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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sourced and Found - Henry Borchers - Part 3

At times it seems that my treasure trove of information about my ancestors is rather endless.  I shall come to the end of it some day and have to really sit down and organize it appropriately.  In the meantime, I continue to pick up random papers for a quick (or sometimes lengthy read).

I decided to read the "Diary of Herbert H. Borchers, Sr.".  He was my great grandfather and the youngest child of Henry and Anna Borchers.  A few weeks before I turned 8 years old, Herb passed away.  I spent a fair amount of time with him as a youngster. 

I can still remember being in the living room of my great grandparents' house on 1134 Willow Avenue, Napa, California.  Herb would sit in his chair next to the fireplace.  He was a bit of a tease.  He'd tap me when I was not looking and then when I'd look back at him, he'd be looking up a the ceiling pretending he knew nothing of it.  I would say "Hey!"  We'd both laugh.  He was a quiet man for the most part.  He'd scoot a papier-mache dog towards my sister and I, playing and goofing around.

Being the oldest great grandchild gave me the benefit of getting to know my great grandparents very well.  I've read the first page of Herb's diary before.  To be honest with you, it is mainly some quick notes of his day-to-day, rather mundane tasks.   His notes about events and people are quick and not explanatory.  The diary starts on Saturday, December 23, 1916 and goes through Wednesday, December 18, 1918.  


My attempt to read his diary in full this time was in search of information about his father, Henry Borchers.  He mentions him here and there in his entries.  I was hoping to gain some perspective on what Henry Borchers was like.  I just don't glean much of his personality from these entries but will attempt to share what I found.

By 1916, Herb was 19 years old.  He lived at home with his parents in Santa Rosa, California, and was the last of the Borchers children to marry.  Herb worked full time for a local jeweler and watchmaker.  He mentions clocks a lot in the diary.  Herb refers to Henry and Anna Borchers as Ma and Pa in his diary.  When he writes about them individually, they are referred to as Mama and Papa.  Anna is mentioned more often.  Her letters of correspondence to various family members are mentioned throughout the diary and I wonder if they still exist.  She also read books in the evening.  Anna worked for a Dr. Hanson too.  I am assuming to keep house for his family.

While there are frequent notes about Anna's day-to-day activities including if she was sick or well, there are fewer remarks about Henry.  Maybe Herb was more in tune with his mother.  At one point, she helped him hang new curtains in his room.      

Henry Borchers is mentioned plowing at Bierns.  I know that he was a farmer.  He is also mentioned as visiting with J. Wurts.  I find the Wurts as the Borchers' neigbhors on the census in 1920.  The Wurts are mentioned frequently in this diary.  Henry and Clara (Borchers) Gruenhagen are also mentioned with regularity.  Clara was the second youngest child of Henry and Anna. 

It would appear that Henry Gruenhagen and Henry Borchers may have worked together in the Santa Rosa, California area.  They are both indicated as plowing fields and hauling wood. 

Henry and Anna Borchers definitely saw the Strehlows.  Elizabeth Borchers Strehlow was their oldest daughter and lived in Healdsburg, California.  Herb indicates "Ma and Pa" going to visit them and also to see the "Old Strehlows".    

Henry and Anna Borchers picked prunes and dried them.  There is reference to shaking the trees and dipping the fruit.  They also picked apricots and canned.  They were both working in 1918.  Henry was 67 years old by then.

I did not find much more information about Henry Borchers in the diary.  I do know a lot more about my great grandfather (Herbert Borchers, Sr.) and Anna Borchers.  I will post about them in the future.  For now, I think that I've exhausted the information that I have about Henry Borchers (Hans Heinrich Conrad Borchers).

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