Helen Jo Breu sent letters to my great great grandmother, Rose Bohman Weigel, in Rose’s later years in the nursing home. She related stories that her mother and grandmother told her and stories from her childhood memories of growing up in the area off Pleasant Hill Road called the Squaw Creek Homestead.
One of her stories was remembering Rose’s courtship with her future husband, Henry Weigel. At the time when Rose and Henry were courting, the Breu family had a dog called Trouble. One night when Rose and Henry were out for a walk on the country road, they came to the gate at the front of the Breu property just as Grandmother Breu set the dog dish out on the porch. She called out “Here Drewble – Drewble” in her German accent. Henry assumed she had seen the couple approach and that the calls were meant for him!
Helen also related happy memories of her sister Carolyn dancing with her from the barn to the house before coming inside for the night. She shared memories of sitting in the east window of the bedroom and watching her father pull stuck cars out of a sinkhole every spring. She said that the sinkhole was still there in 1987.
The sisters enjoyed chatting together and watching the moon rise over the east forty acres. She said the fishing was good at Squaw Creek and some people would fish all night. The bonfires along the banks could be seen from their bedroom window.
In the 1930s when the Great Depression struck, the Hamus family was affected by loss like most every one else. Anna Hamus had a sum of $3000 in the Cloverland Bank and she had $1700 in Citizen National Bank. Both banks temporarily closed at some point during the depression. Anna was refunded the $1700 from Citizen Bank without interest over a period of 10 years and she lost the $3000 at Cloverland when the Bank closed for good.
Generations come and go but the history does not; it stays with the place.Helen Jo Breu
Helen said that she inherited a trunk full of photos when her parents passed away. Most were without names and dates. She also mentioned that she was writing a manuscript with all the family information she had. I had written to Helen once more in the early 2000s to try to reconnect. I received a phone call from a woman who told me that Helen had been moved into a nursing home and had severe dementia. Helen was a solitary woman who never married and was not much for social interaction, especially in her later years. I never met her in person, but she left such a special gift with these memories written down for future generations.
Helen died in 2009. I hope that the family histories she worked to hard to preserve were saved by someone somewhere. Her collection of memorabilia must have been enormous. I ran across her memorial on findagrave and someone had posted a photograph of Helen as a young lady. You can find the page here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/91432302/helen-jo-breu
You can read the previous chapters of this story here: Stories from Squaw Creek Homestead: Hyršov, Stories from Squaw Creek Homestead: The Voyage, Stories from Squaw Creek Homestead: Jakob Bohman, Stories from Squaw Creek Homestead: Nicholas Hamus: Stories from Squaw Creek Homestead: Pioneer Life