“In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.” —Alex Haley, author of Roots: The Saga of an American Family
When one thinks of the upper Midwest, the American Civil War does not immediately come to mind. However, in the fall of 2022, we embarked on a five-day road trip that took us 2000 miles, through seven states and over 38 hours in the car gaining insight and a Link To Our Past into this part of our history.
The weather was perfect as we chased the autumn colors north. It seemed we dove deeper and deeper into a limitless palette of fall hues and beauty each day.
The purpose of the trip was to visit several sites where my husband’s maternal family line lived. The centerpiece of the trip was the book launch of “Heart In Tatters” by Jack Dempsey on behalf of the Michigan Civil War Association.
Aside from the hours slogging through downtown Chicago and the endless road work projects in every state we traversed, we made wonderful new friends and discovered delightful details about the family.
Link To Our Past:
- Holland, MI. As we drove, we passed the exit for Holland. This is where the Bertsch family line comes into view. My husbands’ great great-grandfather, Daniel Bertsh “grew apples” and farmed in Holland, MI. No surprise there, but in honor of apples, my dear spouse brought some locally produced apple cider to bring home.
- His son, William Harry grew up in Holland, and attended and graduated WestPoint. He spent some time, temporarily, at the Presidio in San Francisco. There he met an married Eunice Hunt and Charles Stuart Tripler’s granddaughter Alice.
- Ft. Sheridan, IL on the west side of Lake Michigan is the site where my husband’s maternal grandmother Emilie Bertsch Lewis was born. Her parents were the above-named couple, Alice and William Harry Bertsch. Ft. Sheridan was his first permanent military post. With the help of a local resident and some family photos, we located the house where Grandmother Lewis was born. The area is now a part of Highland Park, IL with much of the old fort, an historic landmark.
- Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit, MI. This is the oldest cemetery in Detroit and my second visit. It is the final resting place of Doctor Charles Stewart Tripler, his wife Eunice Hunt Tripler along with several family members. The first time I visited Elmwood, I lacked the information to find the actual grave sites. This time, again, with the help of a local friend, we were able to find the sites.
I had no idea how much my spouse was connected to Illinois and Michigan! But then, his family served as career military, thus they seem to be from everywhere! To think that in the mid to late 1800s, they lived in Washington D.C., Detroit, San Francisco, CA, Chicago, IL not to mention Canada, Mexico, and traversing the isthmus of Panama, boggles the mind!
There are many stories yet to come from all this, but the newest story to emerge is the book: Heart in Tatters: Eunice Hunt Tripler and the Civil War. This book compliments and expands on Eunice Hunt Tripler’s Memoirs I wrote about here.
The book launch was great fun and we are excited to be a part of it. Fresh off the press, it can be ordered here.-
Link To Our Past- Your Story Matters Too!
This Tripler family story has taken on a life of its own. I know Eunice would be astounded that her evening musings with her son-in-law over 100 years ago would be the center of all this activity. I suspect she would also be pleased to know her voice was being heard.
What story do you want to give voice to? Please let me know in the comment section this week!