Saturday, May 14, 2011

May 13th May Family Reunion

Today we went to Rossbrunn, Germany to try and find the house where my great grandfather, Hank Smith, was born.   You people from Crosbyton know who I am talking about.  Hank Smith was the first settler in Crosby County Texas where we were raised.  He built the first house there in 1876.  He was born Heinrich Schmitt in 1836 in Rossbrunn, Germany but changed it to a more American Henry Smith, when he came to America around 1850.  Hubert Curry wrote the book The Sun Rises On The Plains, about Hank Smith.  I found the house in about 10 minutes.  I had a picture from the book that looks like it was taken in the first half of the 20th century.  I drove up a street, and there it was.  I took lots of pics and found out from a neighbor that a Schmitt still lives there, but was at work at the time.  I went to the cemetery and found the graves of some of the Schmitt family.  To my suprise, one of the departed was Agnes Schmitt.  My moms name was Agnes.  I don't know if it was a family name or just a coincidence.  Later Albert came home from work and we visited for a while.  I told him about the book, and he had one.  I don't know where he got it, maybe from my uncle who visited there about 30 years ago.  So, someone from the Schmitt family has lived in the house since 1680.  Alberts parents Willy and Martha are on the headstone in the picture below.  This was a great day.

The village of Rossbrunn
The picture of the house from Hubert Curry's book.
The house yesturday
The Schmitt headstone.

My cousin Albert.  He looks like the pictures of Hank Smith and Nonette thought he looked like my nephew Charlie Robinson.  The neighbor across the street thought I looked like Alberts brother Ludwig.

How Rossbrunn is spelled in German.  That funny looking B takes the place of 2 S's.

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