Monday, September 16, 2013

Guggisberg, Switzerland - The Church

In 1856, my maternal grandfather's great grandfather Gottlieb came to the US and settled in Minnesota, as a Territorial Pioneer (Minnesota was a territory between 1848 and 1858, when it entered the Union as a state). 

Gottlieb and Marianna had Henry, who was six years old during the Great Sioux Uprising of 1862.

Henry grew up to be a bit of a ladies' man, having three wives, and divorcing the third after only four years of marriage (the things a simple family tree can tell you!).  His first wife Caroline had Harvey in 1896. 

 Harvey married Margaret (also known as Great Grandma), and they had their third child, my grandfather Donald, in 1923.  This is a photo of grandma, great grandma, grandpa, and then all of my cousins...I'm the one in the baby carrier, looking cute as a button.

The family tree I have from the Swiss side goes all the way back to 1558 (God bless Swiss neutrality), and is full of names like Bendicht, Hans, Elisabeth, Barbara (in the 1500s, not kidding), Hieronimus, and Anna. 

And while we don't know exactly where my relatives lived or went to church, standing in the sight of the steeple in Guggisberg, framed by the Alps, well, I didn't quite know what to do with myself.  Despite Guggisberg being a sleepy town, with no one under the age of 50, no stores, no gas station, nothing...I could never live there, but it just felt right to finally stand there, in the middle of nowhere, knowing that at some moment in time, a relative stood exactly where I stood and saw the same mountains I did. 

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The altar was off center, a somewhat strange design to one used to symmetrical churches.

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A photo of one of the church bulletins.  I loved this woodcut of the church. 

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