MARIE ANNA KOSCHNITZKI was born December 04, 1888 in Balje, Germany,
and immigrated to the
United States with her parents and the youngest brother, Henry (Heinrich) on April 28, 1901. Marie, Henry, older brother Fritz and their parents Carl and Anna Sophia, decided to emigrate to Lewis River, Washington rather than stay in San Francisco with the other siblings.
Here is a letter I received from her granddaughter, Carolyn Womack Rinta, that is self-explanatory:
Dear Friends and Family:
The following letter of my grandmother's was just given to me by my Mother Marie Lynch Womack. Her cousin, Bernice Koschnitzky Jensen Bodenhammer had found it in her Mother's (Ada Runyan Koschnitzky) papers after her death. Fortunately, it was not lost in the 95 intervening years.
It has a real and poignant story to tell: a young girl of 17 in a foreign country; left on a lonely isolated subsistence farm with aged parents, her older brothers all gone on to "greener pastures" in the big cities.
Marie had immigrated to the United States from Germany with her parents and a brother in 1901. All the older brothers had been sent on ahead, one by one at the age of 16. Most gravitated to the San Francisco area.
At the time of the writing, Marie's parents were 64 and 71; past the hard work time required in those days.
How she met Ada Runyan is unknown, but Ada would have lived down river a few miles and on the other bank in Cowlitz county. Marie lived at Buncombe Hollow (now flooded) on the south bank of the Lewis River in Clark County Washington. Ada would later become sister-in-law when she wed Fred Koschnitzky and spent most of their married life in Portland. Marie and Ada remained lifelong friends, Ada being the sister that Marie never had.
I have not edited the letter in any word or sentence content. I have only broken it down into paragraphs for easier reading. The spelling and construction are especially good for someone who could not even speak the language 5 years before.
As you see in the letter, Marie did not accept a buggy ride from Earnest smith, but she did finally accept buggy rides from William T. Lynch (1870-1943) an older man who lived over the hill at Green Mountain. They married in 1909 and divorced in 1920. From that union Marie (1910) and Anna (1913) were born. Marie (the elder) kept the Yacolt farm going that she and Wm Lynch had purchased. She married Carl Johnson in Dec. of 1920. From that union a child Betty was born in 1924; Betty dying in 1936.
With the primary "hired man" leaving, Marie's parents left for the San Francisco area to be near the other sons.
For those of you who knew my grandmother, this letter may help you to have better understanding of her. For those of you who did not; she never stopped working hard!
It was a privilege to have known both of these women.
Carolyn Womack Rinta
April 6, 1906 Ariel, Washington Dated Sunday, March 25th 1906
Miss Ada Runyan
104 East 19th Street
I received your dear letter today, I went over after it myself. Father wanted to go and see Grandpa Straight a little while and I went down to the [post] office. Say Ada I went to Church to-day, they have it up in the [Buncombe Hollow] school house, but I got such a bad head-ache I don't think I'll go again.
Yes, I received your postal card and tablet alright for which I thank you ever so much.
Well here it is Thursday and I have not finished this letter but you must excuse me Ada I have been so busy all week. I just got through with the work today. I tell you what I did. Monday I hauled manure all day, Tuesday I plowed and all by myself too. Father went across the [N. fork Lewis} River to old Joe so I had to do it by myself. Mother she drove around the first couple of times. I tell you my shoulders are sore yet Wednesday I harrowed and rolled about 2 acres. And today I rolled about that much again and hauled some rocks off of a new piece that I'm going to plow. I'm going to rest a little now I'm pretty well tired out.
We have 12 little lambs now. I just got my hands full of work with them too. Ada please excuse this old scribbling, my hands are just as hard as a board and sore besides I can't hardly hold the pen.
Write me a long letter. Tell Fritz and F.K. hallow from me. Oh! Ada will you please give Fritz this letter that Mother wrote. With love from your lonesome little John, that's what they call me now a days.
Ada, I don't believe that Fritz Egger said that. I'm not the same girl, I'm about twice as tall now. You wont no me I bet when you see me I have changed so much. I'm quite a bit slimmer but I feel about just the same yet. Nor would he know me if he'd meet me on the street. That's too bad he don't come as much any more. I bet he's just the same as ever.
Earnest Smith asked me to-day if I would like a buggy ride but I refused him.
Mother said for you to tell Fred not to work to hard because he would suffer after wards. Mother has been sick to for about 2 weeks. She has had an awful lame shoulder so that left all the work to me and our sheep are having young ones. It just keeps me busy all the time.
I would like to come down to Portland ever so much because I can get a fine place to work by Judge Cleveland and $15 a month. Would not that make you feel bad if you was me too.
I hunted one of my sheep for about 2 hours yesterday and finally found her with 2 little lambs. One of them was just about dead, but I got it back to live again. I took it to bed with me. The poor little thing had cramps and just jumpt and rolled around and of course I did not sleep either. But it is alright now and I'm so glad.
Oh Jack, I had a funeral all by myself about a week ago. I buried 2 of my little lambs, they froze to death and it made me feel so bad I just could not cry.
If you could just see me up here for a day you would certainly write a story about it for I'm just everything that you could possibly think about.
This moring I went down in the bottom to milk the cows. They did not come up last night. you ought to have seen me at first. I could not catch the cows and after I did get the milk out of them I spilled about half of it. I just stumbled over everything there was. I'm so tired of staying up here, I wish I was down with you. Tell that little milk man never to cry over spilled milk, I did not. I write more tomorrow.
It is half past ten. I have to go out yet and feed my little lambs, my step children as Father calls them.
And I have not sent this letter yet but I might go to Etna tomorrow and mail it. If not I'll mail it Sunday in Ariel.
I'm going down to Etna to buy me a pony. I just can't get along with one any longer. I was up to Fred's place today. You ought to see the grass up there. We are going to drive some of our cattle up Sunday if it is dry.
(signed) Marie Koschnitzky
WILLIAM T. LYNCH was born 1870 in Australia and died in 1943. His family immigrated from Ireland to Australia in the late 1860's, then finally settling in Washington State circa 1880. The Lynch family was flooded out in Australia by the River Murray Irrigation Project.
Marie met and married William Lynch on February 9, 1909. They moved to the town of Yacolt,
Washington. The railroad had been completed to there from Vancouver in 1903 so it was becoming
a thriving town with much lumbering and tree harvesting after the great Yacolt burn of 1902.
Around 1914, William and Marie bought what is known as the "Yacolt Farm". From approximately
1914 to 1919 there was a sawmill and logging operation on the property and the farm supplied much
of the food. The operation was known as Murphy Timber Company (leased site of course).
The Yacolt Farm was not burned in 1902, for the fire stopped just east of town. The 1910 fire did not get close either, however, the fire in approximately 1928 did burn much around the farm, but they were able to save the buildings. "Little" Marie remembers beating out embers caused by flames on the roofs of the house and barn.
Marie and William had two girls, Marie and Anna.
Marie and William were both farmers. Their marriage ended in divorce after which he became a businessman and Marie was able to keep the Yacolt Farm.
I.MARIE LEHONORA was born May 28, 1910 in Yacolt, Clark County, Washington. She was lovingly known as "Little Marie" by her family.
II. ANNA LYNCH was born in 1913 in Yacolt, Clark County, Washington.
ANNA met Robert Boggs while a telephone operator in Yacolt during the Yacolt burn. Bob was part of the original CCC boys who came from all over the U.S. during the depression to work in the Yacolt burn. He told Anna, "marry me Ann and we'll be millionaires by the time I'm 30 years old." He was a millionaire by age 35. He started work at Safeway and eventually had his own small chain of very inovative grocery stores in the Everett area. Together they had two children.
CARL EDWIN JOHNSON was born August 2, 1891 in Varmsland, Sweden and died 1959 in Longview, Cowlitz County, Washington.
Marie and Carl married on December 20, 1920 and together they had one child.
III. BETTY MAE JOHNSON was born in 1924 and died in 1936.
Below are wonderful tributes by family members to Marie Anna Koschnitzki Lynch Johnson after she had died. It gives one a real insight of what a warm-hearted and vigorous woman she was.
November 4, 1988
Dear Children, Grandchildren, and Cousins;
I looked at my calendar today and realized that one month from today (Dec. 4) would be the 100th anniversary of the birth of my maternal grandmother, Marie Koschnitzky Lynch Johnson. She was such an important figure to me that I felt I could not let the date go by un-noticed. So I'm writing to you to ask you to remember her on that date when it rolls around. I'm enclosing a few words about her to stir up old memories in those of you who knew her, and give some insight of who she was to those of you who never knew her. When I think of my Grandmother, what do I see in my minds eye and heart? I see her on a hot summers day; in striped bib overalls and a big brimmed straw hat. She's sitting on the mowing machine behind a team of sweating horses. Her face is red from the heat, and she is cutting a field of tall grass hay and making very neat corners. I see her in her bedroom, standing before her mirror, combing her long auburn hair, twisting and looping it neatly to the back of her head. Her hair never seemed to lose it's color. I see her in the kitchen, in front of the big black and chrome woodstove. She's cooking up a big delicious supper of home grown food as the rain beats against the windows. Her sturdy figure was always straight. Her views rigid. She worked hard. She had a clean, plain house and a yard full of beautiful flowers. She never told me of her childhood in Germany or later in Bumkin Hollow on the Lewis River, tho I spent many happy hours in her company. She was a no nonsense kind of woman. She died with dignity from cancer at age 76 on December 23, 1964.
Granddaughter of Marie
November 18, 1988
Santa Rosa, Calif.
I must write now. That message about your Grandmother is precious, I was touched. The calendar is marked, I plan to look at photo albums, like back at 70 year old pictures. She challenged me to "top" the firs with 22 shots, taught me to harness and hitch up as well as saddle (the horses). Did you ever watch her milk and hit the cat's face? She let me put the bran in the stanchions with the coffee can and lock them. Even to help with the hobbles. (on the cows) I too, ran the mower and rake, probably not as good, but it got done. Thanks for the Memories. Did you know her Mother's birthday was Dec. 5, 46 years earlier; That your Grandmother had a sister, who died 6 years before she was born; That she had 6 older brothers and a half brother. Maybe your records are the same as mine. The name spelling is Koschnitsky. However, some records show ki ending the way Uncle Fred used it. That Thanksgiving we were up and Marie was in the Longview Hospital, we walked in to visit, she said "my little boy came to see me." Somehow she did so many nice things for me, like I was her own, all through the years. That's all for this time. Ann joins me in sending Love and all good wishes.
Cousin Carl Kay
(Son of Gus & Adele Kay) (Koschnitzky)
November 13, 1988
I enjoyed your memories of your grandmother, my Tante Marie. I've always felt a special attachment to her because we share the same birthday. My memories center around the time Uncle Al's family and ours spent in Yacolt in 1926 (27); a robust, competent, outdoorsy woman who made the best huckleberry pies I've ever tasted and slathered them with whip cream. (I think I mean huckleberry, we don't have them in my area). I think I was more than a bit overawed by her, she could hold her own working beside any man. -- So different from my city bred Mother and her sisters. My love of gardening and the outdoors surely comes from the Koschnitzki side. That was the year the fire came down Yacolt Mountain and crept up to the fence. All the boys were on the roofs of the house and barn sloshing water. And I've a good idea your Grandmother was giving the orders! I hope all is going well with you. Dorothy is recuperating from another bout of surgery, is home and doing well, except for that painosteoporosis in her spine. Clarence has leg problems, but keeps going. When are you coming to Calif?
(child of Jack & Mary (von Arx) Kay (Koschnitzki)
Old Friend Still Has It Together
That old photo of the connecting tree limb (Jan/Feb) caught my eye. I have a 90-year-old maple with five trunks coming out of the base. My suspicion is one trunk would've split off by now--if not for the tree's connecting limb! It's a wonderful old tree. Come early spring, the ground beneath it is carpeted with wild violets. One treasured photo shows my great-grandmother's cows lying next to it when it was only a sapling.
Marie passed away December 23rd of 1964 in Longview, Cowlitz County, Washington and is buried at Park Hill Cemetery, Vancouver, Clark County, Washington.
KAY - KOSCHNITZKI - KOSCHNITZKY FAMILY PAGE