the all-seeingeye Bertha Elmira (Spear) Kurtz

Bertha Elmira, fifth child of Lucina (Winkler) Spear, was bornOctober 17, 1878.
Married John Hartzler Kurtz hay 28, 1896 who was born in Wayne County, Ohio, January 25, 1875, died in Midland, Mich. December 11, 1936.

Children of Bertha (Spear) Kurtz and John Hartzler Kurtz.

Hazel Belle Born October 17, 1897, died January 2, 1949.

Pearl Matilda Born May 10, 1899

Jennie Mae Born March 20, 1902, died November 1941

Lucile Bertha Born October 8, 1904

Arlene Fannie Born May 28, 1909

Isabelle Fern Born March 22, 1913

Bertha (Spear) Kurtz and John H. Kurtz were married in Ohio, probably in Weilersville, where they were at first farmers while father studied Steam Engineering with the International Correspondence School. In 1900 they moved to Canton, Ohio where he worked as a steam engineer with a railroad company. He must have inherited some of the spirit of pioneering from his ancestor, Jacob Hertzler, which induced him to go "land 1ooking" in 1906 in Northern Michigan, for in 1907 he moved his wife and four eldest daughters to an 80 acre tract of wooded land, later to become a farm, four and one-half miles east of Glennie, Alcona County, Michigan. There he and mother labored very hard to clear the land for farming. They were assisted greatly by the great forest fire that swept The upper lower peninsula of Michigan in 1908, which completely destroyed two small towns on Lake Huron at the mouth of the AuSable River, Oscoda and AuSable. This vast fire greatly endangered, and was a near tragedy for the family, as it swept only a few rods on each side of their new home. The tall trunks of great trees could be seen still burning for miles about them at night for many, many weeks, and for many months a heavy haze hung over the whole landscape. The heavy smoke must have been stifling!

In the winter months father worked as an engineer in the lumber mills and farmed in summer time. These were hard years, but they were both healthy, strong and hard working and cheerful, and seemed to enjoy their life there.

About 1916 father began working as a carpenter with Consumers Power Company at first one dam and then another being built by Consumers on the AuSable River. These dams are still in use, and more needed than ever as they produce the much needed electric which is in such short supply at the time of this writing (1974). Father in time became a foreman and then-engineer in the same company. He stayed with Consumers Power until 1923.

In 1924 he sold his 80 acres of then tillable land and another 80 acres he had acquired for grazing land for his live stock. He then moved his wife and remaining unmarried daughters, Arlene and Isabelle, to Midland Michigan in 1925, after living about six months in Gladwin, Michigan.

In Midland he first subcontracted to build the wood construction and finishing of the then "new" Willard Dow home located on West Park Drive. When this home was completed he continued to build homes and do other carpenter work until he was 60 years of age, when he became ill. He passed away at age 63 on December 11, 1935, in Midland, Michigan and is buried in midland Cemetery on Orchard Drive. Mother was a hard working, faithful wife and mother. She continued to live in Midland and Ypsilanti, Michigan after father died her death, in Midland Hospital. She is also buried in midland Cemetery.

This information I (Arlene Bauss) has compiled concerning the life of my parents, is done mostly from memory; only in small part, from postage dates on old envelopes. It is as accurate as was humanly possible.

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