In April I had the pleasure of attending the annual meeting of the Rootstown Ohio Historical Society to discuss the Hartles and how one of their Rootstown descendents became famous. The Congregational Church (see photo to the right) was a fitting venue given that on August 16, 1810, two of my ancestors, Michael and Susanna, signed as charter members of the congregation.
The story actually began in 1749 when Hans Georg Hertel and his wife, Anna Margaretha Gramlich traveled from Germany to Philadelphia with their two sons. We don't know when the family name became Hartle. From eastern Pennsylvania, they moved to western Maryland and had a third son, Michael who married a Susanna and had seven children. Two, Michael Jr. and Samuel, are grandfathers of YIAH characters.
Michael Jr. married Sarah Poe and moved to western Ohio. His son Socrates would father Adam Milo, father to Anna, Addison and Purl (see photo on the left of their Marseilles property). Samuel and his wife, Sarah's sister Mary "Polly" Poe, followed his father Michael Sr. to Rootstown, Ohio in 1812. Rootstown, in Portage County, Ohio, was part of the Connecticut Western Reserve. When this land was ceded to the new Federal Government in 1786, Ephraim Root, one of the investors in the Connecticut Land Company, bought the land which then became Rootstown Township.
Samuel fought briefly in the War of 1812 and subsequently he and Polly had eleven children. The 9th was John Emerson who eventually moved to Hicksville, Ohio after several of his siblings had settled there. He married Amelia Ryan and they had three daughters, one of who was Daeida, known as Ida.
The Famous Cousin
Ida became a milliner when she was still a teen, and in 1883 married a much older and wealthy Harvey Wilcox in Topeka, Kansas. It's not known exactly how they met, but they decided to go west and soon purchased all of the land that would become Hollywood, California.
Her father died in 1873, but her mother, sisters and their families migrated to California after Ida settled there. With her new notoriety, Amelia adopted a new spelling for the family name, Hartell, which it's said she thought looked more refined than Hartle. Amelia lived many years longer than her daughter, and at her funeral, she was referred to as 'Grandma Hollywood'.
Community and Continuity
It was good to be recognized with other founding families at the Rootstown meeting, but I most appreciated the Kline and Parson families who were recognized because the present generation still lives on the land their ancestors originally settled. When society President, Norm Reynolds, asked who in the room still lives within one mile of where they were born, several hands went up. Given our hurried lifestyle, it's good to visit the past and some of mine is buried in Rootstown.
Credit- The information above is from the Hartle family historian, Richard Hartle, MD
Next time: Purl and the military in the Philippines circa 1910
Why the title Yours in a Hurry?
The characters in the novel write a lot of letters, and Addison often signs his “Yours in a Hurry.” His family even noticed a change from his formerly neat handwriting to a scrawl across the paper. Like many in the Progressive Era, he was always in a hurry to embrace the next new thing—new inventions, new politics, and by the end of the story, new wars overseas. Life seemed more uncertain as many started leaving life on the farm, so it's clear that the title also reflects the fact that most individuals had a more hurried lifestyle than in the decade before.
May 17, 1911
If you unfolded the Los Angeles Times on May 18, 1911, you would have seen photographs of Addison and Anna Hartle, whose story mirrors American culture at the time. They left their Ohio village for better opportunities, and their paths crossed with historic figures and events involving them in women's issues, the development of aviation, and America’s military expansion.
That Wednesday started as any other, except that Addison was going to Dominguez Air Field, fourteen miles outside Los Angeles, for his first official aeroplane flight. His sister, Anna, accompanied him, and during the flight proudly said, "See, he's as clever as any of them. I knew he could do it easily!"
The headline the next day tells the end of the story: Young Aviator Drops to His Death—A.V. Hartle's Second Flight Fatal. The event affects Anna and Purl for years to come.
To read more about Addison and other early unrealized aviation visionaries, see Paul Glenshaw's Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine article' Or Die Trying' (February/March 2012, page 64).
Next Time: Finding one's roots in Rootstown
I've gotten questions about writing historical fiction vs. non-fiction. What's the difference, and are there any rules? I turned to Deanna Adams for answers. Writers need trusted advisors and for many in Northeast Ohio, Deanna, published author, mentor and coordinator of writer's workshops is that person. She provides her insights having published historical fiction, non-fiction, and memoir.
by Author Deanna Adams
First of all, thank you for having me on your blog, Ann! As you know, I started out as a journalist, writing nonfiction and my first three titles are nonfiction: Rock ’n’ Roll and the Cleveland Connection, Confessions of a Not-So-Good Catholic Girl (collection of memoirs) and Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Roots (an illustrative history).
The decision to write fiction wasn’t a new one. In my early years, I wrote short stories—that I was too shy and insecure to submit anywhere—and one failed attempt at a novel. In the ’90s, I was freelancing, and after doing a few articles on the subject of rock and roll, I thought maybe I should write a book on Cleveland’s illustrious rock music history. So that became my first book, published by Kent State University Press. I then went into my creative nonfiction period, in which I wrote my “Confessions,” then was commissioned to do the other rock book for Arcadia Press.
By then, it was 2011 and I was ready to explore something different. I wanted to do what I call the “Forrest Gump” thing—take fictional characters and weave them through history, namely baby boomer history. And because I was now known as a pop culture/rock writer, I knew I should stick with my “brand.” So I wrote about a teenaged girl in 1957 who becomes pregnant by her first love, who is on his way to rock and roll stardom. I wanted this book to be “women’s fiction” as opposed to romance, the difference being that women’s fiction focuses more on women’s issues, and when a young, unmarried, girl got “knocked up” in this era, that was definitely an “issue” back in the ’50s and ’60s. It was the worst thing that could happen to the whole family. Therein lied my premise.
But guess what? Even though I’d been a writer for decades, this was an entirely different art form than nonfiction. For a year and a half, I worked on the first draft, developing the plot, fleshing out the characters, and keep the tension/conflict/story problem going throughout the book, all the while writing without my usual “authoritative voice,” as used in nonfiction.
Luckily, I have a writer friend who reads and writes nothing but fiction (and is an editor!) and vetted that first manuscript. As a result, I ended up making many changes in the second draft. I wrote two more drafts, tweaking each time, before sending it out to publishers. I then went on to write a sequel to that book, Scoundrels & Dreamers, which was a bit easier to write because I’d already written that first novel.
So when it comes to “rules,” I’d just say that it’s important to stay true to the genre. In order to do that, you must read and study that genre. And always, keep your reader in mind, no matter what you write.
Lastly, have a passion for the subject, be it fiction or nonfiction. That dedicated interest keeps your writing fresh and interesting and keeps you from being bored with what you’re writing. After all, if the writer is bored, guaranteed your reader will be!
This is why classes, workshops and conferences are so important. I particularly love writing retreats. We all need to get away from jobs, kids, responsibilities, and taking off, even for just a weekend, to concentrate on your craft is the best favor you can do for yourself. I love going to retreats of all kinds, as much as I love hosting them. I have written my best “stuff” while away from everything, and I’ve met some awesome writers who have become friends.
That’s probably the best advice I can give writers: Learn from others, write as much as you can, and whether you want to write fiction or nonfiction—even if you have natural talent—writing is an art that needs to be learned and practiced, in order to be the best writer you can be. It’s hard work, but the more you work at it, the better writer you become.
For more information about Deanna, see her website, www.deannaadams.com
Next Time: Addison Hartle, May 17, 1911
Here's a quiz: Who was the first American woman to fly solo? Addison Hartle was so taken with the spirited Blanche Stuart Scott when he met her at an air exhibition that he enticed his sister, Anna to Indianapolis to meet her.
Blanche was born in Rochester, New York, probably in 1885. Her stated year of birth depended on the situation. When her father gave her a six-cylinder Cadillac, the teenager went to New York City and became, most likely, the first female in automobile sales.
On May 16, 1910, thousands lined up to watch the freckle-faced red-head leave New York City in a white and silver Lady Overland automobile. The cross country trip was sponsored by Willys-Overland of Cleveland. Each side of the auto read, 'The car, the girl, and the wide, wide, world— New York to San Francisco'. Few roadmaps and only 218 miles of paved rural roads existed in the country.
Tomboy of the Air
Forty-two days later, the Lady Overland arrived in San Francisco and Blanche was an immediate celebrity. A Glenn Curtiss company representative soon recruited her to take up flying after he convinced her it was a lot like driving an automobile. He and the other team members knew it would pull in crowds, but they needed to convince a skeptical Curtiss. They did, and Blanche became the first Curtiss-trained woman.
She evidently forgot that on her famous cross country trip the Overland became trapped in a crowd of about ten thousand people watching two aeroplanes over a field in Dayton, Ohio. Upset over the delay, Blanche said, "Anyone poking around in the clouds in a glorified kite has to be a nut...a complete and absolute idiot."
She wasn't the first certified American woman pilot. That honor would fall to Harriet Quimby because Blanche refused to take the new pilot's license exam, stating "I've proven myself already!" She failed at one thing—marriage.
After her air exhibition years, Blanche became a test pilot for Glenn Martin and then gave up flying at the start of World War I. She worked as a script writer, film producer, radio broadcaster, and aviation historian for museums. Before her death in 1970, she was the first woman to fly in a jet in 1948 as a passenger of Chuck Yeager.
Next Time: Author Deanna Adams speaks to writing fiction and non-fiction