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Sparse Writing Project This Winter


I am truly sorry I did not write many Fleuckiger family essays, which i had promised to do this winter; but we just had an unbelievable winter, and it kept me so busy that I didn’t have much time to write about my Swiss maternal and paternal great-grandparents, and their 4 children.  I did manage to do a lot of research and found many new facts about them.  I learned that Gottlieb Sr. had indeed ‘worked his way up the ladder’ from being a farm laborer for Old Economy beginning in 1876, to being one of their last farmers by 1890; he owned two horses and three cows.  I also learned his son Gottlieb Jr. (aka Fred) worked as a carpenter’s helper when he was 16 in 1890.

But I found a better way to present their lives, and have been invited by Old Economy Village to do that in a couple months.  A friend, and fellow researcher, will present with me some of our findings about the largely ignored worker families who kept OEV going after Father Rapp’s vision of 1847 lead him to impose celibacy upon his membership.  By the 1860’s their work force   was declining and they began to adopt orphans, but soon were forced to hire non-celibate workers to get the communities work done.

When Old Economy was sold and abandoned in the first decade of the 20th Century, many of their workers moved to several Beaver County communities that had also been settled by Germans.  Economy Borough had two of these sites: the village of Wallrose, and the farming communities that stretched along Sewickley Creek Road, Ridge Road, and Conway – Wallrose Road.  many of the descendants of thse people still live there.  And in 1959 my step-father moved us there, and I became first, the Ambridge Daily Citizen, and then The Beaver County Times paperboy out along Ridge Rd. Extension.  Little did I know that some of my customers, the Herrs, Wagners, Wetzels, Reithmillers, Knoedlers, and Wagners, were all farmers from Old Economy, and they had probably known and worked with the Flueckigers.  Plus the Mutschlers, Zehnders, Merrieman, Hackers, and Herrmanns might also have been descended form OEV worker families.

Well, better late (by fifty years) than never.  I am now studying old records, and learning more about my family’s fellow workers a hundred and twenty years ago.  The best part of it is that I am now collaborating with descendants of OEV’s workers.  I wonder if I’ll find someone of them who has some old letters from my family.  I guess that I am not doing research that is solely family oriented, I am now trying to learn about the worker families’ community that my family played in the band, attended church, and belonged to social clubs with.

I am enjoying this new tactic I’ve been working on; just trying to rack up the highest ‘body count’ of ancestors really didn’t interest me.     Now I am enthusiastically digging up, not bones, but community!

Thom Dunn Marti

PS:  I’ll write more about the Flueckigers/Flickingers, and their old friends and co-workers at Old Economy!

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