Falls.

"Now the real work begins ­ to catalog all of the names, dates, and other information that I received. It will help me trace down almost everyone in the 'Montrose line,' but there are still many other Kreitlows out there ­ the Howard Lakers, the Iowans, the southeastern Wisconsin Kreitlows and other namesakes spread across the country.

"Thanks to columns like yours, we are able to share at least one connection to the place that our great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers once called home, after leaving their homeland behind.

"I know this is much more information than you might have wanted to read, much less share, but I wanted you to know that in an age of high-tech isolation there are still times when people do reconnect, one-to-one, and come 'home' once again.
Thanks for your time."
Pat Kreitlow
Chippewa Falls, Wis.

The Honorable Christopher Dylan Althoff

"Hi everyone. Christopher Dylan Althoff was born at 12:26 a.m. Friday, Aug. 10. All are doing well.

"They went home Sunday. Not much sleep, obviously, but I guess we all got through that, rough as it is."
Love, Peggy.

"P.S. Bernie left for Ireland with his golfing buddies, so he missed the whole thing. I went up on Friday and stayed with Ashley's mother Friday night, so we got to see him both Friday and Saturday."

Christopher, of course, is the new grandson of Bern and Peggy Althoff, who are the uncle and aunt of the Neatons, and famous Waverlyites themselves. They now live in Rye, N.Y., where Bernie still practices law.

John Althoff is Bern's brother and a senior district judge in Greeley, Colo. John, Catherine, and their family have entertained us more than once when we visit our son, Dr. Sean O'Leary, who lives in Fort Collins, which is one town over from Greeley.

John and Catherine have some picture perfect grandchildren, including a gang of redheads.
Christopher's parents are Jay and Ashley Althoff, both attorneys in New York. With all these legal genes, it is easy to see that Christopher is destined for the bench, if not the Supreme Court itself.

Regional evacuation destinations

As most of you know, Houston has suffered from a massive flood in the last two months. Two major medical complexes were shut down. Downtown businesses were shut down. Hundreds of people were displaced.

As a result of this disaster, the city of Houston has published plans for evacuation for the new millennium. This plan should cover any big storms which may head in this direction from the Gulf.

City officials have just announced the Houston hurricane evacuation plan today as follows:
Hispanics use I-10 west to San Antonio.
Cajuns use I-10 east to Lafayette.
Rednecks use US 59 north (aka Eastex freeway) to east Texas.
Republicans fly Continental to Washington, D.C.
Yankees and democrats use I-45 south to Galveston.
Longhorns use 290 west To Austin.
Aggies use 610 loop.

Thanks to Jim Presley of Texarkana for this one.

Quotes for the week

"Every man dies. Not every man lives."
­ Braveheart
"We shall become Christians when we are joyful, because so many people are in love rather than because so many people are affluent . . . We shall become Christian on that day when the children of this world excite us at least as much as its rulers."
­ Anthony Padovano

Back to Waverly Star menu
Howard Lake-Waverly Herald & Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal
Stories | Columns | Obituaries
Community Guides | Special Topics | Cool Stuff | Search | Home Page